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Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016

A super Sunday: Everyone's a fan for one game of the year

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Teams meet today
SIKESTON -- As many as 100 million Americans are expected to tune into Super Bowl XLI today.

But not everyone is a diehard football fan. It's estimated two out of five Super Bowl watchers are not even football fans, according to SuperBowlMonday.com.

So if you're one those who isn't a regular NFL viewer, the following tips may help you brush up before the big game.

"If you don't know anything about the actual game, surely you know if the other team scores a touchdown -- and you know how they do it, whether it was a long pass or a long run," said lifelong football fan Jamie Malugen of Sikeston, who played football for Central Missouri State University.

Kickoff between the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts is at 5:25 p.m. today at Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., and will be broadcast on CBS. History will also be made because both team's coaches, Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith, are the Super Bowl's first black head coaches.

The game is played in four 15-minute quarters, and the team with the most points at the end of the fourth quarter is the winner.

Dexter native Arlen Pixley, who has been the head coach at New Madrid County Central High School for the past three years, said the game always starts with a coin toss, and the winner elects to receive the football or defer his choice to the second half.

"If you feel really good and think you can take it down and score right away and put pressure on the other team, you want the ball then," Pixley said. If coaches defer to receive the ball, they might want to see how everything goes in the first half and then they know they'll get the ball in the beginning of the second half, Pixley explained.

Both teams have 11 players on the field at all times. The object of the game is to score points by moving the football into the opposing team's end zone. The ball can be advanced by carrying the ball or by throwing or handing it from one teammate to the other.

Points can be scored in several ways, including carrying the ball over the goal line, throwing the ball to another player past the goal line or kicking it through the goal posts on the opposing side.

Tied games can occur if the score remains tied after the conclusion of an overtime period.

"I could see how it could be really confusing to someone just learning the game," said Pixley, who also played football at the University of Texas at El Paso. "I recommend -- of course not during the Super Bowl, but during the regular season -- to slow down and take one position and watch that one position for a quarter. And then watch another position for a quarter and so on."

Pate Hogan of New Madrid describes himself as a casual NFL fan, watching about one game a week during the 16-week regular season.

"I'm not a gung-ho fan, but I can sit and watch it -- and I do understand it. It's not a big obsession with me," Hogan said.

Hogan plans on watching the Super Bowl with the crowd at Rosie's Bar and Grille in New Madrid. He suggested those less serious about the game should just use common courtesy.

"There should be less talking while play is going on," Hogan said. "If you're gonna watch it and ask a million questions, you should watch it some place where it's being TiVo-ed so you can pause it."

If you have to ask a question, save it until the commercial so everybody can enjoy the game, Hogan said.

"My big pet peeve is if I'm at somebody's house, and people get up in the middle and walk in and out, or they block the TV while you're trying to watch the game," Hogan said.

And if the game becomes too much to understand, there's always the entertainment. "The commercials are always great during the Super Bowl, and the entertainment -- you never know what to expect," Malugen said.

But for whatever reason you watch the game, the entire season comes down to three to four hours. Unlike other professional sports' championships, there aren't any series with the Super Bowl.

Players get one crack at winning it all, Pixley said.

"It's the finalization of the season," Pixley said. "There's no tomorrow."