Understanding the Super Bowl

Everything you need to know about the American football grand final.

Super Bowl Sunday is widely-considered by Americans as the biggest – most revered – sporting event of the year.

Broadcast to Australian audiences on Monday, 4 February, the Super Bowl is likely to be showing on screens in offices, bars, homes and cinemas around the country.

Even if you aren’t a fan of the game, there is something to enjoy for everyone, from the half-time show to the hilarious commercials.

Follow our guide and get up to speed on America’s biggest sporting spectacle.

What is the Super Bowl?

The Super Bowl is America’s equivalent to the NRL or AFL grand final.

In 2019, Super Bowl 53 will feature the New England Patriots facing off against the Los Angeles Rams.

The game will be held in Atlanta at Mercedes Benz Stadium. It will be a tough one to watch for local Atlanta Falcons fans, who lost the 2017 Super Bowl to the New England Patriots after surrendering a 25-point lead.

Who should I cheer for?

That answer depends on whether you prefer to back a favourite or an underdog.

The New England Patriots are considered this year’s favourites after appearing in nine Super Bowls since 2001, having won five, including one against the Los Angeles Rams. The Patriots are led by Tom Brady, who is largely considered the greatest quarterback to play the game.

The Los Angeles Rams (formerly St. Louis Rams), are this year’s underdog and have not won a Super Bowl in almost 20 years. The Rams are led by quarterback Jared Goff who first entered the NFL as the number one draft pick in 2016.

NFL pre snap

How does the game work?

NFL is a complicated game, with an extensive set of rules. We won’t bore you with specifics, but rather provide a general understanding.

Each NFL team is essentially made up of three smaller teams: Offence, Defence and Special Teams.

As their names would suggest, the offence is responsible for driving the ball down the field and scoring. The defence’s job is to stop the offence and special teams are primarily used for kicking the ball.

When the offence has the ball, they have four downs (plays) to get the ball 10 yards (about nine metres). If the team makes 10 yards, they’re rewarded with another set of four downs. Teams will continue to do this until they score or run out of downs.

A down (play) is ended when a player is tackled, or a pass is incomplete. If the team cannot make 10 yards, they will punt the ball to the other team, who take over on offence. The ball is also handed over to the other team if a player loses the ball and it is recovered by the defence or it is intercepted.

If that is too complicated, just cheer when the word touchdown appears on screen.


Touchdown (six points)

A touchdown is scored when a team crosses their opponents goal line into the end zone with the ball.

Field goal (three points)

The ball is kicked through the yellow uprights at the end of the field.

Extra point (one or two points)

Like a conversion in rugby, a point is scored by kicking the ball through the yellow uprights after a touchdown. Two points can be earned if the team crosses into the end zone again with the ball. The team is given one play on the opponents five-yard line for two-point conversion attempts.

Safety (two points)

Awarded to the defence if they tackle a member of the offence with the ball in their own end zone.

NFL ball close to yard line

Who’s performing at the half-time show?

Headlining this year’s Pepsi Super Bowl 53 half-time show is three-time Grammy-winning band, Maroon 5.

Maroon 5 will also be joined on stage by Grammy-nominated rapper Travis Scott and Big Boi who is best known for his part in hip-hop duo Outkast.

Maroon 5 have sold more than 53 million albums worldwide and will follow in the footsteps of Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Katy Perry and Bruno Mars who all performed at previous half-time shows.

Where can I see those hilarious Super Bowl commercials?

Unfortunately, it will be difficult to see any of the commercials on Australian networks as they will be airing their own.

Luckily, all the movie trailers and hilarious adverts will be uploaded to YouTube once they have aired.

You won’t want to miss any of these commercials with a 30-second spot costing upwards of $5 million each, ensuring advertising companies bring their ‘A’ game.

Here are a few from 2019 that have already made the rounds on the internet.

How can I watch the Super Bowl?

You can catch Super Bowl 53 in several ways with live coverage starting at 10.30am on Monday, 4 February.

  • Free to Air – Broadcast on 7Mate.
  • Foxtel – Watch on ESPN
  • Stream – You can stream the Super Bowl using Foxtel GO or 7 plus.
  • Cinemas – Event Cinemas are showing Super Bowl 53 at select cinemas around Australia.

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NFL Super Bowl Trophy