A Super Bowl cheat sheet for every type of fan

A few years ago, my friends Dirk and Gaffney had just started dating when the Super Bowl came around, and Dirk invited Gaffney to the apartment he shared with another friend of ours, Tim, to watch the big match.

It’s worth noting here that Dirk, an extremely talented graphic designer, was far more familiar with fonts than football, while Gaffney came from the kind of solid lineage that included a mother who showed up for college visits. So when Dirk told Gaffney to come over for the Super Bowl anytime — he’d leave the door open — Gaffney jumped at the chance for what she thought was a serious pregame. She walked into Dirk and Tim’s flat an hour before the game, packing a crate of Bud Light and ready to scold – only to find Dirk and Tim on the couch with the blinds drawn, crying as they watched Steel Magnolias on the couch. Gaffney ran to the bathroom for a quick panic call to a friend. “Help! It’s Super Bowl Sunday and Dirk is on the couch, crying for Julia Roberts! their two boys on Sunday.)

The point, of course, is simple: whether you’ve been prepping for Super Bowl LVI (it’s 56, if you’re not speaking in Roman numerals) all season or you’re barely aware it’s happening, this what you do on Sunday is entirely up to you. Here are three options to pass the time, for everyone from the uninformed voter to the superfan.

Super Bowl, what? For Don’t-Cares or Barely-Cares

Read a book. Watch the new episode of Euphoria. Watch Puppy Bowl XVIII (yes, the 18th annual episode) on Animal Planet. Or, tune in to the game (6:30 p.m. ET, NBC) for the usual laid-back sweep of over-the-top commercials and the halftime show (featuring an assortment of hip-hop stars including Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar , Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Dr. Dre).

superbowl Hmmm: For casual fans

You probably know that the LA Rams will face the Cincinnati Bengals. Make Cincinnati-style chili. (Yeah, that’s one thing.) Create a pool of Super Bowl squares for your family or anyone coming for the game to keep things interesting – keep the stakes low, maybe $1 per square (or just play for glory).

As for that age-old question of who to root for? From gustibus, sure, but this year seems easy: The LA Rams, who have moved three times, haven’t exactly fostered a devoted fan base, while the hapless former Cincinnati Bengals (who never won the Super Bowl and only this year have completed a 31 year streak without winning a single playoff game) are now filled with energy and fan enthusiasm. They also boast a young quarterback — who played high school and college football in Ohio — who seems destined for long-term greatness. And they are the underdogs. Ergo: Come on Bengals.

Super Bowl Wow: for superfans

The Rams, as you probably know, are the four-point favorites and, coincidentally, will be playing at their home stadium. Expect the energy to favor the Bengals, though: Joe Burrow has been unflappable behind center for most of the season and plays with the kind of confidence more suited to a legend than a near-rookie. Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is good, though wide receiver Cooper Kupp is better. Keep an eye out for all of the above. As far as the coaches are concerned, it is an earthquake: never before have the combined ages of the two head coaches been so low. Bengals coach Zac Taylor used to work for Rams coach Sean McVay, so here goes.

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