Super Bowl for dummies

Ok, you're not a football fan and you've been invited to a Super Bowl party. If you don't want to make a complete idiot out of yourself, here's some simple things you should know before you arrive.

Who's playing where

First of all, and I can't stress this enough, know your teams and where the game is being played.

It's the Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts, and they're playing in Miami.

History

Try to find out some of the history of both teams.

The Bears last won a Super Bowl in 1985, and that team is considered to be one of the most dominant teams in NFL history. It featured colorful characters like William "The Refrigerator" Perry and Jim McMahon.

The Indianapolis franchise used to be located in Baltimore, and the then Baltimore Colts were once considered a perennial powerhouse. Indy has been a team that always makes the playoffs, but has gotten knocked off in the first or second round.

Key players

It also helps if you know some of the key players for both teams.

For Indianapolis, the key offensive player is quarterback Peyton Manning, who has been labeled as a guy who can't win the big one. This is huge for Manning. He is one of the most prolific passers in the game, but he needs a Super Bowl win to be considered one of the elite in NFL history. Also, keep an eye on safety Bob Sanders. He has made Indy's run defense very respectable in recent weeks. He's almost like an extra linebacker.

For Chicago, the marque name is middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, who is an absolute animal. He is a ferocious hitter and can play from sideline to sideline. On offense, keep an eye on quarterback Rex Grossman. The young quarterback, who is in his first full year of starting, has come under intense criticism because of his inconsistent play. To be effective, he needs to manage the game and not try and win it.

Penalties

Try to learn some of the main penalties - offsides, illegal procedure, holding and pass interference.

Offsides is if a offensive or defensive player comes across the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped, which is a 5-yard penalty.

Illegal procedure is when an offensive player moves before the snap of the ball, and that's also a 5-yard penalty.

Holding is self-explanatory. It's something that happens on every snap, but isn't called that often. It's a 10-yard penalty on offense and a 5-yard penalty on defense.

Pass interference is when a defensive player contacts a pass receiver before the ball gets there. It's usually a spot foul, meaning it could be a 40-yard penalty if the pass was thrown that far past the line of scrimmage.

Betting pool

If you're a party host, one way to stir up interest is to have some sort of pool, based on squares, if you have enough people ($1 a square). Or go zero through nine, and the final digit of the combined two scores would win. If there is money at stake, even the most unknowledgeable fan might get excited during the game.

Spirit

The most important thing is have fun. Pick a team and root them on.

• Contact sports reporter Darrell Moody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281.

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