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Super Bowl: Everything you need to know to impress your friends

Jaxin Daniels, Te Rito cadet

The Super Bowl is upon us, and the talk of the town is if Taylor Swift is going to make an appearance.

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air


If you are one of the many ‘Swifties’ watching your first Super Bowl, or just someone who bluffs their way into a watching party, never fear, this is your guide to the Super Bowl.


What is the Super Bowl?


The Super Bowl is the final game of the NFL season in which the top teams from opposing conferences (AFC and NFC) compete for the ultimate prize, the Vince Lombardi trophy.


This is Super Bowl 58, meaning the 58th Super Bowl in the Super Bowl era, self-explanatory.

The Kansas City Chiefs are playing the San Francisco 49ers.


There is an offense and a defense with 11 players on the field on either side.


If you play offense, you don’t play defense, and vice versa.


The quarterback is the leader of the team, getting the ball more than anyone else.


Like a number 10 in rugby, the quarterback runs the plays and dictates usually dictates the team’s success.


A good QB is key, and both sides have one.


Look out for number 15 Patrick Mahomes on the Chiefs, and number 13 Brock Purdy on the 49ers.



The offense usually consists of a quarterback, a running back, multiple wide receivers, tight ends and at least five offensive linemen.


Different teams have different formations, and this dictates who is on the field.


Running backs stand with the quarterback and take the carries, aiming to gain yards running with the ball.


They can also be a receiver if the play is a pass, catching the ball when needed.


Wide receivers are the main catchers who spread out and try to beat the defense by running up field, getting open enough for the quarterback to throw them a ball.


Tight ends can block opposing defenders from getting to the quarterback to tackle him, or they can play the same role as a wide receiver.


One of the stars of the game is Travis Kelce, number 87, and also known for dating Taylor Swift, which I’m sure some of you already know.


Kelce is one of the best tight ends of all time and will be one to watch in this matchup.


Offensive linemen are huge, tasked with making sure defenders can’t get behind them and to the QB.


Then on defense, there are combinations of players based on the formation the offense is using.


There are defensive linemen who go up against the offensive linemen to try and disrupt the play by getting behind them.


Then there are linebackers who like to cover the middle of the field, sometime rush the QB or sit back and try to stop the pass.


Defensive backs are the ones marking the receivers, more suited to defend passing plays.


Safeties are usually bigger defensive backs and play deep to stop big plays, like a full back in rugby.


Kickers and punters are self-explanatory, a kicker kicks field goals and extra points (like a conversion after a try), and punters punt the ball away for better field position.


What are the rules?


Two teams will play four 15-minute quarters to determine the winner.


If scores are tied at the end, there will be an overtime quarter of 10 minutes, where both teams get a chance to score, and if both teams do, then it’s sudden death, next score wins.


The game’s objective is to score the most points by scoring a touchdown or kicking a field goal.


Touchdowns are worth six points with the kicker then able to try for an ‘extra point’ to make it seven.


You can also go for two, which means you get one chance to run a play to essentially score a touchdown which would only be worth two in this instance.


A field goal is worth three points.


There is another way of scoring points via safety, but this is rare and only two points.


The offense has 4 chances to get 10 yards otherwise they hand the ball over, with 1st and 10 representing the attempt number followed by the number of yards that are needed to reset the attempts.


For example, 2nd and 5, meaning it’s the second chance and five yards are needed.


There will be an imaginary line on the broadcast which represents where they need to advance the ball past that helps with this too.


Things to look out for



There are a few little things to keep an eye on when you’re watching the Super Bowl.


Many people worldwide bet on how long the national anthem is, the coin toss result and the colour of the Gatorade shower the winning coach always has, so it’s always fun to see what ends up happening.


The Super Bowl halftime show is always a hit, and this year it is Usher.


And the ads as well have a place in Super Bowl lore.


If you find yourself sitting around the TV watching the big game this year and you don’t have a clue what’s going on, make sure to use this guide to convince your friends you know NFL.


When does the Super Bowl start in New Zealand?


Kickoff is 12.30pm on February 12.


Who is playing the Super Bowl halftime show?


R&B singer Usher.


What time does the Super Bowl halftime show start in New Zealand?


With the game kicking off at 12.30pm NZT, expect the Super Bowl halftime show to begin around 2pm. The show takes around 15-20 minutes.


How to watch/stream the Super Bowl in New Zealand?


The Super Bowl will be broadcast free-to-air on TVNZ and also on Sky TV via ESPN.


For those who are more into streaming, TVNZ+ and Sky Sports Now (via ESPN) are broadcasting the game live.


TV coverage begins at 12pm, with the game due to kickoff at 12.30pm.


ACC’s Super Bowl Extravaganza


The Alternative Commentary Collective is teaming up with the TAB and Sweat Shop Brew Kitchen in Auckland to bring the biggest Super Bowl Party in the country.


The ACC will be hosting pre and post-match festivals and giving away a heap of food and beverage vouchers, plus there will be a special Super Bowl menu and TAB bonus bets up for grabs.


And of course, more screens than you’ll ever need to catch every big hit and touchdown. Book here.


Plus, everyone who attends on the day goes in the draw to win a trip for two to Los Angeles thanks to our mates at Air New Zealand’s Grabaseat.



Hero Image: The Vince Lombardi Trophy, which both teams will be hoping to secure. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)



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