It's the final countdowwwwwwn. Super Bowl 50 is here. The Denver Broncos vs. the Carolina Panthers. Hike.
NO ROMAN NUMERALS?
Nope. The NFL ditched them this time around to "further elevate and celebrate the historic 50th Super Bowl." Translation: roman numerals are hard.
WHEN AND WHERE?
Sunday at 6pm ET at the Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. Watch it on CBS or on CBS's live stream if you don't feel like surrounding yourself with people wearing face paint.
HATE FOOTBALL. IGNORE.
You do you. But...last year a record 114.5 million people tuned in. That's more than a third of the US population. And this year is supposed to be even bigger. Panthers QB Cam Newton is the League's shiny new zebra-pants-wearing superstar. Even though, again, he's a panther. Don't confuse your stripes. Broncos QB Peyton Manning is one of the most iconic players ever -- and this could be his "last rodeo."
HOW DO I PRE-GAME?
On all fours. The 3rd Annual Kitten Bowl is on the Hallmark Channel at 12pm ET. And the 12th Annual Puppy Bowl is on Animal Planet at 3pm ET. Nerd alert: you can now watch teams Ruff vs. Fluff in virtual reality.
I'VE BEEN HEARING THE WORD 'DABBING' A LOT?
That would be Cam Newton's favorite touchdown dance. Thanks to his near-perfect record this season, he's had a lot of opportunities to refine it. Highly annoying or highly entertaining, depending on which side of the field you're on. Cam says 'sorry I'm not sorry.'
AND THE LETTERS 'HGH'?
That would be "human growth hormone." Aka how to cheat at body building. Late last year, Al Jazeera published a report claiming that Peyton Manning's wife had HGH sent to their home in 2011 -- a huge no-no in the NFL. According to Manning, this is "complete garbage." Al Jazeera's main source later retracted everything he said. Still, the NFL is going to do a full investigation into the situation...which won't be finished until after the Super Bowl. You won't find this in the Book of Manning.
IS IT HALFTIME YET?
Breakout the tissues: Coldplay is coming. Beyonce will show up at some point to save you from all your feels. And remind you who run the (Super Bowl halftime) world.
SKIP TO THE PART ABOUT THE ADS.
Welcome to Ad Bowl, where $5 million buys you 30-seconds. Yes, that's the most expensive it's ever been. Spoiler alert...Christopher Walken is in a "Walken Closet" for Kia. Helen Mirren thinks drunk drivers are 'oxygen-wasting, human forms of pollution.' Amazon's starting Alec Baldwin. T-Mobile's creative team is apparently still watching the "Hotline Bling" video. At some point, Budweiser will trot out a Clydesdale to make you cry. Don't fight it.
WHAT'S THE SPREAD?
Not talking about your BF's 'famous' seven-layer dip. Spread: the expected difference between the teams' final scores. Vegas thinks the Panthers have it by less than a touchdown.
WHAT NAMES DO I NEED TO KNOW?
Peyton Manning...QB. Aka "The Sheriff." He's got one Super Bowl ring and he'd very much like another. PS: he's 39 (getting up there by NFL standards), and has had so many injuries that it now takes him 15 minutes to take off his uniform at the end of a game -- which is partly why many think he'll sign off after this season.
Demaryius Thomas...wide receiver. His mother did time for drug-related offenses for years. She recently got out of prison and saw him play for the first time...in one of the games that took him to the Super Bowl. Misty eyes, full hearts, can't lose.
DeMarcus Ware...linebacker. He's the other 'old man' on the team besides Manning. He's 33. So he's stocking up on dental gum and orthotics.
Cam Newton...QB 1. The one who's favored to pick up the NFL's MVP title, and who's only lost one game all season. He's been forced to play a lot of off-the-field defense from people who say his touchdown celebrations (think: dabbing, dancing, impersonating Superman, and handing out balls to kids) are over-the-top obnoxious. Cam says 'if you don't like it, don't let me into the end zone.' Fair ball.
Greg Olsen...tight end. One of the top TEs in the league and Cam Newton's #1 man. MK&A vibes.
Josh Norman...cornerback. Probably the best in the league right now. Just don't ask Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. about it.
The only time these teams faced off was years ago. The Broncos came out on top, but that was before Cam Newton hit his stride. You've heard that "defense wins championships." So this game -- with two of the top defenses in the NFL -- could get really good.