How to Speak Sports - Super Bowl Edition
Chances are you will be one of the estimated zillion people on Planet Earth watching the Super Bowl on Sunday Feb. 3 when the Baltimore Ravens take on the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans. But if you are the type of person who thinks a 'Face Mask' is what you buy at Sephora, you may feel on the sidelines of the conversations happening during the big game.
Here is a Super Bowl Cheat Sheet to the rescue -- a playbook of fun facts, football terminology and fascinating background info -- to help you win the battle of banter on Sunday and impress your fellow pigskin watchers.
1. The Lombardi Trophy
The trophy, awarded each year to the team that wins the Super Bowl, is made by Tiffany's! The sterling silver trophy is 22 inches high and weights seven pounds. It takes about four months to complete and travels in its own personal Brink's truck to the host city, which this year is in New Orleans. Tiffany & Co. has made the trophy each year since the first Super Bowl in 1967.
Bonus points: Since 1970 the prize has been called the Vince Lombardi Trophy in honor of the Green Bay Packers coach who taught and coached at St. Cecilia High School in Englewood from 1939 to 1947 before serving as a Giants assistant coach and leading the Packers to wins in the first two Super Bowls.
2. The Quarterback Battle
In one corner is 'Pistol' Colin Kaeperneck -- the San Francisco 49ers signal caller. At 26, he would be the youngest QB in history to win a Super Bowl.
Colin, who is single, recently filed to trademark the term "Kaepernicking" -- a kiss of his bicep in celebration after scoring or a big play. As the leader of the original 'wolfpack' during his college playing days at Univ. of Nevada, Colin deployed the Pistol offense. When he was seven, he wrote a letter to his future-self predicting he would play QB for the Niners when he grew up.
In the other corner is 'Jersey' Joe Flacco, the 28 year-old Baltimore Ravens QB, who grew up in South Jersey. Although there has been a lot of hype around defensive standout Ray Lewis, who is playing in his last game Sunday, it was Joe who engineered two improbable playoff comebacks to get his team to the Super Bowl this year.
Athletics run in Flacco's family. His brother Mike was drafted in '09 by the Baltimore Orioles baseball team, where he currently plays in the their minor league system. His other brother John is a walk-on receiver with the Stanford Cardinals football team. Joe got married in 2011 and recently had a son Steven Vincent Flacco in July of last year.
Speaking of family....
3. The Bro-Bowl
This is the year of the 'Bro-Bowl' -- the fist-ever match up between brothers Jim and John Harbaugh - the head coaches of the Niners and Ravens respectively. Less than two years apart, there is much speculation on how they will interact before, during and after the game -- including the length of the handshake post contest (the average prediction is currently clocking in at 7.5 seconds). Camera crews are sure to be angling for that close up of their parents reactions, who have kept their seating plans a secret.
4. How to speak Football -- A Dictionary
A tight end is not how good your butt looks in your J Brand Skinny Jeans -- it is a player who serves as a receiver and also as a blocker.
Clipping is not how you spend your Sunday mornings when the coupons arrive with the paper -- it is blocking an opponent below the waist from behind and is an illegal block, punishable by a 15-yard penalty.
This is not what happens when that weirdo standing next to you on the bus or subway gets too close -- it is a technique used by-pass defenders where they hit a receiver once within five yards of the line of scrimmage to slow him down and prevent him from catching a pass.
This is not the one area in the apartment that you and your ex-boyfriend can both roam freely in before he moves out -- it is the region that contains the ball as it sits on the ground before each play
This is not what happens when you are cruising home to JFK and all of a sudden you are landing in Chicago because of "severe weather around the NYC area." This is a foul called against a quarterback who purposely throws an incomplete pass solely to avoid a sack.
Drop these tidbits casually into the conversation on Sunday while sharing some super snacks and score a touchdown with friends!
Now about those commercials...
Kelli Gail and Traci Wallack are writers living in New York City. They are currently working on a "How to Speak Sports Book for Women".