What? You’re not a football fan? You don’t watch football, you don’t understand the game and you can’t understand why everyone gets so darn excited? After spending time with my Dad learning the game, I've loved football (and the Steelers) since I was 18 years old.
Take a few minutes to read a few basics I've put together for you here and watch the BIG GAME with your friends! Who knows; you might actually like it!
A game is divided into 4 quarters, each 15 minutes of playing time. Playing time and actual time differ. There are particular times that the play clock is stopped, which increases the length of the game. There are small breaks between each play, and the clock only runs during an actual play.
There are two sides to each team; offense and defense. It is apparent which part of the team is on the field, based on who has the ball. The big guys with the ball are the offense. The even bigger guys trying to squash the guy with the ball are the defense. The point of the game is for one’s offense to get the ball up the 100-yard field to the endzone. If your team gets the ball into the endzone, they receive 6 points and get to kick through the goal posts for an extra point, thus getting 7 points for a touchdown. If they decide that they can only get close, but not get the ball over the line, they will usually kick the ball for a field goal only, and receive 3 points. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins. Each team in the league competes for an opportunity to play in the Super Bowl, the BIG GAME!
Each team gets 4 tries to move the ball 10 yards. If they make it 10 yards, they get to try 4 more times. If they don’t make it 10 yards, they have to give the ball back to the other team. So just to make it difficult, they usually punt the ball downfield as far as they can when they give the ball back. Then the two teams switch their players around from offense to defense or defense to offense.
The offense has 3 basic parts; the quarterback, who receives the ball, scrambles to get
rid of it, and usually gets knocked down a great deal; the offensive lineman, who are
the giant men who protect the quarterback, and the ball movers, who receive the ball
from the quarterback and move it down field. The get knocked down even more than the
quarterback. Ball movers are often called receivers, running backs and tight ends.
The most notable difference between these positions is that only the receivers catch a
pass; everyone else usually receives the hand-off from the quarterback, and runs into
the defensive lineman. Tight ends are not what they sound like, and have nothing to do
with the cheerleaders, nor that girl you always see in full makeup at the gym.
The defense’s only goal in life is to stop that ball from moving forward. The defense is
mostly comprised of no-neck monsters, who do all they can to meet this goal. If they can
obtain the ball, and run it the other direction, that is frosting on the cake! If the defense
catches a pass, this is an interception. If they steal the ball off of the ground that is still in play, this is a fumble recovery. But their glory is short lived, because as soon as the play
is over, they have to switch out with the offense again. Similar to every woman behind a
successful man, the offense receives all of the accolades when the defense does the dirty
The only other people allowed on the field during play (not counting the throngs of
people on the sidelines) are the referees. They are the guys in the black-and-white zebra
outfits, and they make sure the game is played fairly. If someone breaks a rule, they
receive a penalty, and their team is usually pushed back a few yards. This will drive the fans crazy, so when you see the zebra throw a yellow flag, run like Hell to the kitchen for
Some Basic Concepts for New Fans Only!
If you want peace in your home, always root for your spouse’s team. Most spouses don’t want you to disagree with them about football so no need to start out as a fan against your best friend. If your team loses, appropriate excuses are, “Those ref’s are blind,” “Our team needs better coaching,” and the ever popular, “Those other guys cheat!”
Most true football fans like questions, but only when there is a break in the action. After you hear the whistle blow, but before they start the next play, ask a quickie, like, “Do you think they will pass or run here?” Your favorite football fans will revel in sharing his knowledge of the game, and his “Couch-Coaching” strategy. I have never met a fan yet who didn’t think they knew better than the real coaches!
You are now prepared to watch the game and ask appropriate questions! Don’t answer the phone, don’t talk about non-football subjects, and grab a beer, because it is time to watch some football. One day soon, you will be richly rewarded with a gift of team apparel, numerous high-fives, and the joy in celebrating with your favorite football fans when “your” team wins!
A veteran of the publishing business both in print and online, mastering sales, marketing, writing, and publishing, this former beauty queen with a gift for gab, is high energy with a high-spirited personality making her a natural for motivating others. In 2011 Tina sold over $2 million in internet advertising and now does business consulting as well as internet publishing. Read more at www.TinaWalker.com.