Yep, it's that time of year again… the new year has begun. Your New Years goals are off to a great start and you're ready to tackle all that 2020 has to bring... the good and the bad.
The good: an invitation arrives. You're invited! Your friends, co-workers, or family are having a Super Bowl party.
The bad: you just realized something… you know nothing about football.
You tell yourself that this year will be different! You're not going to be the one at the party who doesn't know what they're talking about. You're going to watch more than just the commercials.
Does this sound familiar? Don't fret. This guide will teach you everything you need to know to understand the Super Bowl. We'll assume you have no prior knowledge in the sport. We'll even dare to say you utterly dislike football and could never imagine yourself as a fan.
Let's see if we can change that!
In order to understand the Super Bowl, you must first understand the basics of the National Football League. The NFL is a professional sports league in the United States that governs pro football. They define the rules, regulations, and schedule for all games.
The NFL is broken down into conferences and those conferences are broken down into divisions. These divisions house each of the football teams.
Let's start with the conferences. There are two conferences in the NFL, the National Football Conference and the American Football Conference. For short, they're called the NFC & AFC. (Yes, more acronyms… sorry! We didn't create the sport, we're only here to teach.) Each conference has four divisions: North, South, East, & West. Finally, each division has four franchise teams.
The NFL basically has its own calendar year. It's divided into four seasons:
Think of it like winter, spring, summer, and fall.
During the NFL offseason teams train and prepare. If you follow your team during the offseason, you could witness player trades and new staff hires. A big event during the offseason is the NFL Draft, where amateur college players are recruited by teams to play in the NFL.
Things start to get exciting in the preseason where teams build their team rosters and play exhibition matches.
It all leads up to the regular season, where the games begin to count. From September until early January, teams will play each other according to a schedule.
A team's performance is based on their wins and losses or win-loss record. Each team plays a total of 16 games, one each week over 17 weeks. Oh, and there's an additional week off called a bye week. Games are played on Sundays, Mondays, & Thursdays.
Twelve teams earn a spot in the post season. Six teams are chosen from each conference (the NFC & AFC).
Four division winners & two wildcard teams from both conferences play a three-round, single elimination tournament.
Wildcards are given to teams with the best win-loss record after the division winners are selected.
Two conference champions emerge to compete in the NFL Championship Game or the Super Bowl on the first Sunday in February to decide the best team in the league.
Now that we understand the basics of football and the NFL, let's talk about the Super Bowl.
The Super Bowl is a football game that happens at the end of the NFL season.
It only happens once a year and it's the culmination of an entire season of head-to-head play. The goal of this event is to determine the best team in the NFL.
A: There are 32 franchise teams in the NFL. The best 12 teams earn a spot in the postseason. Divided into two brackets of six teams from each conference, two teams will emerge victorious.
A: It only happens once every year and it's the culmination of an entire season of head-to-head play.
A: Super Bowl tickets can get very pricey. They vary in price from $2,500 to $5,000US but can fluctuate each year. You can get them through a lottery, by scalping them, or by writing a letter to the NFL. Season ticket holders or an affiliation with a team gives you a higher chance of being selected to receive tickets.
Now for the ultra short version. To understand the Super Bowl, you must understand the basics of the sport, the NFL, and how teams get to play in it.