You may still be in a January funk, but it’s time to shake yourself out of it and start prepping for one of the biggest nights on the sporting calendar. It is, after all, less than a week until the most important game in American football kicks off. Yes, Super Bowl LII will be hitting our screens this Sunday and we’re here to tell you when, how and why you should tune in!
The NFL may not be as big in the UK (for obvious reasons) but it’s certainly a sport you can enjoy from across the pond. It’s entertaining, complex and full of larger than life (sometimes literally) characters. So, where better to ignite your love of American football than the Super Bowl itself?!
The big game takes place this Sunday (February 4th) at 11:30pm GMT. We know what you’re thinking—’I’d planned on being tucked up in bed and fast asleep by then!’ Trust us, it’s worth rearranging your sleep pattern for one day. This game is a big deal.
This year sees defending champions the New England Patriots take on the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s a replay of the 2005 Super Bowl, which saw the Patriots beat the Eagles in a close 24-21 game. The Patriots head into this battle as firm favourites, but the Eagles have plenty up their sleeves that could cause an upset. Both teams have a strong chance of lifting the Lombardi trophy come Monday morning, and it’s sure to be a thrilling contest whatever the result.
Prepping Yourself Like a Pro
Fans of international sports will know that, just like athletes, spectators need to follow certain rituals to prepare themselves for special games. As any survivalist will tell you: sleep and fuel are paramount. The Super Bowl takes place late Sunday night/early Monday morning, so straight off the bat you’re going to want to consider a napping plan. Take a moment to reminisce about your student days and schedule a few hours of shuteye so you can be rested and alert for both the game and work on Monday. Of course, if you really care about the game, you could consider booking the morning off work. Treat yo’ self!
Now to our favourite part: fuel. The Americans go all out when it comes to food and drink for the Super Bowl. In fact, aside from Thanksgiving, it’s their biggest day of eating all year! Now, as it’s very late at night for us, you probably don’t need a full buffet to keep you going (though we won’t judge if you do!) but a few snacks are essential. Why not run with the American theme and opt for some Yank-inspired snacks? Here at DailyFantasyUK, we’re particularly partial to mozzarella sticks, chicken wings and anything that comes with BBQ sauce. As for drinks—maybe start with something caffeine-based to put a pep in your step and ensure you don’t fall asleep during the action.
Refresh Your NFL Knowledge
Even if you feel like you know nothing about American football, you have plenty of time to cram in a bit of research. Our article on which NFL position suits your personality is a great place to start. It provides a helpful (if we do say so ourselves) introduction to how the game works and the different roles involved.
Trust us, even those who know how the game works can get confused about certain aspects! There’s a lot of switching and stopping involved, with different players coming on and off the field throughout the game. It keeps you on your toes though, and there’s always lots going on to keep you entertained.
Next it’s time to explore the two teams involved so you can pick your side:
New England Patriots
The Patriots are one of the most successful teams in the NFL, having competed in 10 Super Bowls so far—that’s more than any other team. Their dominant position in the modern football era is often credited to head coach Bill Belichick and star quarterback Tom Brady. If they win Sunday’s game, they will match the record currently held by the Pittsburgh Steelers of the most Super Bowls won by a team, with six.
The team’s career certainly isn’t lacking in controversy, with scandals like ‘Deflategate‘ grabbing media headlines and causing Brady to be slapped with a 4 game suspension in 2016. Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin called the Patriots the Lannisters of the NFL—so make of that what you will!
Sunday’s game marks the 3rd time the Eagles have reached a Super Bowl, their last appearance at one being back in 2005. They’re yet to be Super Bowl champions, though, so they head into this contest as the underdogs. It’s been a bit of a tricky run for the Eagles, too. Their quarterback Carson Wentz, who was having an incredible season, injured his knee against the Rams in December. Fans were devastated to learn that he would not be returning to action for some time.
Luckily, Nick Foles stepped up to the plate and helped carry the team to the Super Bowl. It would be quite something if after all this they manage to win. Plus, their fans are famed for being some of the most devoted in the league, so the atmosphere should be pretty incredible!
How to Watch
If you live in the UK and want to watch the game live, you have a few options. Both BBC1 and Sky Sports will be showing the game in full. You can also listen to it on Radio 5 Live. If you fancy more in-depth or humorous coverage to supplement what you’re watching, there’ll be a ton of Super Bowl LII live-blogging happening all over the internet. Both blogs and Twitter can be really useful to follow during the game—especially if you feel like you haven’t fully grasped the rules or don’t understand why certain decisions have been made.
As we all know, the Super Bowl has become more than just a football game. The US Bank Stadium in Minnesota is putting on a variety of entertainment, along with the Super Bowl itself. There’s the highly anticipated halftime concert, which this year features Justin Timberlake. Most guests usually bring along a few famous friends, so it’s worth tuning in even if JT doesn’t float your boat. Then again, you could use the intermission for toilet breaks and snack refills! There’ll also be performances from Leslie Odom Jr and Pink before the game.
Of course, there’s plenty of ways you can get more involved. All of the major betting and fantasy sports sites will be tracking the action and offering a range of odds. If you’ve never played fantasy NFL, here’s a handy guide. Time to get researching those stats and selecting your top players!
As for us, we’re off to take a power nap in anticipation.
If the NFL just ain’t your thing, take our quiz to see which sport you should be following this year. And, of course, keep checking in with DailyFantasyUK for all of the latest news and tips!