The Super Bowl is a must-watch sport event

I MUST profess to not knowing a great deal about American football.

I've come across it on the TV every now and then and played the odd game of Madden NFL with limited success on the XBox. 

American football, or gridiron as it's better known, appears to be a simple game, but very complicated at the same time - starting with the fact each team is allowed 46 players.

That's not 46 players on their roster, it's 46 who can suit up per game and are split into mini units of defence, offence and special teams (the punters).

As for the game itself, simply, the aim is for Team A to move the ball down the field through a series of "downs" by either passing or rushing, with the ultimate goal of scoring a touchdown (six points) or kicking a field goal (three points) while being defended by Team B.

That sounds simple enough, but there's more to it than that. How much more - when I looked up the basic rules of gridiron on Wikipedia, they stretched over seven A4 pages.

Then again, that's probably not much different to Aussie Rules thanks to the continuing influence of the AFL Laws Committee.

Having grown up with the Aussie Rules terms of "kick, mark, handball, goal, behind, push in the back, too high and out of bounds on the full", the gridiron vernacular of "snap, safety, quarterback, first down, kickoff, receivers" and so on are certainly foreign.

But while I'm very much a rookie when it comes to understanding American football, I know that this Monday (Australian time) is the pinnacle for the sport - the NFL Super Bowl.

"Super Bowl Sunday" is not only the biggest day of sport in America, but the game is one of the most watched sporting events across the world.

It seems to be getting bigger each year in Australia with Super Bowl parties, including one in Melbourne's Federation Square on Monday. 

This year Super Bowl XLVIII - that's 48 in roman numerals - is being held at New Jersey's 82,000-seat Metlife Stadium between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks.

I don't know a lot about the Seahawks, other than they beat the San Francisco 49ers a fortnight ago in the NFC Championship game to advance to the Super Bowl, and that they have a "cornerback" player named Richard Sherman.

Who's Richard Sherman - he's the guy who cut an explosive post-game "WWE-style promo" on the 49ers' Michael Crabtree after his match-winning save in the dying seconds of the NFC match that is now the subject of many parodies. Sherman's rant is definitely worth a look if you haven't seen it.

As for the Denver Broncos, I first came across them in 1996 when Homer Simpson was gifted the team (pictured) by Hank Scorpio in his legendary cameo appearance in The Simpsons' Globex Corporation episode.

The Broncos must have been some sort of NFL joke back in '96, but they may get the last laugh on Monday if they win the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

To use an American term, I won't be "rooting" for any team on Monday and couldn't care less who wins.

But being one of those iconic sporting events, I'm looking forward to the Super Bowl and all its razzle and dazzle - the atmosphere, half-time show featuring the Red Hot Chili Peppers and those famous TV ads that cost millions of dollars to get on the air- even if I don't understand what is going on in the game most of the time.



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