Before you became a dad, nobody could talk football better than you. You were like a walking encyclopedia of gridiron knowledge, effortlessly spouting out choice analysis and obscure facts to support any of your firmly held pigskin beliefs. But now that you’re responsible for the care and well-being of another human being, you haven’t had time to sit down for three hours to watch a full game. For 51 Sundays a year, your increasingly casual fandom isn’t a problem; but on Super Bowl Sunday, sitting around bowls of snacks with your buddies, well, you’re at high risk of exposing your ignorance. But rather than outing yourself as a fraud at the Super Bowl party you are hosting or attending, here are 10 solid opinions you should pretend to have.
Tom Brady Is Probably a Jerk But He’s Also the Greatest Quarterback of All Time
Even if you set aside the numerous cheating allegations he’s faced over the course of his career, it’s hard to argue Tom Brady is not a bit of a douche and a total wacko. His health book is filled with pseudo-science from his quack doctor. He, at one point, had a “Make America Great Again” hat in his locker. He’s won five Super Bowls and looks like a goddam model. That being said, he’s also the best quarterback to ever play the game. Sorry, Joe Montana stans but Brady has the most wins in playoff and Super Bowl history and could be the all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns by the end of his career. So criticize Tom’s off-field antics all you want but don’t be the person who is arguing he isn’t the GOAT because you’re just going to look silly. Also, don’t talk trash about his kids because that’s obviously a dick move.
Celebrations Are the Shit
After years of unnecessary restriction, the NFL finally started allowing players to have some fun again and do a little showboating after a big play. There is absolutely no reason not to love these elaborate and joyful celebrations and in just one season, NFL players have already cooked up a few new must-see celebrations. Who can forget the Vikings playing duck, duck, goose? Or the Packers riding an invisible bobsled? So instead of rooting for either team, just root for a high-scoring game. Because more points mean more touchdowns and more touchdowns mean more chances to see some carefully coordinated dance routines. It’s a win-win.
Doug Pederson is the Real Coach of the Year
Sean McVay is likely to win coach of the year for righting the ship in Los Angeles and turning the Rams into one of the most exciting teams in the league in his first year of coaching. But while the 32-year-old wunderkind deserves all the praise he’s received, he’s not as impressive as Pederson, who has the Eagles on the verge of winning a Super Bowl despite losing their MVP-level quarterback to an ACL tear. Even if he fails to beat Belichick and win Philadelphia their first-ever Super Bowl, Pederson has a bright future ahead of him. So shamelessly hop on the bandwagon and enjoy the ride.
What’s a Catch Anyway?
At some point during the game, one of the receivers will make what appears to be a catch. Except maybe it’s not a catch. Unless it is. To solve this conundrum, the referees will review the play in slow motion hundreds of times, while the announcers pretend to not be annoyed at the NFL for not knowing how to define something as fundamental as a catch. Be the first person to grumble about the NFL’s indecision and you will immediately win over the room. Because if there’s one thing American sports fans hate more than the Patriots, it’s ambiguity.
Is Another Patriots Super Bowl Inevitable?
Not necessarily. The Patriots are definitely the favorites and for good reason. They have the greatest coach and quarterback of all time while the Eagles are without their starting quarterback and their coach is only in his second season. But the Eagles have relished being in the underdog role for the entirety of the playoffs, as everyone assumed they would lose to the Falcons or the Vikings. The Eagles may not have the offensive firepower that New England has but they do have a ferocious defense that specializes in turnovers and getting to the quarterback. So while the Patriots are the safe bet, rooting for the Eagles may not be as crazy as everyone thinks.
Super Bowl Take: Justin Timberlake Better Do Right By Janet Jackson
Everyone knows what happened the last time JT was in a Super Bowl halftime show but, for some inexplicable reason, Janet Jackson received most of the blame for someone else exposing her breast to 100 million Americans. Now that Timberlake is returning to the stage, he needs to right this wrong and let Jackson have some time to bask in the spotlight without fear of a nipple slip. Be sure and voice your support of Jackson well before the halftime show begins. That way, if she comes on, you get to bask in the glory of correctly predicting it. And if she doesn’t, you can rant about the absurdity of Jackson continuing to shoulder all the blame while Timberlake gets to sing that Trolls song for the thousandth time.
Al Michaels is a National Treasure
On January 31, 1988, Al Michaels was selected as a Super Bowl announcer for the first time, bringing his iconic voice and razor-sharp insight to the biggest stage in sports. Now, 30 years later, he is heading back into the booth on Super Bowl Sunday for the tenth time, as he continues to be the best NFL play-by-play announcer by a long shot. Take any opportunity you can to praise Michaels’ brilliant announcing, as the 73-year-old is rightfully the most beloved famous broadcaster in American sports history. For bonus points, bring up Tony Romo’s incredible debut season as a color commentator and confidently predict that it won’t be long before he’s in the booth for his first Super Bowl, as an announcer and a player.
The Underrated Player Who May End Up Having a Monster Game for Each Team
Brandon Graham: Despite being one of the best pass rushers in the NFL, Graham has essentially disappeared during the Eagles’ playoff run. Despite Philadelphia’s success, Graham has no sacks and just two tackles in their wins against the Falcons and Vikings. Still, Graham is simply too good to struggle for a third straight game and expect him to have at least one big play during the Super Bowl. If Graham can consistently disrupt Brady and force him to make bad throws, the Eagles have a great shot at pulling off the upset.
Dion Lewis: It’s tough to predict which of the Patriots endless supply of running backs will step up and have a huge game but the best bet is Lewis, who is secretly one of the most important parts of the Patriots’ offense. Over the past three seasons, the Patriots are 32-3 when Lewis is active. So as long as he’s healthy, expect him to contribute in a big way and maybe even manage to steal the spotlight away from Tommy Touchdown.
Gronk Is the NFL’s Shaq
This might sound strange but the parallels are obvious once you look for them. Both are physical freaks of nature. Both are known to let their emotions get the best of them during games. Both are responsible for countless jaw-dropping plays in their respective sports. Both are prone to say stupid shit but are so lovable nobody really cares. Both have done some really weird commercials. And most importantly, both seem like they would be a fucking blast to party with. Long live Gronk.