Football

We have your Super Bowl lines - now can you hit your (hash) marks?

The Super Bowl is the biggest TV spectacle of the year. In fact, last year's Super Bowl was the most-watched program in U.S. TV history.

That means that a large number of people who typically do not watch football games watch the Super Bowl. That, of course, leads to conflict.

On one side are the hard-core football fans who watch every game all season. For them, this is the much-anticipated climax to a five-month journey.

And now for their sport's biggest game, they have to deal with those who do not know the difference between a 4-3 and a 3-4 defense and don't understand why the difference even matters since both add up to seven.

You can probably feel the tension now.

If you are one of those in the second group, we are here to help you. We are going to make it possible for you to impress those football snobs in the room.

We are going to give you six points you can make during the game. (Because a touchdown is worth six points.)

There are a couple of ways you can go about this. The first is to memorize the lines we give you. The second is more of a clip-and-save method. Read over the lines. Get familiar with them. Then clip this out and tuck it someplace where you can take a quick glance at your lines during the big game. Break a leg.

What to say

1. Your line: "It must be tough for Cowboys fans to watch the Packers and Steelers play in the Super Bowl in their stadium."

When to say it: Whenever you feel like you need to say something. Early in the game might be good.

The background on what you said: The Packers are one of the Dallas Cowboys' earliest big rivals. The Pittsburgh Steelers became a big rival during the Cowboys' glory years of the 1970s.

During the 1966 and 1967 seasons, the Packers narrowly defeated the Cowboys in the NFL Championship game to advance to the first two Super Bowl games, although the name "Super Bowl" was not yet used. The second Packers win over the Cowboys came in what is called the "Ice Bowl" and is one of the most famous football games ever played.

The Steelers and Cowboys met twice in the Super Bowl during the 1970s, with Pittsburgh winning both games. The Cowboys did finally defeat Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl 16 years ago. However, the Steelers have been to -- and won -- two Super Bowls since then while the Cowboys have won only two playoff games in that time. Cowboys fans don't like that.

2. Your line: "I bet the 49ers really regret not taking Aaron Rodgers."

When to say it: At any point when Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers -- he wears No. 12 -- leads the Packers to a touchdown.

The background on what you said: The Packers selected Rodgers with the 24th pick in the 2005 NFL Draft. It was surprising that Rodgers was not drafted earlier.

The San Francisco 49ers had the first choice in that year's draft and picked another quarterback, Alex Smith. There is a reason you are watching the Packers instead of the 49ers in the Super Bowl.

3. Your line (delivered in a deep and deliberate voice): "Lombardi. (Dramatic pause.) A certain magic still lingers in the very name."

When to say it: Any time the Super Bowl trophy is shown.

The background on what you said: Vince Lombardi was the Packers' coach in the 1950s and '60s. With five NFL championships won, he is one of the league's legendary coaches. The trophy presented to the Super Bowl winner bears his name: the Lombardi Trophy.

The line you delivered is a well-known line from NFL Films productions. Pull this one off, and you'll turn heads away from the television and toward you.

4. Your line: "What I don't understand about Troy Polamalu's hair is that he once got tackled by his hair and he still wears it that long."

When to say it: When Steelers defensive player Troy Polamalu is shown. He wears No. 43, and you won't miss his hair.

The background on what you said: It is legal for players to be tackled by their hair. Although Polamalu (pronounced Pole-uh-MAH-lu) plays defense, he still has the potential to wind up with the ball on a fumble or an interception and, thus, be subject to a hair tackle.

By the way, Polamalu actually has hair insurance. He is a spokesman for Head & Shoulders shampoo, and he was given a $1 million hair insurance policy by Procter & Gamble. (The hard-core football fans probably do not know that Procter & Gamble makes Head & Shoulders, if you want to turn the tables on them.)

5. Your line: "Don't forget that Ben Roethlisberger has led his team to a Super Bowl come-from-behind win before."

When to say it: If it's late in the game, the Steelers are barely trailing, and they are on offense.

The background on what you said: Roethlisberger (pronounced ROTH-lis-ber-ger, and he wears No. 7) is the Steelers' quarterback and one of football's most famous "clutch" quarterbacks.

One of his great comebacks came in the Super Bowl two years ago, when he led the Steelers to a touchdown in the game's final minute. With Roethlisberger's TD pass, Pittsburgh defeated the Arizona Cardinals 27-23.

6a. Your line: "That's why they call Green Bay 'Titletown USA.'"

When to say it: If the Packers win.

The background on what you said: This is the unofficial nickname of Green Bay, Wis., because the Packers have won 12 NFL championships (including three Super Bowl championships coming into this one). That is more than any other franchise has won.

6b. Your line: That's why they call Pittsburgh "City of Champions."

When to say it: If the Steelers win.

The background on what you said: The Steelers have won more Super Bowls (six) than any other franchise. By qualifying for this year's Super Bowl, Pittsburgh will tie the Cowboys for most Super Bowl appearances (eight). Pittsburgh has won championships in pro baseball, basketball and hockey, too.

David Thomas, 817-390-7697

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