If you are not a football fan already, we hope that Khloe’s five reasons to give football a chance have persuaded you to not only tune in to tonight’s NFL kick-off performance by Mariah Carey and No Doubt (It’s a 90s reunion; isn’t that enough of a reason to watch?), but to the highly anticipated first game of the season, the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants versus division rivals, the Dallas Cowboys, at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. I will not only be at the game, but will likely go to work on Thursday with a sore throat, no voice, and possibly nursing a hangover. I will also share my bias from the get-go and say that I am a lifelong Giants fan, and believe that in the bible, when God created the world, he (or she) took Sunday off to watch the Giants.
I know many women might not be as addicted to football as I am, but I hope to be able to shed some light on this wonderful sport, so that you too can understand what you are watching, and enjoy what will likely be an exciting season. Keep in mind that football is a 60-minute game with many clock stoppages and intermissions, making each game last roughly three hours. In fact, watching a game is similar to watching the Titanic, so start searching for your Leo! Here are the basics to get you ready for tonight’s game:
- 100 Yards A football field is 100 yards long with endzones on either side.
Endzone These are the “goals” of each team. The offense is trying to get the ball into the endzone to score.
Goal posts These are centered in the endzone and look like a big yellow “Y”.
Sidelines The sidelines are the boundaries. If you cross the sideline (this is called stepping out of bounds), the play ends and the player cannot continue to advance the football toward the endzone. The sidelines are also where the cheerleaders (god bless them) stand, away from all the barbarians.
How to Play:
The Goal = Touchdown! A game of football, like most sports, is won by the team that scores the most points. The main way to score is through a touchdown. A touchdown is when a player with the ball makes his way into the endzone.
Four Downs The offense has four “downs” (four chances) to advance the ball ten or more yards toward the endzone. If the ten yards are obtained, they get four new chances to move ahead another ten or more yards. The goal is to continue this until they get a touchdown.
Advancing the Ball The quarterback (look for good-looking players such as Eli Manning, Tim Tebow, Tony Romo, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers, or Mark Sanchez) is the leader of the offense. The QB is basically the Regina George (HINT: Mean Girlsanalogy) of the team; everyone follows his lead. He starts out with the ball during every play, and decides on one of two ways to move the ball toward the endzone:
Passing This is where the quarterback throws the football down the field to one of his teammates that is closer to the endzone. Basically, one Giant (pun intended) game of hot potato.
Running the Ball The quarterback hands the ball to one of his teammates and their job is to run as fast as they can toward the endzone without being tackled.
Ways to Score:
Touchdown Hope you were paying attention to the goal of the game! For men, the primal reaction following a TD is uncanny. We hug complete strangers, high-five each other, and do ridiculously contrived dances. And those are just the fans! The players who score touchdowns also get to celebrate. Look for Victor Cruz doing his salsa moves during tonight’s game. A touchdown is initially worth 6 points, yet there are two options following a touchdown. A team can either kick an extra point or “go for two.”
Field Goal A team can choose to kick a field goal when they are close to the endzone, yet were unsuccessful in their first three attempts to score a touchdown. Field goals are kicked on a team’s fourth down. Usually field goals are attempted within 50 yards, and if the kicker kicks the football through the goal posts (big “Y”), the team earns 3 points.
Each player’s position is in one of three categories: offense, defense or special teams.
Offense A team’s offensive players are on the field when the team is trying to score. The offense includes the quarterback and players that catch the ball (wide receivers and tight ends), and the players that run the ball (running backs).
Defense The defensive players take over when the team is trying to, you guessed it, defend their endzone. Their job is to tackle the offensive players on the other team so that they do not advance the ball.
Special Teams This is the “other” category, made up of players that are very important during specific parts of the game. Kickers are part of special teams as are punters, holders and returners. They’re basically the unsung heroes of the team (the Mathletes, to continue the Mean Girls reference).
So there you have it: football in a nutshell. Feel free to leave any questions or comments, but not on Sundays between the hours of 1:00 – 11:00 PM.