I am about to utter words that I never thought would leave my mouth or be tapped by my fingers. Words that when put together once invoked nausea. Words that my husband probably prayed for BEFORE his own health. The words: I LOVE FOOTBALL. That’s it, everyone, hell has officially frozen over. Global warming will soon come to a close.
If you had asked me a year and half ago what offsides meant, I might have told you a player fell off his rocker. If you had asked me what the numbers a quarterback chants before a play meant, I may have said the week’s winning lottery numbers or the numbers the Oceanic survivors had to punch in to keep the island from blowing up. 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42, hike!
That was until I realized that I could have a crush on a coach or a quarterback; the game suddenly got interesting. My husband knows about what sparked my fair weather love for my hometown, NFL team and he doesn’t care. Of course he doesn’t care, as long as it means I’m watching football.
Our hometown team was abysmal for over a decade (you may be able to guess the team, based on this fact alone…maybe between my team and four more). Then the NFL Messiah was offered a coaching job and all bets were back on again. Season pass holders weren’t giving away their tickets anymore. Team attire and paraphernalia were being pulled out of hiding and dusted off.
Why did I have such a crush? Because this coach had the power to bring a football team back from the dead, to make them believe again and to make them remember that they’re a team, not just a group of paid players. I pictured great words being spoken, during his locker room pump-me-ups. I could tell he was a part of their team and not just a dictator. He became my Coach Taylor, for you Friday Night Lights fans.
I used to “try” to watch football with my husband. He would explain the rules, as the game went on. It would go in one ear and out the other. I could probably tell you the outcome of every Friends episode, but remembering the rules to something I just didn’t love, seemed pointless to me. As much as I wanted to grasp it, my mind kept throwing it into the mental trash bin, labeled “boring” or “lame”.
Soon, what started out as a football-girl crush, turned into a real love for the game. Instead of my husband pausing the DVR to explain a play or a call, I was pausing it to understand them myself. My mind was stashing the information into the useful repository. Instead of my husband not recording the game, feeling like we’d be over-scheduled and he’d never get to watch it, I was recording it and plopping my butt on the recliner, trying to decide where to order the pizza from.
So many significant others haven’t caught the football fever, YET. They either spend three hours a week doing something else or roll their eyes on the couch and pray for the torturous game to come to a close. Well, I’ve come up with some basic rules and an NFL cheat sheet to, hopefully, convert the non-believers. If it still doesn’t convert you, make your significant other believe it does. Remember, you’re spending time together or you may win some free massages, extra daddy-sitting time or maybe even a few flowers. It’s a shut out, any way you look at it.
BASIC FOOTBALL WATCHING RULES:
Rule #1: Find a team that has a player or coach you think is attractive. Not just cute, but a total knockout. If your boyfriend or husband loves a particular team, search the online roster. There has to be AT LEAST one. If you can’t find one, look for the one with the cutest butt. They have helmets on. Most often, you don’t see their faces.
Rule #2: Have fun with it. Look up cocktail recipes that might have your team’s colors in them. If you don’t drink alcohol, make them a virgin or a smoothie. Buy snacks that match the away or home game uniforms or the theme of the team name.
Rule #3: Buy an item of clothing that’s either team official or has the team’s colors. Something you think is absolutely adorable. If you don’t care about cute, buy some team pajamas. That’s how I like to roll.
Rule #4: Go ahead and clog your arteries, one day a week for five months. Eat grilled meats and cheese-filled pizza. Get back in the gym, the next day…or don’t.
Rule #5: Create a drinking game while watching the game. Every time someone says the word “ball”, take a drink. Every time a penalty below occurs that has the word “ball” in it, take a drink.
NFL CHEAT SHEET
- REFEREE: The guy in the jailbird outfit that wasn’t good enough to play, so he judges the players.
- OFFENSE (11 players)
- Have the football and try to score points
- Quarterback (QB): I prefer cutie (QT). Always throws the ball after Freeze Frame.
- Center: Hands the football to the QT after Freeze Frame and is the middle ball blocker
- Guards (2): Big, ball blocker
- Tackles (2): Big, ball blocker that likes to jump on the other team’s guys
- Wide Receivers (2 or 4): QT Ball catcher
- Running Backs (1 or 2): Ball grabber that likes to run with it
- Tight Ends (1 or 2): Ball blocker and ball catcher with a tight ass
- DEFENSE (11 players)
- Stop the ball catchers, ball blockers and QT from getting to the end zone
- Linebackers: Ball chaser that tries to jump the QT and touch balls in the air
- Defensive Line (Ends and Tackles): Ball tackler that likes to go head-to-head with the ball blockers
- Cornerbacks and Safeties: Ball snatcher that likes to stop the QT from throwing his ball to the ball catchers.
(There is a lot of “ball” talk here. If the jail bird throws a flag in the air, then a penalty will shift all of the players like a giant caterpillar to the left or the right some yards):
- Block in the Back: A ball chaser, tackler or snatcher can’t touch a ball catcher, ball grabber, ball blocker or the QT that doesn’t have the ball from the back.
- Blocking Below the Waist: A ball chaser, tackler or snatcher can’t touch a ball catcher, ball grabber, ball blocker or the QT around their privates or below.
- Clipping: See Block in the Back. It’s pretty much the same thing. I’ll say ball again, though.
- Delay of Game: All players need to move their butts and get back to ball blocking, throwing, grabbing or catching. No player is allowed to dilly-dally.
