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Football 101: Your Basic Cheat Sheet to the 2014 Super Bowl

Richard Sherman, Peyton Manning Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images; Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The big game is almost here! Even if you haven't watched a minute of football all season, chances are you'll be watching the Super Bowl this Sunday. It's one of the biggest sporting events of the year, of course you have to watch it!

In case you are a total football novice, we are here to save the day. We're put together a little cheat sheet you can study before Super Bowl Sunday so you won't look like a complete noob at your Super Bowl party. Even if you're only at the party for the food and the commercials, it'll be nice to know what's going on during the game. Here's what you need to know:

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The Teams

The Denver Broncos will be facing off against the Seattle Seahawks for the Super Bowl title. Peyton Manning is the quarterback for the Broncos, and he's having a record-breaking year, which is a feat many people thought would never happen after his neck surgery and after he was dropped from the Indianapolis Colts. He has already been to the Super Bowl twice, winning once. The Broncos' regular season was one of the best in NFL history, in terms of scoring records. Their head coach John Fox missed four games this season when he underwent heart surgery. The Broncos are basically the favorite to win.

The Seattle Seahawks may be viewed as the underdog, but their defense has been dominating all season long. Richard Sherman is one of their star defenders, and you might know him from his now infamous postgame interview with Erin Andrews where he yelled about being the best after defeating the San Fransisco '49ers in the NFC championship game. Their quarterback Russell Wilson is still a rookie, as this is only his second season in the NFL. Most experts are expecting the Broncos to win, but the game should still be a good one and not a blowout by any means.

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Russell Wilson, Peyton Manning Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images; Elsa/Getty Images

The Venue

The Super Bowl is being played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. It's an open stadium, which means that the weather could severely impact the game. If the weather gets too bad leading up to the game, the NFL will move the date of the Super Bowl.

Football Basics

There are tons of rules that come with the game, but the bare-bones explanation of how a football game is played goes like this: The game is split up into four 15-minute quarters, and each time a team is on the field attempting to score, it's called a "series." During each series, a team has four chances (called "downs") to go 10 yards, either by throwing the ball or handing it off to a running back. That's how the team moves down the field. Their main objective is to get into the end zone for six points (called a "touchdown"). Or they can kick a field goal for three points. If the team on offense doesn't go 10 yards in four plays, they punt the ball back down the field and then the other team has their chance. And of course, there are multiple things that happened during downs that can change the game in an instant: fumbles, interceptions and penalties, for example.

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Defense can also score points by intercepting the ball or recovering a fumble and running the ball back to their end zone for a touchdown. Or if the defense tackles the player with the ball inside their own end zone, that's called a safety and it's worth two points.

And as you can probably deduce, the team with the most points at the end of regulation wins! And that team gets Super Bowl rings, the Vince Lombardi Trophy and the privilege of being called World Champions.

For more detailed explanation of the game (if you need it), head on over to NFL.com for more in-depth guide.

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Super Bowl Memes http://bananatag.tumblr.com/post/74069679523

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are people calling this game the Marijuana Bowl?               
Washington and Colorado are the only two states that have legalized recreational marijuana, and they both made it to the Super Bowl. Weed puns ensued.

Why is commercial air time so expensive?         
The Super Bowl is always one of the most-watched, if not the most-watched TV event of the year. We're talking over 100 million viewers! With that many people watching, companies go all-out with their ads, which is why a lot of people say they watch the game only for the commercials.

Is there shame in only caring about the commercials?
Hell, no! Like we said, advertisers make mini-movies, get big-name celebrities and really bring in the big guns for Super Bowl Sunday. 

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Kitten Bowl Crown Media, Inc./Photographer: Monique Toro

Who is performing at the halftime show?
Bruno Mars, but you can expect some other surprise guests.

If the games consist of only four 15-minute quarters, why are games hours and hours long?
A lot of reasons: Time outs, commercials, two-minute warnings, injuries, half-time and general play stoppage, to name a few.

I heard there is a Puppy Bowl! Is that real?
Yes, Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl is real and it's amazing. And if you are more of a cat person, Hallmark Channel is having a Kitten Bowl!

And those are the basics you need to know before Super Bowl Sunday! Before you know it, you'll be in love with football and anxious for the new season to start!

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