Remember last year about this time, they had the Super Bowl? They decided to do it again this year, and itʼs this Sunday.

Donʼt try to hide from it—itʼs coming directly at you like that guy passing out flyers for that band at that place. Maybe your team isnʼt playing, maybe you donʼt have a team, maybe you have Book Club on Sunday. It matters not. Youʼre gonna watch it, youʼre gonna love it, your excitement cup runneth over. Follow me to the end zone and have your touchdown dance prepared—hereʼs all the stuff you need to know.

Why Watch?

Because you love football. Or, because you love reality TV. (Deny it amongst the intellectuals, but we both know your DVR is logjammed with all kinds of reality gems, even the mindless ones without any Kardashian descendants.) The drama, the fighting, the sibling rivalries, and the crying—this year’s Super Bowl has all that, except itʼs grown men in suits of armor.

Sibling rivalries? Yes. The head coaches for the opposing teams are brothers: John Harbaugh, big bro, coaches the Ravens, and his little bro Jim the 49ers. (Hereʼs Jim on politics and parenting.)

Crying? The linebacker for the Ravens, #52 Ray Lewis, a man who could rip your arms off and throw them over a mountain with minimal effort, cries before the game, during the game, after the game, when kittens wear tiny hats, and when thereʼs weather. Give that guy a rose already!

The Facts

Sunday in New Orleans, 6:30 PM ET on CBS

  • San Francisco 49ers vs. Baltimore Ravens
  • Red & Gold vs. Black & Purple
  • NFC vs. AFC
  • Jim Harbaugh vs. John Harbaugh
  • Little Bro vs. Big Bro
  • Commercials vs. Commercials
  • Halftime Entertainment vs. Wardrobe Malfunctions
  • The Talking Points

    • The 49ers are favored to win by 3.5 points, which is exceptionally meaningless. They finished the regular season with a record of 11-4-1. (That's 11 wins, 4 losses, and that little 1 on the end means they tied a game—embarrassing.) In franchise history, they’ve won five Super Bowls (tied with the Dallas Cowboys) and if they win this one, they’d be tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most in the NFL. They’re calling it the “Quest for 6,” which isn’t terribly clever, but when you see a Niners fan, just scream that and raise your hand in the air to accept the painful ritual hand slapping. Bonus points if you’re at the office and you don’t spill the coffee in your off hand.
    • The Ravens enjoy black pants with purple accents and finished the regular season with a record of 10-6-0. They have one previous Super Bowl win (2001). Watch out for their Safety, #20 Ed Reed, who is a New Orleans native (homecoming!) who also likes to come out of nowhere and hit people like they cut in line at Starbucks.
    • After 17 NFL seasons with the Ravens, this will be Ray Lewis' last game (allegedly) as he announced he’s retiring. He was a rookie in 1996, which was also the year Jerry Maguire was released. Jerry Maguire is a movie filled with crying women and football players. Coincidence?
    • San Franciscoʼs Quarterback, 25-year-old Colin Kaepernick, didn’t start a game this year until week 11 after the starter, Alex Smith, suffered a concussion in week 10. If the 49ers win, he’d be the second African American Quarterback to ever win the Super Bowl. He has large arms and is much faster than humans, but his Coach explains it much better.
    • Baltimoreʼs QB is 28-year-old Joe Flacco, a quiet guy from New Jersey (you don’t hear that every day) whose favorite hobby is being seen and not heard. In his defense, he’s 6’6” and it must get annoying shouting down at regular sized people. Also, the 49ers QB stands at a mere 6’5”,  so Joe has nothing to prove. Flacco plays lights out 90% of the time, while the other 10%, he throws the ball to the other team to test how fast they can run to the other side of the field and score a touchdown. Other than that, he spends most of his time trying to avoid Ray Lewis’ tears.
    • Shock of all shockers: Beyonce to perform at halftime. Tip: Make bets on what song she opens with.
    • The Party

      If youʼre not physically at the Super Bowl in New Orleans, I instantly know two things: 1. You donʼt print money, and 2. Youʼre hosting a house party or attending one. In either case, do your homework on food—delivery of anything on Super Bowl Sunday is futility. Donʼt order it, make it, and challenge everyone to a Wing-Off, a Chili Cook-Off, or anything else people can Instagram.

      Next, prepare yourself for gambling. The men involved will have the ritual Super Bowl Squares ready to go, but maybe do a simple web search and try something new this year.

      Hereʼs an idea. I recently attended my first baby shower. Aside from the delightful beer and taco refreshments, I do not recommend this for men of any age or maturity level. However, we were forced to play something interesting, called “Baby Shower Bingo,” where you fill out the boxes of an empty bingo card with baby gift descriptions. As the baby presents are opened, eventually someone gets Bingo, he or she is rewarded with a bottle of champagne, and everyone else is secretly angry.

      Could that be modified to work as Super Bowl Bingo? Yes, yes, it can. Create your own custom game (I recommend populating squares with words that the referees will use—first down, offsides, timeout, touchdown, dead ball, holding, personal foul, encroachment, field goal, and so on—or Beyonce lyrics) or get the pre-made ones online and just pass them out.

      Bottom Line

      This year’s Super Bowl is fantastically super. You know something is super when it uses the lettering of the Romans—e.g., Super Bowl XLVII—and  the word super as an adjective. Enjoy Sunday, and make sure everyone has a safe and sober way home.

      Photo courtesy of Keith Allison.