- Encroachment: A ball chaser, tackler or snatcher can’t cross the blue line-on-the-TV and touch a ball grabber or ball catcher or even look at the QT, before the QT says, “hike”.
- Face Mask: No player is allowed to touch anyone’s mask, whether they’re grabbing, tackling, blocking, snatching or chasing balls.
- False Start: All players must be in Freeze Frame before the QT says, “hike”. No one is allowed to move.
- Helmet-to-helmet Collision: No helmet banging on purpose.
- Holding: No player can grasp or pull a ball-less player while trying to block the ball or protect a ball catcher or ball grabber.
- Illegal Contact: If the ball catcher gets 5 yards ahead of the blue line-on-the-TV and the QT is still behind that line, the ball snatchers can’t touch the ball catcher.
- Illegal Formation: The ball catchers need to do Freeze Frame to the left and the right perfectly or they’re in trouble.
- Illegal Forward Pass: The QT can’t throw his ball after he’s passed the blue line-on-the-TV.
- Illegal motion: No player is allowed to move forward during Freeze Frame.
- Illegal Participation: The players are required to learn to count to 11 quickly. A team can never have twelve players on the field.
- Illegal Shift: The players need to be in their exact spot on either side of the blue line-on-the-TV during Freeze Frame or the caterpillar shifts the wrong way.
- Illegal Substitution: Both teams must figure out they have 12 players on the field in 3-5 seconds. If a player is leaving or entering the field, they need to hustle.
- Illegal Use of Hands: Illegal use of the hands against a ball catcher, ball blocker or the QT. The jailbirds need to see everyone’s hands at all times.
- Intentional Grounding: The QT throws his ball just to save himself or time.
- Neutral Zone Infraction: During Freeze Frame a ball chaser or tackler can’t scare a ball catcher or ball blocker, so they move.
- Offside: No player can be on the other side of the blue line-on-the-TV, when the QT starts yelling the numbers.
- Pass Interference: A ball snatcher can’t touch a ball catcher before the ball has been thrown or another player has touched the QT’s ball.
- Personal Foul: A ball chaser or tackler can’t hit a ball grabber or jump on a ball catcher already lying down or do anything physically violent to anyone without the ball.
- Roughing the Kicker: A ball chaser or tackler can’t jump on the kicker’s ball, run into the kicker’s ball or kick the kicker in their ball kicking leg.
- Roughing the Passer: A ball chaser or tackler can’t jump on or slug the QT after the QT has already thrown his ball.
- Roughing the Snapper: On a punt or field goal attempt, the middle ball catcher is allowed to regain his balance if he gets wobbly. No one can jump on him, until he’s stable.
- Running into the Kicker: If a ball chaser or tackler doesn’t touch the football, then they aren’t allowed to run into the ball kicker.
- Sideline Infraction: Coaches and team members not part of the Freeze Frame need to stay outside of the white lines.
- Spearing: No player can use his helmet to touch or hit another player, even if they’re touching their ball.
- Tripping: No player is allowed to trip another player.
- Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Players aren’t allowed to yell at each other. The jailbirds decide what words are not acceptable.
BASICS OF THE GAME:
- The Kick-off: The place kicker (not worth explaining his role because no one ever knows his name) kicks the football from the 30-yard line. A ball catcher will either catch the football and run with it, trying not have any ball chasers or tacklers jump on him, or catch the ball in the end zone and sit down. He’s not lazy, he just wants his team to start on the 20-yard line. If he runs with it, then wherever the ball chasers or tacklers catch him is where the play starts.
- The Downs: Or, as I like to call them, The Tries. Down makes no damn sense. The team with the football gets four tries to move the ball 10 yards. Each time they fail on a try, they move up a down. If they make it a few yards, then it’s 2nd and 7 (2nd try and 7 more yards to go). If they go 10 yards without using all of their tries, then they get another four tries. They keep doing this until they’re in their own end zone or run out of tries.
- The Play: After the QT says, “hike”, he can pass the football to the ball-grabber-that-likes-to-run-with-it, run with the ball himself or pass the football to a ball catcher. If the ball touches the ground it’s incomplete. If the QT steps back and a ball chaser or tackler jumps on him, then he is officially sacked.
- Touchdown (6 points): Any ball catcher, ball grabber or QT has the ball in the end zone. As long as there’s not a penalty along the way, they win points. They are not allowed to dance too long or they might lose the points.
- Extra Point or Two-Point Conversion (1 or 2 points): The ball kicker kicks the football through the two poles and scores one point. Or, the touchdown team can run or throw the football into the end zone for two points. Teams usually do this in desperation.
- Field Goal (3 points): If the ball catchers, ball grabbers or the QT are too dumb to score a touchdown, the ball kicker can try to kick the ball between the two polls on the 4th try to score 3 points.
- Safety (2 points): This happens when the ball carrier is too slow and the ball chasers or tacklers jump on him in his own end zone.
- Quarter: 15 minutes x 4
- Time between plays: 40 seconds
- Break between 1st and 3rd quarters: 2 minutes
- Half time: 12 minutes
- Timeout: 40 seconds (if network goes to a commercial, 1 minute and 50 seconds) x 12 (3 per team, per half)
- Overtime: 15 minutes
- Overtime Timeout: 40 seconds (if network goes to a commercial, 1 minute and 50 seconds) x 4 (2 per team)
- Average length of game with all included: 3 hours
- Length: 100 yards
- End zone: 10 yards (x2)
- Total yards: 120 yards
- Width: 53 yards
Information was gathered from my husband, by watching football and the following two sites: