LONDON -- British newspapers and television presented a guide to 'Football American-style' Saturday, trying to explain 'downs,' 'field goals' and 'end zones' to an audience that will see its first live Super Bowl in history.
The last-minute crash course was -- of necessity -- ultra simplified.
In a country where football is played with a round ball, the playing field is called a pitch, and fans watch games from 'terraces' instead of stands, 'Superbowl Made Simple' had to be just that.
'Pitched battle with a Star Wars touch' headlined the London Daily Mail.
The game 'is played by huge men clad in Star Wars-type equipment intent on off-ball mayhem,' the Mail said in a dispatch from New York.
'Try equating Super Bowl to Britain's FA Cup Final (soccer championships), double it, and you'll realize the degree of national suspense and obsession,' the Mail said. 'From the moment that oval ball is toe-punted for the first time ... America stops dead, having thought and argued about little else, this week.'
Britain's newest television station, Channel 4, paid NBC 100,000 pounds ($160,000) for rights to air the game and tried to explain it all to potential viewers.
'It's basically a game of territory,' said Nicky Horne, a Briton who has been trying to explain American football to his countrymen since Channel 4 began broadcasting film highlights of one game a week late last year.
'The idea is to get the ball into the opposing team's end area,' he said, describing 'downs' as 'several goes to moving the ball.'
'A field goal is kicking the ball as far down the field as possible, hopefully through the uprights.
What makes Americans so crazy about football?
'It's a complete entertainment,' Horne said. 'Complete families will go to a game -- mum, dad, granny, uncles, aunts -- perhaps have a barbecue prior to the game in the car park, or as they say in America, 'parking lot.' Then they go and watch the game.'
'The loyalty of the fans is quite remarkable,' he added. 'There's never any trouble on the terraces (in the stands) and of course you have the razzamatazz of the cheerleaders.'