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5 Ways to Sound Like You Know What You’re Talking About on Super Bowl Sunday

"It looked like holding to me."


Let me guess: For you, the Super Bowl is about the commercials, the halftime show, and the chicken wings. Football has never made sense; but unfortunately, you’re the odd one out in your family or friend group, because everyone else seems to love it or at least grasp the general rules and strategy. This Super Bowl Sunday, though, things will be different for you. (Or so we hope!) With these sly tricks, you may actually convince a few loved ones that you’ve learned a thing or two. I’m no football fan myself, but these strategies have worked for me in the past — and some are even applicable to other sports. Check ’em out, and let me know which ones you try.

1. Answer a question with a question.

This trick is for the anti-football fan who wants to put zero effort into understanding basic terminology. Here are a few scenarios in which answering a question with a question works:

  • “Did you see that?” A: “Did you see that?”
  • “I left the room to get a beer. Did anything happen?” A: “What do you think?”
  • “Do you think the 49ers would have beaten the Eagles if Brock Purdy hadn’t gotten injured?” A: “Well, do you think Brock Purdy is really that good?” (They’re sure to have an opinion on Brock Purdy and start talking a lot — he was the very last guy picked in the 2022 NFL draft, apparently.)
  • “Which team are you rooting for?” A: “Isn’t it obvious?”

2. Agree, agree, agree.

If anyone in the room has a very strong opinion on the game, just agree with them. Everybody likes someone who’s agreeable. Here are some examples:

  • “They should have gotten a 10-yard penalty!” A: “I know!”
  • “That was roughing.” A: “It really was.”
  • “Fumble! Fumble!” A: “Yeah!”

3. Remember these basic facts.

If you’re willing to put in a little extra effort, memorize these simple facts by February 12 (that’s the day of the Super Bowl).

  • Jalen Hurts is the current Philadelphia Eagles quarterback. (For those who don’t know, the quarterback must handle the ball and make decisions every play. As a result, he has the most important position on the team, and is usually the most famous player.)
  • Patrick Mahomes is the current Kansas City Chiefs quarterback.
  • The Kansas City Chiefs are the underdogs, according to this article that you don’t need to read.

4. Every time there is a penalty, say this.

Did a referee just say that there was a penalty? Here’s the golden phrase that works every time: “It looked like holding to me.” Why this phrase works: Holding is defined as the player using his hands or arms to restrict his opponent or alter the defender’s path or angle of pursuit. You don’t need to remember that definition, but you should remember that it’s very common. If you want to better understand what holding looks like (so you’re extra prepared), check out this surprisingly helpful one-minute NFL video.

5. Remember these conversation starters, which you can use at any point during the game.

Looking for a few questions or inflammatory phrases that will get your friend or family member monologuing? Try these:

  • “I can’t believe Tom Brady finally retired.”
  • “I know who you’re rooting for, but who would you rather have dinner with, Hurts or Mahomes?”
  • “I can’t believe how many injuries there have been this season.” (The football fan you’re talking to is bound to know about Damar Hamlin’s critical injury. Hamlin played safety for the Buffalo Bills, and had to be carried off the field after suffering from a cardiac arrest during a game in early January. You can also remind your friend that Hamlin is far from the first football player to suffer a medical emergency while playing.)
  • If they’re rooting for the Eagles: “You’ve at least got to hand it to Mahomes. He’s so talented.”
  • If they’re rooting for the Chiefs: “You’ve at least got to hand it to Hurts. He’s so talented.”

Getting tired? Drop all pretenses.

At some point, you may want to give up and stop being a team player. That’s okay. Just let your friends and family know that you’re getting a headache, so you’re going to get more snacks. Most importantly, ask them to please call you back into the room when Rihanna is about to make her entrance.

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