No Shame In The Game: A College Girl’s Guide To Finally Understanding Football

The great game of football. It is a common scene in many American living rooms, especially with my boyfriend who is staring intensively at the TV and only moving for the occasional chicken wing, pizza slice, beer, or soda. He banters about what the next play is and some expletives about the referees, all while you listen quietly pretending you know all about a Hail Mary or what the line of scrimmage is. This has happened to me numerous times before watching football more often. Football is confusing to understand so get your fix of sporty jargon out of this guide and impress your arm-chair quarterback with a little knowledge on the basics of America’s favorite sport.

One of the most confusing aspect of the game is trying to figure out what each player’s job is to do. So, the football players all have a specific tasks for their positions that contributes to their team’s success. First, there is the Quarterback position. He throws or hands the ball to another player. Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Tom Brady, Joe Flacco, and Andrew Luck are some examples of notable quarterbacks that you have heard about in the news media. The Quarterback is the one your boyfriend is hoping to score many points on Fantasy Football, so keep a close eye on this fellow.

Next, you have the Running Backs. They typically try to stick close to the quarterback to catch shorthand throws or passes. Running back is similar to the bodyguard or bouncer for the quarterback. A great safety net to back the team up when they need it.

Another position you’ve got to get a grip on is the Wide Receivers. They run further down the field for long catches or passes. They’re fast like sprinters in the Olympics, so don’t blink or you might miss ’em!

Then, there’s the Tight Ends. They are a hybrid position between the Running Back and Wide Receiver. A two-for-one deal that you’re going to want to know about. One of the most famous current tight end is Rob Gronkowski from the New England Patriots. Tight ends are not nice butts to look at, but Rob Gronkowski does have a nice one to look at when he bends over (pro tip: football players wear tighter pants than I do – don’t let your boyfriend catch you drooling over the TV screen).

Next, you have the Defensive players. They prevent the other team from scoring either by preventing the quarterback from throwing the ball or by tackling someone who’s running towards the end zone. The best way to describe the defense is to imagine a group of flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz trying to stop Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion from saving Dorothy from the Wicked Witch. It’s a big job.

One of the  worst things to happen when playing football and the reason your boyfriend is most likely yelling at a player is described as a fumble. It occurs when a player is in possession of the ball, loses it before being tackled or before scoring. When the offense of a team possesses the ball, the ball has to be returned to that team, this is referred to as a possession (the word possession always reminds me of a horror movie, but trust me, it’s a good thing in this case). After scoring a touchdown the players celebrate in the area behind the scoring line (i.e. the end zone). When you catch these guys busting a move, cheer as loud as you can. It is very entertaining after all.

You may probably heard the term “sacking” before and sorry to burst your bubble but there are no potato sacks involved. Sacking occurs the quarterback is incapable of making a pass because the other team is blocking his receivers (nobody is open), he may try to scramble (run with the ball himself). This is a bit of a dangerous play because quarterbacks aren’t equipped with the same amount of padding as other players. If he is tackled behind the line of scrimmage (sacking), the team will lose yards.

A challenge occurs when a coach throws a red flag on the field to indicate he believes a call is unfair, requiring the referees to take 90 seconds to review it. This is that part when your boyfriend is screaming at the referees for doing a horrible decision on a play.  The line of scrimmage where the play will start is the location where the ball was when it went out of play during the last down. When I first heard it, it sounds like the line of scribbles…don’t make the same mistakes I did.

Now, you can use this guide as a cheat to help with understanding why your boyfriend is obsessed with the game and why he is yelling or give advice on a play. This guide helped me with understanding football jargon for my die-hard Patriots Fan boyfriend. Are you ready for some Football? Game on boys.

Featured image via Victoria’s Secret PINK.




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