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The Handy-Dandy Scout Super Bowl LI Explainer

The Handy-Dandy Scout Super Bowl LI Explainer

It may have snuck up on you if you don’t really pay close attention, and that’s cool because American football isn’t really that big of a deal in the Philippines, but it’s time for the Super Bowl again, friends.

Believe it or not, the Super Bowl isn’t just a three-hour festival for the now-legendary halftime show and all its crazy commercials. There is a game being played in there somewhere, and if for any reason at all you’d like to come across as informed about the game, we’ve prepared a quick cheat sheet for ya.

WHAT: The game of (American) football, differentiated from the more locally-popular game of soccer.

  • Four 15-minute quarters.
  • Team must move the ball at least 10 yards for a set of four plays (called downs) to keep possession of the ball, or until they score a touchdown (when they get to the other end of the field). They do this by either passing the ball to a receiver, or running the ball.
  • Each touchdown scores six points, with a chance for a field goal for an extra point, or another touchdown play right after for an extra two points. A field goal by itself is worth three points.
  • Sometimes nothing really exciting happens in a quarter, because it’s also kind of easy for a good defense to stop an offense from doing anything cool.
  • Is it brutal and barbaric? In some parts, yes, but football is a game for people who love it when plans come together. You’ll spend minutes waiting for a cool play to go off, unlike the constant adrenaline rush that is basketball.

WHERE CAN I WATCH? It’s on local TV, ABS-CBN Sports & Action. Or you could go to any sports bar right now. Orrr you can stream it live (or later), illegally.

WHO: The New England Patriots versus the Atlanta Falcons

  • There are two conferences in the NFL (the National Football Conference and the American Football Conference; it’s slightly confusing because history), and the Super Bowl is a meeting between the two conference champions.
  • The Patriots are representing the AFC, while the Falcons are representing the NFC.


  • The Falcons are going into the Super Bowl the underdogs, as it’s only their second Super Bowl in team history, and their latest trip in 18 years.
  • Meanwhile, the Patriots are here all the time. It’s their ninth, and they won their last one two years ago.
  • The quarterback is usually the face of the team. You may know who the Patriots’ Tom Brady is, being married to Gisele Bundchen and generally being a handsome dude, but you definitely don’t know who the Falcons’ Matt Ryan is.
  • Matt Ryan generally wasn’t considered an elite quarterback before this. He’s been pretty good, but he’s never led the team to a big postseason game until now.
  • Considering history and experience, it’s very likely that the Patriots are winning this. Again.
  • Also, the Patriots are alleged cheaters. But nobody except people from Boston really liked them before that, because they won a lot. And their fans were annoying about it.
  • The Super Bowl isn’t really a political thing, but… Tom Brady is friends with Donald Trump. So now, only pro-Trump Americans are also pro-Patriots at this point.


  • Commercials this year include this strange sexy Mr. Clean ad. And there will be a lot of them all throughout the game, so it’s pretty much a huge part of the event itself.
  • Lady Gaga is performing the halftime show, whether people like it or not.

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images


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