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The Handy-Dandy Scout Super Bowl LI Explainer

The Handy-Dandy Scout Super Bowl LI Explainer
Gabbi Garcia and Khalil Ramos for Scout x Globe

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.

UNDERLYING NARRATIVES

  • 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.

OTHER STUFF

  • 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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Romeo Moran
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