It’s a dilemma for many Americans each year: “I’m not a football fan, but it seems like literally every person I know is going to a Super Bowl party. I don’t really care about the game either way, but that’s not a good reason to just sit at home alone all day. But if I go I’ll have no idea what’s going on the whole time, and just stuff myself with seven-layer dip so no one asks me if I think the defense should have used a dime or a nickel. I don’t know! Are they going to the local five and dime? Why don’t they use a credit card like the rest of us? Just let me watch the commercials in peace!”

In the interest of helping these fledgling fans face the formidable fear of following the flurry of football that will forthwith be flowing from flat screens to friends’ eyes, we at the Campus Times thought it would be helpful to provide a guide to watching Super Bowl LII that everyone can understand — by comparing it to Harry Potter.

Tonight’s matchup features the Philadelphia Eagles, an underdog team that has never won a Super Bowl, against the New England Patriots — the universally-accepted Evil Empire of the National Football League. The number of parallels between these teams and the protagonists and antagonists of the Harry Potter franchise is surprising. Here’s what you need to know:

The Main Matchups

As in the Battle of Hogwarts, there are two main storylines to follow in today’s game. They are Tom Brady’s offense against the Eagles defense and Nick Foles’ offense against the Patriots defense.

Tom Brady is the Patriots’ quarterback, and at an almost-unheard-of 40 years old he has been playing in and dominating the NFL for longer than seems plausible. Any rational person, if asked in 2001 (Brady’s first season as starting QB) whether Tom Brady would still be relevant in 2018, would obviously say no. And yet, like Lord Voldemort, Tom Brady keeps coming back year after year after year after year, no matter how implausible it seems or how many times you try to get rid of him. Like Voldemort cheated death with his horcruxes, so have Tom Brady and the Patriots been known to cheat as well, most famously in the “Deflategate” AFC championship several years ago.

The Harry Potter to Brady’s Voldemort is the Eagles defense. Just as Harry’s final face-off against Voldemort came 16 years after their first meeting, the Eagles defense faced off against Tom Brady in the Super Bowl in 2004, and now have the chance to deal him a potentially career-ending loss 14 years later. In this scenario, every time Brady gets sacked (tackled before he throws the ball) you can imagine the defender saying, “Come on, Tom, let’s finish this the way we started it — together!” as he throws him to the ground.

The other main fight going on is the effort to take out Voldemort’s last horcrux. As long as that horcrux lives, Voldemort cannot be defeated. The Battle of Hogwarts could not have been won without the brave efforts of the quintessential underdog, Neville Longbottom, against Nagini, and Super Bowl LII features just such a matchup as well.

In tonight’s game, you need look no farther than Eagles quarterback Nick Foles for your Neville Longbottom. The Eagles’ star quarterback, Carson Wentz, is out for the season with a torn ACL, so Foles has been the Eagles quarterback for the last several games of the regular season and all of the playoffs. Like Neville, Nick Foles was counted out at first — many people didn’t believe in him. But he’s persistent and downright lovable, and in time he’s come into his own. Nick Foles was no one’s first choice to be facing down the Dark Lord, but he’s done a damn good job of holding down the fort and may just pull off the impossible in the final battle. Star running back Jay Ajayi is Foles’ Sword of Gryffindor, slicing through defensive lines as Neville sliced through Nagini to finally make Voldemort mortal again.

The Players

Of course there are other people involved than just Voldemort and Harry, so here are some names you may hear throughout the game and who you can think of them as:

  1. Bill Belichick — the Patriots general manager and head coach, he and Brady have been a pernicious pair for well over a decade. Many have described him as under Tom Brady’s thumb. This, along with the almost identical name, makes him a good Bellatrix.
  2. Alshon Jeffrey, Zach Ertz, and Nelson Agholor — the Eagles have a number of good receivers that have helped Nick Foles out as he took over from Carson Wentz. You can think of them as Aberforth Dumbledore, Ginny Weasley, and Luna Lovegood helping Neville restart Dumbledore’s Army after Harry left Hogwarts.
  3. LeGarrette Blount — This running back can be thought of as Snape, because you would think he’s evil when I tell you that he was on last year’s Super Bowl-winning Patriots team, but this year he’s on the side of the good guys (the Eagles).
  4. Rob Gronkowski — the Patriots’ star tight end can be thought of as Goyle, because all you need to know about him is that he’s big, dumb, and on the bad guys’ team.

Some other things you can do to make the game more fun to watch

  1. Pretend the score represents the competition for the House Cup. So, for example, when the Eagles score a touchdown you get to yell, “Six points to Gryffindor!”
  2. Whenever an offensive penalty is called, imagine it’s like the time the hexed bludger was following Harry in “The Chamber of Secrets.” This gives you license to bring out your best Hagrid impression and yell, “Blimey, Harry’s got a rogue bludger!”
  3. Whenever a defensive penalty is called, react as if it were the time Quirrell tried to get Harry to fall off of his broom in “The Sorcerer’s Stone.” The only appropriate reaction, of course, is to sneak to the other side of the room and light someone’s cloak on fire.
  4. If anyone is down with an injury and the trainers have to come out to help him, pretend that the trainer is Gilderoy Lockhart and he’s accidentally removing the player’s bones. If the player grimaces or shows his discomfort, feel free to weigh in with, “Well what do you expect, pumpkin juice?”

A Final Reminder

Most importantly, NFL neophytes, remember to stay strong in the face of Patriots fans. They will try to sway you with arguments about how the Patriots are “likely to win,” or that Tom Brady, “is the greatest quarterback to ever live.” These may or may not be true, but just think — Voldemort was the most powerful dark wizard to ever live, but does that mean you were supposed to root for him in the final battle?

Tagged: NFL Super Bowl

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