Super Bowl Sunday!

Let’s talk about football. First, when Americans say “football,” they mean American football. When you are in the United States, you should also call it football. You do not need to say “American football.” This is football:


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This is soccer:


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Please do not say “football” when you are talking about soccer. Americans will be confused if you do that.

“I don’t understand football.”

You are not alone. There are a lot of rules in football, and most people don’t understand all of them, but here are the basics:

  • A team has 4 chances to move the ball 10 yards (about 9 meters). These 4 chances are called downs.
  • If the team moves the ball 10 yards, then they get 4 more chances to move the ball 10 more yards. They hope to do this several times to reach the opposite end of the field.
  • When a team moves the ball to the opposite end of the field and into the end-zone, they score a touchdown and receive 6 points.
  • After a touchdown, a team can kick the ball through two posts for 1 extra point, or they can throw or carry the ball into the end-zone again for 2 extra points.
  • If a team is very close to the end-zone, but they have no more downs (chances to move the ball 10 yards), they might try to kick the ball through the posts. This is called a field goal, and it scores 3 points.
  • The other team tries to stop the ball from moving by tackling (pushing or pulling players down to the ground) their opponents (enemies/people you are against).
  • Each football game has 4 quarters (periods).
  • Each quarter lasts for 15 minutes.

What/When is the Super Bowl?

Now that you understand football a little better, let’s talk about the Super Bowl. A bowl game is a championship or tournament game. The Super Bowl is the biggest championship game of the year for professional football teams. It determines which team is the best in the nation. This year, the Super Bowl is on Sunday, February 1 at 6:30 p.m. You can watch it on NBC (channel 5 in Raleigh).

When you see information about the Super Bowl, you will notice that it says “Super Bowl XLIX.” The letters at the end are Roman numbers. They mean 49. This is the 49th Super Bowl.

Who is playing in the Super Bowl?

This year, the teams in the Super Bowl are the New England Patriots (from Boston, Massachusetts) and the Seattle Seahawks (from Seattle, Washington). The Seahawks won the Super Bowl last year.

What do Americans do on Super Bowl Sunday?

In general, Americans love football and enjoy going to Super Bowl parties. However, not everyone watches the sport. Many people attend parties (and watch the game) for other reasons:

  • Commercials – Companies pay a LOT of money to show their commercials during the Super Bowl because they know that millions of people will see them. These companies often create new, interesting, entertaining commercials just for the game. Americans like to watch the commercials and choose their favorites.
  • Halftime Show – In the middle of a football game, the teams take a break. This break is called halftime. During halftime of the Super Bowl, famous singers perform for the audience. This year, Katy Perry will perform during the Halftime Show.
  • Food – Americans love food, and a Super Bowl party always has lots of it. Food at a Super Bowl party is usually finger food (food that can be eaten with the hands, not a fork). Chicken, Buffalo wings, chips, and other small appetizers are very common foods at a Super Bowl party.

Your Turn

Plan a Super Bowl party with your class! Ask each person to bring some food or drinks to share. Decide which team you prefer, and cheer for them during the game. Choose your favorite commercials. Enjoy Katy Perry’s performance. And have fun together!