Get your game on for Super Bowl 50

It’s less than a week to the Super Bowl and you have no idea who is playing, where the game is or who the halftime show performer will be. But, you’re going to a party at a friend’s house and want to make sure that you know what’s going on but don’t know where to look or want to ask a stranger 50 times about what’s going on.

With all the questions you might have, allow this breakdown to help guide you so you can enjoy watching “the big game” and not fear missing out on the excitement.

The Basics:

In football, the object of the game is to score more points than your opponent within the given time to win.

Graphic by Emily Creighton via
Graphic via

Players can score by scoring a touchdown for six points, scoring the extra point conversion after the touchdown for one or two points (not kicking gives you more points) or three points if they hit a field goal. The defense can also score a safety when an offensive player is tackled in his own endzone, which gives the defensive team two points and possession of the ball.

The game’s time is broken into four quarters of 15 minutes each. To advance the ball down the field, a team has four downs to go 10 yards by running or passing the ball. If they do, they get another four downs. If not, they will either punt, kick a field goal to score if they’re close enough or try and go for a first down at the risk of turning the ball over on downs.

When the ref throws a yellow flag, that signals a penalty. If a team receives a penalty they will lose yards to the other team and make it easier for their opponent to score or stop them.

The team that scores a touchdown is the one who does a kickoff during the game. The opening kickoff is decided by a coin toss, which the team who wins can decide to kick or receive the ball. Whomever receives will kick off in the second half.

The Game:

Graphic via
Graphic via

The Denver Broncos, who won the AFC conference final over the New England Patriots 20-18 two weeks ago, will face the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers beat the Arizona Cardinals 49-15 to advance as the NFC champions.

The Broncos have been to the Super Bowl eight times before, winning two years in a row in 1997 and 1998. Carolina had only been to the Super Bowl one other time, losing in 2003 to the New England Patriots.

Coached by Ron Rivera, the Panthers had a chance to go undefeated this season after winning their first 14 games before a 20-13 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in week 16 gave them their first loss of the year.

Carolina is quarterbacked by Cam Newton (1), who is going to his first Super Bowl in his fifth year in the league. Newton became known for giving away his touchdown balls to kids as well as dancing and celebrating with teammates.

The Panthers offense has a reputation of running the football as both Newton and running back Jonathan Stewart (28) have combined to make a unit that’s hard to stop.

On defense, Carolina is good at stopping running plays against them as they allowed only 88.4 yards per game during the season. Players like cornerback Josh Norman (24) have also given the team an ability to frustrate opposing players when they throw the ball, something the Broncos will have to face.

Denver is coached by Gary Kubiak, who is in his first year of coaching the team after being with the Houston Texas in the same role.

The Broncos quarterback is Peyton Manning (18), a veteran player who went to the Super Bowl three times previously. He won as a member of his original team the Indianapolis Colts in 2006 before losing with both the Colts in 2009 and his new team Denver in 2014.

Despite Manning being hurt for six games, the Broncos went 12-4 on the strength of their defense that only allowed 18.5 points per game on average. Manning will turn 40 in March, and it looks to be the last time that he will play in his career, especially if the Broncos win.

The game will be played on Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m. at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. The game will also be televised on CBS.

Fun Fact: Super Bowl 50 is the first time the game will be played in California since the 2002 season, when it was played in San Diego.

The Halftime Show:

Coldplay will be performing during the halftime show, their first performance during the big game ever. They will be joined onstage by Beyonce and Bruno Mars, who each headlined the halftime show in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

Looking at Katy Perry’s show last year, any number of setups can be imagined. More guests may also make an appearance as well, like Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliot did in 2015.

The setlist is yet to be released, but one can assume they will play “Hymn for the Weekend,” their latest single featuring Beyonce’s vocals.

Fun Fact: A 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl cost $5 million dollars.