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How to talk about the 2018 Super Bowl if you don't know what to talk about

It's almost time for the Super Bowl or, if you're not within the roughly 250-mile radius that comprises both team's f...

Posted: Feb. 3, 2018 6:10 PM
Updated: Feb. 3, 2018 6:10 PM

It's almost time for the Super Bowl or, if you're not within the roughly 250-mile radius that comprises both team's fanbases, the fancy football game you're socially obligated to watch despite your deep and almost bitter apathy towards the outcome.

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Here's everything you need to know if you actually want to sound smart in between commercials and pizza bagel binges.

Who's playing in the Super Bowl?

Reigning Super Bowl Champs the New England Patriots will attempt a repeat against the Philadelphia Eagles.

How many Super Bowls have the Patriots won?

Five, all under the seemingly-unbeatable team of Tom Brady and Head Coach Bill Belichick.

How many Super Bowls have the Eagles won?

Zero! They have been to two, most recently in 2004 when they lost to ...

hoo boy ...

The New England Patriots.

Okay. Who are the quarterb--

TOM BRADY! Have you heard it's Tom Brady? It's Tom Brady, the 40-year-old human male; a living Black Mirror episode where an immortal football legend has his consciousness implanted in an avocado while timelord Bill Belichick's team of New England scientists scramble to renew his muscle pliability using every drop of water in the Hoover Dam. Tom Brady is as hydrated as a jellyfish and as strong as an organic, free-range bear! Tom Brady doesn't even know the word "death!" Or "carb!"

Oh, and the quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles will be Nick Foles.

Nick Foles. I am not familiar with that name.

So, funny story: While everyone and their deceased great-great-grandmother knows who Tom Brady is, Nick Foles is actually the backup quarterback for the Eagles. Tom Brady is a 5-time Super Bowl Champion and the Eagles aren't even starting their main guy!

First-string Eagles quarterback and Prince Harry's body double Carson Wentz tore his ACL earlier this season, and what looked like an unfortunate end to a promising postseason bid was actually the beginning of an underdog run for the ages, led by none other than the 29-year-old Foles. Now, they are deservedly in the Super Bowl, facing a very formidable and well-nourished foe.

Wait, why aren't we referring to it as Super Bowl LII?

The AP Stylebook, basically a bible to most writers and grammar sticklers, caused a minor crisis earlier this year when they announced the Super Bowl is properly referred to by the year it's played. So for instance, this year's Super Bowl LII should be Super Bowl 2018.

People were incensed. "We have been doing fine with Roman numerals for LI years so far!" they cried. "And we will continue to use them for the next C to come!"

Which of course, kind of proves the point. Quick, what year was Super Bowl XLII?

If you didn't say MMVII, ya lose.

Wow, while that is interesting I still can't really get into it. Who should I root for?

If you like "winning" the way Donald Trump says it, you should root for the Patriots.

If you like "winning" the way Charlie Sheen says it, you should root for the Eagles.

If you like consistency and the status quo, root for the Patriots.

If you like literally anything other than the Patriots, or just want to see a plucky franchise finally get their due, root for the Eagles.

If you don't like Philly or New England, you should root for Philly just to see something different. If you're a Patriots fan and that offends you, just go gaze at the five rings y'all have. We hear it's soothing.

That's not convincing me. Give me some other miscellany upon which to make my judgment.

If you like "Good Will Hunting," "The Departed" or any given Wahlberg, Damon or Affleck, root for the Patriots.

If you like "Rocky," "Philadelphia" (don't judge!) or Bradley Cooper, root for the Eagles.

Clam chowder over cheesesteak ? Patriots.

Liberty Bell over Boston Harbor? Eagles.

Boston Market? PATRIOTS.

Philadelphia cream cheese? EAGLES.

Grating yet endearing local dialects? Friend, you are looking at a win-win.

Why are some Eagles fans wearing dog masks? Is football actually a cult?

Other than being really upsetting to look at, Eagles fans (and players!) have adopted the dog mask look because they were heavily regarded as underdogs when they faced both the Atlanta Falcons and the Minnesota Vikings on their way to the Super Bowl.

Okay, I'm gonna pick up some wings, pound a non-alcoholic beverage and WATCH THIS THING. Where is it?

This year's Super Bowl will be held on Sunday, February 4, at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. ET, which means the game will be over at 4 a.m. the next day.

That stadium looks cool but I bet a lot of birds die there.

Sadly, they actually do. According to one report, the stadium the biggest bird-killer in Minneapolis. There are actually ongoing conversations about how to make the design more birdly-friendly since literally hundreds of them have lost their live smashing into the reflective exterior glass since the stadium opened in 2016. Sad for the ecosystem, and a truly hideous omen for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Minnesota seems a bit cold this time of year.

It will be! The high in Minneapolis on Sunday is predicted to be a cozy 8 degrees, and the low is zero. As in no degrees.

Isn't anyone concerned the players will freeze? Not in a figurative way, but actually freeze solid?

Luckily, the NFL wouldn't subject players -- and fans -- to such an experience. The Super Bowl typically isn't held in cold-weather cities if the stadium isn't domed or enclosed, and it just so happens US Bank Stadium is the latter.

Back to the game. How can I watch it?

If you have normal cable, you can catch the game on NBC or any NBC affiliate. If you want to watch on your computer or device, NBC is streaming the game online and through their sports apps. And, good news! If you want to stream the game, you don't even need a cable login. Just go for it.

I hear Justin Timberlake's playing the halftime show. Will there be any "wardrobe malfunctions?"

Can you believe it was 14 whole years ago that Justin Timberlake ripped off part of Janet Jackson's costume during their Super Bowl halftime performance, sending the FCC into a tailspin and changing the history of live TV as we know it? It all seems so quaint, so... antique. Don't expect a cheeky repeat though -- it was not the kind of weird moment that begs an encore.

Weird moments? I love weird moments! Give me one more for the road.

Well, here's an Eagles fan riding a dune buggy up the Rocky steps.

Remember kids, the different between "fan" and "felon" is like, three letters. Be safe out there!

READ: Four hours is a long time to even tangentially care about football if you don't normally care about football. So when the commercials get boring and the nacho cheese gets gummy, here are some super interesting trivia to keep the merriment going.


READ:
It may be a bloated, over-hyped spectacle, but the Super Bowl usually is good for a memorable moment or two. Some of them even happen on the field.

CORRECTION: This piece has been republished to correct how many times the Eagles have been to the Super Bowl.

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