If you’re a regular VH1 reader you’re probably a pop culture expert. That means that for most of the year, you know all about whatever is coming out of your television. In the fall, however, you might feel lost when you have to share your flat screen time with bae. Starting today, football takes over the weekend, and even if you don’t know a touchback from a running back, you might have to talk about America’s real pastime. Someone you love might also love the Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, or (God forbid) the Cleveland Browns, and that means you might have to at least pretend to like them. Last year, we gave you a crash course in football, this year, we want to give you the tools you need to talk about the big stories, electric players, and true contenders in the NFL. Listen to us and you won’t just look the part sipping that Budweiser can and eating wings on the couch, you’ll be able to play the part. Let’s get into it.
Big Story Lines
The NFL can come with just as much drama as reality TV. In many ways, the NFL is just TMZ for those with fragile masculinity. Here are the story lines everyone at the bar is going to be talking about to start the season.
It bears mentioning that Kaepernick hasn’t played well lately, so if someone says that he’s terrible, they aren’t necessarily a low-key racist.
Every year, some great players (and a lot of bad ones) hang up their cleats and move onto the announcers’ booth, a used car dealership, or a crippling addiction to painkillers. Here are the guys you should not have questions about their whereabouts on the field this season.
Peyton Manning (Denver Broncos): The guy from the Papa John and State Farm commercials hung up his cleats, so you will only see him during commercial breaks.
Marshawn Lynch (Seattle Seahawks): The guy who hates talking to the press isn’t going beast mode this season. Focus all your commentary on Ciara’s husband (Russell Wilson) when the ’Hawks are playing.
Players to Watch
As some players walk off into the sunset, others take the spotlight and that sweet misleading Gatorade endorsement money. Here are some exciting players to look out for and why their name might sound familiar thanks to their off-the-field antics.
Antonio Brown (Steelers): Should have gone further on Dancing With the Stars IMO. On the field, he is the best pass catcher in the league.
Odell Beckham (New York Giants): Hanging out with a Kardashian; not speaking to Lena Dunham. OBJ has been all up in our Twitter timeline this summer. For real football fans he’s known for mixing it up with cornerback Josh Norman on and off the field. It’s the NFL equivalent of Kim Kardashian vs. Taylor Swift. Choose your side wisely and hold on to all your receipts.
Cam Newton (Panthers): Dabbed on ’em was last year, so keep your dabbing to a minimum. Some will argue (you could too if you really want to get people worked up)he’s the best QB in the game who isn’t dating Olivia Munn. Try it. You might earn some cool points from your bae for standing your ground in an argument.
Aaron Rodgers: His brothers is on The Bachelorette. His girl is in X-Men. He is probably the best quarterback alive. He is rightfully annoyed that his brother is on The Bachelorette.
Super Bowl Favorites
Carolina Panthers: “Last year’s champs don’t have Peyton Manning to worry about anymore, and Cam Newton is only getting better.”
Arizona Cardinals: “Palmer’s not getting any younger, but they have one of the most complete rosters in the league.”
Seattle Seahawks: “Carroll has built a roster that can compete every year, even if they lose key pieces. And Russell Wilson isn’t going to lose you the game.”
Green Bay Packers: “As long as Aaron Rodgers is throwing the ball, they are in the mix.”
New England Patriots: “Someday Brady and Belichick will run out of magic, but it hasn’t happened yet.”
Pittsburgh Steelers: “If their players can put down the bongs long enough to move the football, they could win it all.”
Now get out there and look like you know what you’re talking about. Most football fans couldn’t identify good offensive line play if their party sub depended on it, so just talk confidently, complain about the coach constantly, and you’ll fit right in.