Football 101: The 10 most basic and important Things to Know
Football season is now among us! For some this is an exciting time of cheering, eating, and healthy competition. For others it’s a dreadful time chock-full of confusion and cleaning up after messy beer bellied men. You may find yourself wondering how people can get so excited about physically fit specimens jumping all over each other. Honestly, you either enjoy it or you don’t. There’s not a lot of wiggle room for the sport to grow on you. Regardless how you feel about this crucial time for Americana, you will, undoubtedly, find yourself at a “football” party at least once this season. What kind of partygoer are you? Are you a female football expert hell-bent on shaming all the men in the room? or are you “that girl” at the party? The one who sits by the snacks yelling “home run,” disguising her lack of football knowledge in humor. Or are you spending your time trying to impress the cute guy sitting in the red and gold jersey? No need to disclose your football party status here, I don’t judge. But I will help you learn the most basic and important rules of football that will make you sound like a pro no matter how lost you really are. And of course a few tips to impress the hotties!
There are two common ways to score points: A touchdown or a field goal.
- A touchdown is worth six points and only counts in three occasions. A player catches the ball in the end zone and touches the ground inside with both feet. A player runs into the end zone and gets the ball to cross the end zone line, diving counts too (it’s incredibly exciting to watch that fine ass in slow motion too). Lastly, the player runs the ball into the end zone.
- A field goal kick is worth three points by itself and one when it occurs after a touchdown (“the point after”). The kicker must get the ball between the yellow goal posts. A field goal typically occurs on 4th down when the chance for a touchdown looks bleak, but the offense still wants a few extra points.
- There are seven referees per game.
- When a yellow flag is thrown a “flag on the play” and indicates someone committed a foul. Be aware of the yellow flags they are thrown out pretty often!
- There are so many rules about what players can and can’t do it would take all day to write them. Here’s what you do need to know:
- Players cannot pull on the front of another player’s helmet (face mask).
- Quarterbacks are not to be hit unless they are getting sacked (tackled behind the “line of scrimmage” or where the ball is snapped).
- No one can start tackling each other until the quarterback says hike (offside).
- When the ball is in the air, a defensive player cannot hit an offensive player (pass interference).
- There are four quarters in a football game (each lasts 15 minutes). There is a 12-minute “halftime” time between the 2nd and 3rd quarter.
- Each team has three time outs per half that can only be used when they have the ball on offense.
- When a team is on offense, they have four chances to gain ten yards for a first down. When a team gets a first-down, they repeat the process with four more chances to gain another ten yards for yet another first-down. This goes on until they either run out of chances or score a point. (Yes it really is that simple!)
- How to identify where the team needs to go to get the 10 yards:
- A referee on the sideline will be holding a big stick that indicates where the first down is located.
- A line is drawn on your TV (dummie-proof right?). Anytime the offense sets up to start a play there will be two lines on your TV. The first is the closest one to the quarterback and it is usually the color of the team on offense (i.e. red for 49ers, blue for giants, etc.). This is called the line of scrimmage. The offense must pass this line to gain yards. The second is yellow and it is drawn where the offense needs to be in order to gain the full 10 yards and necessary first-down.
- Kickoff happens at the beginning of the game, beginning of halftime, and after every point is scored.
- For the game clock to stop, a player must have the ball and run out of bounds, a team calls a time out, or the quarterback spikes the ball. If not the clock will continue to run.
Here are four advanced pieces of knowledge you can use to impress any football fan, especially that cutie you’ve been eyeballing.
- A coach can “challenge the play” twice per game. When a coach thinks the referee made a bad call, he will throw a red flag onto the field. The refs will review their call on a monitor and decide if the initial call was correct. Amen for instant replay! This is arguably the best thing that ever happened to football (Please borrow this line, it’ll impress him). If a coach challenges a play and loses, he will lose a time out (remember only three per half).
- A “safety” is when a player on offense has possession of the football and is tackled in his own end zone (the zone behind him that he is running from). A safety is worth two points.
Now that you’re a football expert, you can flaunt your knowledge at any party and in front of any fan with confidence. So cheer and have fun! Enjoy the snacks, company, and ruggedness of professional football. Good luck ladies!
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Veronica is a California born girl who lived in New York City for six years. She recently made the transition to Southern California a year ago and has loved every day since. Veronica loves sports, specifically football and basketball. Yup, she is that girl screaming and yelling with the boys on game day. Her current project is planning a perfect Southern California wedding! She is newly engaged and enjoying the wedding planning process with her wonderful fiancé. To pay the bills Veronica works as a behavior therapist for children with special needs and also provides parent training. In addition, Veronica enjoys writing about a variety of subjects such as sex advice, communication skills, and parenting tips. All in all, she is just a mellow girl loving the many adventures life has to offer!