Wednesday, February 21, 2024

2024 Super Bowl: Basic NFL rules explainer for Taylor Swift fans learning football, rooting for Travis Kelce

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Superstar singer Taylor Swift has been a staple of the 2023 NFL season ever since the start of her relationship with Kansas City Chiefs superstar tight end Travis Kelce. Now a regular at Chiefs games, the Grammy award winner recently took the field after K.C.’s AFC title game to celebrate Kelce’s latest win, and plenty of people expect Swift to attend Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas.

Some of Swift’s notoriously loyal fans, proudly nicknamed Swifties, are surely already well-versed in the NFL. But what if others are new to the sport, eager to learn the basics of the game ahead of this year’s championship showdown?

Here is how to watch Super Bowl LVIII and some pointers just in case:

How to watch the 2024 Super Bowl

  • Date: Sunday, Feb. 11 | Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
  • Location: Allegiant Stadium (Las Vegas)
  • TV: CBS, Nickelodeon
  • Stream: Available via Paramount+ on all platforms, or sign in with your TV provider on CBS.com or CBS Sports apps 
  • Halftime show: Usher

What is the object of the game?

Score the most points. Not unusual, right? In football, each team has 11 players on the field at a time — usually either an offense or a defense, either working to score or prevent the other team from doing so.

How are points scored?

The offense, or the team in possession of the ball, tries to move the ball to the opposite end of the field, which is marked by an end zone. The offense gets four tries (“downs”) to advance 10 yards and earn another four tries (and on and on), or else the other team will take possession of the ball. These are the common methods of scoring points:

  • Touchdown: A play that moves the ball into the end zone and results in six (6) points
  • Extra point: A kick through end-zone goalposts that often occurs after a touchdown and results in one (1) additional point
  • Field goal: A kick that does not occur directly after a touchdown and results in three (3) points

Other ways of scoring include a two-point conversion, which is attempted instead of an extra point and requires the ball to be advanced into the end zone again; and a safety, which results in two (2) points for the defense if they tackle an offensive ball-carrier in their own end zone.

How is the ball moved?

The ball is moved one of two ways: by running or passing. An offense is led by the quarterback, the player who usually handles the ball on every play, and this player is permitted to throw the ball, usually to wide receivers or tight ends (like Travis Kelce). Running backs are usually asked to run with the ball after receiving it from the quarterback.

What are other notable plays to know?

  • If an offense does not earn a new set of four “downs” by advancing 10 yards in its effort to score, it can elect to punt the ball, which means kick it back to the opposing team, who then gets its own chance to advance the ball and score.
  • If a defense tackles the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage, which is where the ball is set and snapped on each play, the tackle is called a “sack,” and pushes that offense back to where the quarterback hits the ground.
  • If a defensive player catches a pass thrown by an offense, that is called an interception. An interception immediately results in the defense taking possession of the ball, which can be advanced in the direction the defense is facing, possibly for a touchdown.
  • Kickoffs occur at the start of the game, at halftime and after every scoring possession. They are meant simply for one team to kick the ball to the other, and begin the possession of the receiving team.

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