Every year in February, thousands of people in the UK decide to tune in to watch the Superbowl for their first taste of American Football – however the many different rules and regulations of the game can make it incredibly difficult to follow. However, help is at hand for all of you, and our US Sports correspondents Chuck Fuckerton and Kerblamo Kerpowski are here to talk you through everything that you need to know. If you are staying up late to catch the action, enjoy!
Who is going to be playing tonight?
Tonight’s big game, Superbowl XCXMXXXXCVIIIMCMCMCMCXVVVVVV is the final match of the season between the two regional champions of the USA – the Carolina Panthers against the Denver Broncos. More than 345 billion people tuned in for Superbowl 49 last year between the New England Necrophiles and the Dallas Defecators, when a 341-yard throw-pass from Bertie ‘The Tank’ Wankleberry sealed the title for Dallas.
How do they decide who actually wins the Superbowl?
The great thing about American Football (or squashed soccer as they call it) is that nobody genuinely has a clue about what the f*ck is really going on – this goes right from the first-time viewer to the moustached nutcases who stand on the sidelines waving clipboards around and screaming ‘goddamn motherf*cker’ while kicking over a tub of Gatorade. However, as a general rule, the aim of the sport is to apply ridiculous amounts of padding to your own body and then run at a huge group of steroid-guzzling lunatics and possibly die in the process. Most of the time it isn’t even necessary to be carrying the ball.
How long will the game last?
There is no fixed overall time for a game of American Football. First of all, the clock only counts down when the ball is actually in play, and secondly because TV commercials need to be shown every 15 seconds so that the average US viewer can maintain the required attention span to keep watching. Superbowl commercials are known to be some of the most expensive and lucrative on the planet – the most expensive advert last year was the $100m 30-second spot for FlushThrush Feminine Hygiene Cream, and this was also the commercial that attracted the highest level of complaints.
The longest ever Superbowl occurred in 2013 when repeated stoppages for injuries and commercials meant that the match was still in progress during Thanksgiving.
How long can each team try to move forwards before they have to go backwards?
When a team is in possession of the ball, they have five attempts to move the ball forward, and if they haven’t made more than 6 inches of progress they are then obliged to hand the ball to the other team. However, if they have managed to move the ball more than 8 inches sideways, the umpire will declare a ‘moveoff re-play’ and the team in offense will have three extra attempts to move the ball forwards to reach that golden target of 6 inches. On the other hand, if they have managed to kick the ball more than 12 inches into the air when the players are at their most spread-out point between the last defensive running back and the most advanced wing-sweeping offensive defensive half forward quarter-back, each player is required to swap their helmet with the opposite numbered player and sit down with their legs crossed until the umpire blows their whistle to declare ‘offside.’ Simple really.
Is it really worth staying up all night to watch the match and ruin my sleeping pattern for the rest of the week?
No. If the array of confusing rules and regulations doesn’t make you want to stick your head into the nearest industrial tree chipper, watching Coldplay at half-time will.
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