While here in New York-New Jersey for Super Bowl XLVIII, we aren’t new to Super Bowls.
This scribbler’s first game rocking a Roman Numeral capped the MCMLXXIX NFL season, and if also rooting for the 1979 Rams over the Steelers, you know of the heartbreak.
But each contest comes with heartburn and heartfelt angst. We’re not talking about the winners and losers, but those ill-informed viewers watching on TV sets around America.
Those with limited football knowledge are easy to spot at Super Bowl parties. While hard-core fans discuss the nuances of the 3-4 defense, others are reduced to making guacamole. While some talk of establishing the run, others are marginalized, yapping about the commercials instead of the game.
But we’re here to help. Don’t fret if not knowing the difference between a first down and a first-stringer; a blitzing linebacker from a spy linebacker; a pocket passer from an agile one.
Follow along and you do can’t mix it up at your Super Bowl shindig. Watch the unsuspecting attendees mouths’ fall agape when you deliver the inside scoop. And it has nothing to do with your neighbor double-dipping in the salsa.
It’s not what you think: the beefy cousin loading up, time and again, at the smoking BBQ. Instead break out the Beast Mode chant when Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch rushes, as they say, behind his shoulder pads. That means his running comes with a thump, as he lets other tiptoe around the line of scrimmage in seeking an inviting hole. Lynch — you’ll score extra points in mentioning his love for Skittles — seeks contact instead of avoiding it. And when doing so with his muscular 5-foot-11, 215 -pound frame, snatching the football from Lynch isn’t like taking candy from a baby.
Some wise guy at the Farmers Insurance Open said Phil Mickelson’s back locked up when he flinched during his swing, after some yahoo yelled, “Omaha!” Of course that was the phrase Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning used often when bouncing the Chargers — Phil’s favorite team — from the playoffs. Manning is a master of the cerebral game, dissecting defenses like a seasoned finger-food diner ravages a tangy chicken wing. If wanting to sound savvy, explain that Omaha is code for Manning getting his players in the right spot at the right time — it’s as good a guess as any. If you’re really sharp, humor the masses by saying Peyton, Eli’s brother and quarterback for the New York Giants, would never shout, “San Diego!” before the snap.
Legion of Boom
The Seahawks are big on No. 12, but don’t try finding him on the roster. It’s 11 players per side, but Seattle’s caffeine-fueled, crazed boosters — think Venti, Venti, Venti — create such a ruckus that an earthquake was triggered when Lynch went Beast Mode (see above) after scoring a touchdown. But the Legion of Boom will mostly be parked in Seattle, as not everyone cheering for the Seahawks is a Microsoft Millionaire and can afford the Super Bowl tickets. Instead charm your crew by suggesting that the Seahawks’ 12th man is really Sunday’s elements, even if you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. If the New Jersey breeze picks up speed, that’s a bad sign for the pass-happy Broncos and good news for the ground-oriented Seahawks.
Sherman is at ease with trash
So true, as Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman opened his mouth soon after lifting his team past the 49ers in the NFC title game. What came out shocked many, providing a glimpse of the trash-talk banter, which goes on between players in the heat of competition. Sherman got plenty of blow back as the social media, among others platforms, ran his name through the mud. But when someone spouts off about Sherman being a thug, remind them that he rose from the streets of Compton to be a Stanford graduate. That his mom works with disabled children in the inner city. And his hard-working father, yep, drives a trash truck.
While others focus on Denver’s Big No. 18 (Peyton Manning) bring their attention to his Big 2 (Demaryius and Julius Thomas). They aren’t siblings, but brother, are they prime targets for Manning. DeMaryius scored three touchdowns when the Broncos beat the Chargers this season; Julius added a 74-yard touchdown. For the year DeMaryius, a wide receiver, had 14 scoring receptions; Julius, a tight end, added 12. It’s easy putting Peyton in his place as among the game’s all-time greats, but without a solid receiving corps, he’s like a Super Bowl bash minus engaging guests.
After consuming these five Super Bowl talking points, you too will sound like those experts on the pregame show. Have fun, and remember not to wipe the BBQ sauce on the white tablecloth.
Jay Paris can be heard talking Chargers football on 1090 AM on Monday and Friday mornings. He’s also the Thursday morning co-host of “Hacksaw and Company.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @jparis_sports.
Sportswriter Jay Paris has written his “Sports Talk” column since joining the Coast News in 2013.
Paris, a Cardiff resident, is a longtime Southern California writer, getting his start with the Orange County Register before coming to San Diego in 1992 to cover the Chargers.
He had the Chargers beat for more than two decades with Oceanside Blade-Citizen, the North County Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, before being named a sports columnist with the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Paris has won numerous awards voted on by his peers in the Pro Football Writers of America. He has also been a staple on countless media platforms, everything from the KPBS to MLB Network and various radio outlets.
Paris is also the author of three books, with his latest one being, “Shohei Ohtani: The Amazing Story Of Baseball’s Two-Way Japanese Superstar.” He has also written “Game Of My Life Chargers” and “Game Of My Life Rams.”
He currently covers the NFL in Los Angeles for Forbes. com and is a contributor to USA Today Sports Weekly.