4.- ADVANCED VOCABULARY IN CONTEXT:
Zoom asked John
Gallo, a great American football fan, what the game means to him.
John shares his thoughts on the Super Bowl.
The Super Bowl has become a large presence on
the American social scene. What does it mean to me? I have been lucky, as a
friend of mine has hosted a Super Bowl party every year since 1984. Back then
my daughters were 6, 3 and 1 year of age and the Super Bowl was a combination
of watching a football game and feeding or changing a child. I hate to admit
it, but that changed in 1987 when my hometown team the
On a Super Bowl Tour
When It Is Played
The Super Bowl has become a unique American experience.
Played in the depth of winter, it gives people an excuse to go out and have a
party. The amount of food eaten on Super Bowl Sunday is second only to
Thanksgiving. The next Super Bowl, the championship of the professional
American Football league, will be played on
A Little History
How did the Super Bowl come to be such a major
event? Our story starts in the late 1950s when the National Football League
(NFL) was growing in popularity. While baseball continued to be the national
game, football’s popularity grew as a result of increased exposure on
The Origins of the Name
So began what we now know as the Super Bowl. Back in 1967 though, the name of this game was the National Football League – American Football League Championship Game. This name was very cumbersome. One of the founders of the AFL was Lamar Hunt. One day he saw his child playing with a very bouncy ball called a Super Ball. Mr. Hunt came up with the idea to call the new championship game The Super Bowl. As they say, the rest is history.
Watched by Every Third American
Over these past 40 years or so football has
grown tremendously in popularity, and interest in The Super Bowl has grown
accordingly. The 2010 game was viewed by about 106 million Americans, the most
of any television show in history. Since the network can promise advertisers a
very large audience, they can charge a high price and in 2010 the cost was $3
million for 30 seconds of time on The Super Bowl. For the halftime show,
artists such as Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and The Rolling Stones have
performed. About $80 million was wagered in
© Text John Gallo
Football Terms and Rules
Like in every team sport, it needs some time and watching and/or playing to become familiar with the rules of American football. The words below followed by a short description of the game might help those who have not been very familiar with the game yet:
a down - a chance for a team to advance the ball, ending when the ball carrier is tackled or the ball becomes out of play. A team must advance at least ten yards in a series of four downs in order to keep possession
to tackle - stop the forward progress of the ball carrier by forcing them to the ground
to punt the ball - 1. (of an offensive team) turn possession over to the defensive team by punting the ball after failing to make a first down
2. kick the ball after it is dropped from the hands and before it reaches the ground
a touchdown - a six-point score made by carrying or passing the ball into the end zone of the opposing side
(from the New
There are two teams of 11 players each. The game lasts four 15-minute quarters and a 12-minute half-time. If scores are tied, the so called sudden-death overtime of 15 minutes is added.
The teams are entitled to three time-outs.
The aim of the game is to advance the ball towards, and finally to the opposition’s end zone for which a touchdown is scored. The players run until the ball is tackled or throw the ball down the field to a team mate.
The most fundamental part of the game are
downs. The offensive team moves the ball forward and has 4 downs to gain ten
yards. If the team manages to advance at least
The most important in scoring apart from 6-point touchdowns are field goals that earn the team three points. An extra point can be earned by kicking the ball through the uprights after a touchdown. If the team takes the ball again into the end zone, another two points are gained. If the offensive team is tackled with the ball in their own end zone, the defensive team earns two points.
First published in Zoom in on America, Vol. VIII, Issue 77. January 2011.
© American Information Resource Center,