By Bradford Hornsby

Not everyone is a well versed on the ins and outs (aka X’s and O’s) of the NFL or specifically the two teams playing in Super Bowl but most everyone will still be watching on Sunday. The battle on the gridiron also is a classic day to get together for a party so we’ve compiled a quick primer so you can blend in with your sports fan friends.

Talkers pregame:

“What will the Seahawks do without the 12th man?”

Explanation: Seattle plays in CenturyLink Field known for being the loudest in sports and they refer to their fans as the “12th man.” The Super Bowl is played on a neutral field so no “12th Man” advantage.

“Peyton Manning can’t win in cold weather.”

Explanation: Despite winning in the cold last week (and many times before) this has always been a very widely believed concept with football fans. You can also vary it by saying you think Peyton in cold weather is a myth. Either will start a debate that you can just sit back and watch.

“Richard Sherman is a punk/ is awesome / is just enthusiastic”

Any of these contradictory statements are valid. See no wrong answers! Stay away from “thug” though. That’s got a lot of people riled up these days.

Background: Sherman is a young and talented Seahawks cornerback (plays defense) who has been known to talk a bit of trash. He made some televised swipes at 49er wide receiver Michael Crabtree after the game a few weeks ago and has now become a national story. Everyone seems to have a different take but this Stanford grad with dreadlocks just keeps talking.

Talk about the weather.

Simple one. The Super Bowl is generally either held in warm places like Florida or at domed stadiums like New Orleans. So depending on the forecast the NFL may have weather issues. Just improvise.

“I’m just here for the seven layer dip and the commercials.”

Always a valid stance to take. No one expects for you to really care we just expect participation. So well up at whatever harm warming Clidesdale or puppy themed ad Bud throws at you and remember not to double dip.

During the game:

The villains (your choice)

Pete Carroll
Coach of the Seattle Seahawks who is reviled by many for being cocky. Also was the coach at a notoriously dirty and sanctioned USC college program. Plus, he wins a lot. No one should miss a beat if you hate him “just ‘cuz” or blame “USC.”

Peyton Manning
One of the most successful quarterbacks in league history but hated by many. Makes funny faces and rolls his eyes when his team isn’t doing well. Plus, he too wins a lot. Acceptable short statements: “his face bothers me,” “he is no Tom Brady,” or “I hate Papa Johns pizza (Manning is their spokesman)”

Richard Sherman
See above. This is one that you will need a little focus but his name will come up a lot. Tricky but might be rewarding with a timely “that guys a punk/is so awesome.”

Joe Buck – Fox Announcer
May seem weird to focus on the announcer not the athletes but Joe is a special case. He’s the main man for Fox and I for one have never met anyone who likes him. He’s the son of legendary broadcaster Jack Buck who is universally loved but it is an unexplainable phenomenon but everyone – and I mean everyone – hates him. I’ve been known to attach his name with expletives without even realizing I was speaking out loud. So just roll with it. Acceptable short statements: “Not Joe Buck,” “I hate Buck,” “Buck is the worst!” Ad infinitum!

The Refs
Another non-athlete but once again universally hated albeit less personally than Buck but more as a subclass of striped humans. Just follow the crowd’s groans and freak out. My favorite the dancing around mimicking throwing the penalty flag. Bonus points for saying the NFL rigged the game. Sports fans and Bigfoot enthusiasts love conspiracies.

Heroes:

Pete Carroll
He wins a lot. He’s well spoken and better looking than most NFL coaches. Did I mention he wins a lot?

Peyton Manning
Ditto. The guy is one of the all time greats. He also has a sense if humor and hosted SNL. The dude beat FEMA to help with hurricane aid by charting his own plane and filling it with supplies.

Russell Wilson
Seattle QB in his second year. He’s young, soft spoken, and humble. He carries a homemade wallet made by a sick Seattle child. Come on, that is almost cheating!

The Commercials
They are always good and many times better than the game. Gush away at the millions spent to entertain and sell you something.

There will be many more story lines but these and some great snacks should get you through.

PS “man I hate Joe Buck!”

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