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Super Bowl 2014: A beginner's guide

Everything you need to know as a Super Bowl virgin

Super Bowl XLVIII is here, and if you're worried you won't understand because you haven't seen the previous 47, then help is at hand.

This year's bonanza is taking place in New Jersey, and kicks off at 23:30 GMT.

The Super Bowl is America's biggest sporting event, watched by over 100 million people worldwide.

This is the first Super Bowl to be held outside in one of the USA's colder states - so it's unlikely there will be a repeat of Janet Jackson's flashing antics this time.

Here we present everything you need to know as a first-time Super Bowl watcher...

1. There's a reason American Football is so strongly linked to beer, fatty snacks, and having people around. Those stoppages every few minutes will pass more quickly if you've surrounded by mates, guacamole and bottles of Miller Light.

Why not build a 'Snackadium' to keep you going?

2. Who has the nicest uniform? That's a big question and, as everyone knows, the best way to choose which team to back. The Seahawks' navy blue and silver strips would almost give their jerseys a Patriots-esque regality were it not for the random luminous green. Broncos, meanwhile, sport a Jaffa Cake-ish blue/orange affair, which is probably a bit love-it-or-hate-it.

The two Super Bowl kits


3. But what of other ways to decide on your new favourite team?

Well, Seattle is the home of Nirvana, Starbucks and Frasier, while Denver is the home of..... We don't know what Denver is the home of.

But the Broncos do have the best offense in the NFL this season, scoring more points than any other team. They'll need it though, because Seattle has the best defense.

Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks


4. Oh and another thing: Peyton Manning is kind of a big deal. Though he has his doubters and he has blown the big games before, few would question his place among the NFL's best quarterbacks of the last 20 years. The game will be seen by many - among them The Independent's Rupert Cornwell - as the Broncos quarterback's shot at immortality. Some thought his career was over a few years ago, but the older Manning brother could equal Eli with a second Super Bowl ring (having won his first with the Indianapolis Colts in 2007) and cap a season for the ages.

Peyton Manning will have a chance to add to his single Super Bowl ring when his Denver Broncos side meet the Seattle Seahawks


5. It's harder than you think not to enjoy the half-time show. Sure it's probably appalling for the playing surface, and the 45 minute half-time plays havoc with the players' physical routines, but the annual chance for some superstar or another to run through his/her greatest hits is one of the defining facets of the SuperBowl. Last year's Beyonce show was great fun, and Bruno Mars is unlikely to disappoint.

104 million people tuned in to see Beyonce reunite with Destiny's Child for an explosive performance last year


6. At the end some guy will call the winning team "world champions."

I know. It's weird. It's a sport with the country's name in it. They're playing in the NATIONAL Football League. But for some reason it's presumed that they're world champions. They still can’t really do proper football though, so let’s just the Americans have that.

Ray Lewis #52 of the Baltimore Ravens holds up the Vince Lombardi Trophy