It’s bigger than Christmas, Thanksgiving, and the Fourth of July combined: the Super Bowl, an American holiday so traditional that may as well have been written into the Constitution. Stores close early, families and friends settle in on their couches, and stars are born on-screen before all of America. Take it from someone who has cheered on every team, it’s the worst when you don’t know what’s going on while everyone around you knows exactly what’s happening. Don’t worry, we’ve put together 10 ways to fake it until you make it this Super Bowl season. First, just so we all know, remember that Atlanta = Falcons, New England = Patriots, and Patriots = Tom Brady = Deflategate 2015.
1Pick a team.
This may seem like the simplest of tasks, but it is actually the hardest part. I’ve been a Steelers fan, a Seahawks fan, a Panthers fan, and, of course, a NY Giants fan. Since the Super Bowl is between an AFC team (American Football Conference) and an NFC team (National Football Conference), then I would say it shouldn’t take too long to pick. Best suggestion: either root for the team you believe is the underdog or just pick the team with the highest average (in terms of looks, of course). Remember, this is NOT college football!
2Really go hard and root for that team.
This is your time to be a crazy fan! Go on Amazon and use that two-day shipping to buy a jersey or a t-shirt or run to Walmart and buy the team’s colors to paint your face! This is the Super Bowl, you go hard or go home. Make sure that when you arrive to your watch party, everyone in the room knows you’re a true diehard (insert team) fan and that you won’t be swayed.
3Pick a player and only root for him.
This is probably the easiest part of being a true superfan come Sunday night. Some research may be required, but visiting the NFL website and your new favorite team’s roster shouldn’t take you more than five minutes. Pick your player based on looks, where he’s from, his alma mater, and especially if he’s on the starting lineup–no use in rooting for someone who never plays. Remember, it’s always important to know a couple of random stats in case you need to defend “the best player of all time.”
4Know the names of at least two coaches.
This may seem trivial, but very important when you’re watching the game. You’ll want to be able to participate in common football banter, and this involves saying the coaches’ names like they’re your cool uncles. For example, “Oh c’mon Jerry, why didn’t you ask for a time out there?!” or “Classic Mike, always puts him in on the defensive line!” That way, everyone will believe you truly understand the game.
5Know the best players on the opposing team.
If you’re going to be a true superfan, you will want to know who your team’s main competition is. Knowing your opponents just as well as you know your own team helps you engage in bragging and other common football banter. You may also want to know how many times they’ve fumbled the ball or have missed a touchdown in previous games. Always remember that knowing random facts and stats about the opposing players will help you argue your way through Sunday night.
6Understand the point system and basic terminology.
We all know that a touchdown is around 6 points and then somehow the team receives one more point for kicking the ball, resulting in seven points. That being said, know your multiples of 7 and 6 (just in case), and understand terms like “fumble” and “first,” “second,” or “third” “down”. Always recall that “interceptions,” “penalty,” and “wide receivers” exist. If you still don’t understand these terms, just repeat what the commentators say, this will completely increase your credibility.
7Remember to argue
The best part of any Super Bowl is becoming emotionally attached to a team that you have no actual ties to and defending them like they’re your children. Queue the arguing. It’s your job as a superfan to fight about a call the referee has made. Just make sure to keep it verbal and not too personal. Remember, it’s just football.
8Dispute the referee’s calls.
The referee in the Super Bowl is like that older cousin that told on you at Christmas dinner because you had a sip of wine, they’re super annoying and all about “the rules.” Remember, the referee is only right half the time, and that half is whenever the referee is in favor of your team. Otherwise, you should yell things like “C’mon ref!” or “How fair was that?” People in the room will believe you understand how bogus the calls are and commend you on how dedicated you are to the game.
9Be excited during halftime, but not too excited.
Halftime is something every Super Bowl watcher looks forward to. Make sure to enjoy the show, do a little dancing and jamming out, but make sure not to get too excited. You’ll want to say things like, “Okay, let’s get back to football,” or “When does the game come on again?” You want people to think Super Bowl is all about football for you, not about Lady Gaga (although we’re all too excited for this comeback).
10Brag (a LOT) if your team wins.
This is the best part, because you contributed absolutely nothing to the team winning, but you can take all the glory for it anyway. It’s the magic of the Super Bowl! You can rub it in everyone’s face that “you knew it all along” and that you “had faith” from the beginning. Remember to Snapchat when they say “We’re going to Disney World!” because you feel like you’re going too. And if you lose, take it in stride—you weren’t a real fan anyway!