(and anyone else who wants to know basic stuff about this awesome sport)
Lots of women like football, some of us LOVE it, and I think that it would appeal to more women if what’s happening during a football game was more obvious. This sport requires superior skill, strict training and athleticism, especially if a man expects to succeed in the NFL (National Football League), and this is a HUGE business. Those are the reasons that I love football, but…
…even if you’re trying to learn about football to impress someone, or you want to spend more quality time with your husband or significant other who loves football, READ THIS and maybe print it for future reference. I promise not to overwhelm you with random terms; instead I have basically thought about the game itself, the structure of football teams, terms that are commonly used during games, common penalties and the scoring structure. You might be surprised to find that you end up with a genuine interest in this AWESOME sport.
Team Structure: Football teams are basically made up of three groups: an offense, defense, and what is called special teams. The offensive group has the Quarterback, and is responsible for trying to score points by getting the football down the field and into the opposing team’s end zone. The defense is the group that is responsible for keeping that from happening. The special teams group primarily is responsible for kicking field goals and punting the football (at the beginning of each team’s possession.) The guy who holds the ball while the other guy kicks it is, fittingly, called the holder. Each group even has their own Coach, and the person who is responsible for every group is called the Head Coach.
Scoring:The most common ways to score points are the touchdown, field goal, conversion (1 and 2 pts), and safety. When a team scores by running or catching the football in the other team’s end zone, they score 6 points or a touchdown. After the touchdown, the team has the chance to score a conversion, by either kicking a field goal for 1 point (called the extra point, and is most common) or trying to run or throw the football into the end zone for 2 points (called “going for 2”, and mostly done when the second point would win the game or cause the game to go into overtime). A safety occurs when one team tackles the other team in the other team’s own end zone, and results in 2 points.
Some Common Terms Are:
Line of Scrimmage: An imaginary line stretching the width of the field that separates the two teams’ offense and defense prior to the snap of the ball.
Snap: The handoff of the ball that puts the ball into play.
Downs: Each possession for each team is measured in “downs.” The initial possession after the ball is put into play by a “punt” or “kick” is called “first down.” The object of the game is for the offense to try to run or throw the football 10 yards or more before being tackled or run out of bounds, per possession. If the offense fails to go at least 10 yards, the down advances to 2nd down, and the additional number of yards that the first down did not gain are added to the next down. After three attempts (or 3rd down) and no successful new first down, the offense must make a decision to either punt the ball to the opposing team to begin the next possession , try to kick a field goal (if they are close enough to the other team’s goal) or try one more time on a 4th down. The latter is very risky and doesn’t happen as often, because if a first down or touchdown is not scored at a fourth down try, the opposing team gains possession wherever the 4th down ends. That could place the opposing team in a more favorable position on the field to try to get their own score. (Fascinating, right? I KNOW!!)
Red Zone: The area between the 20 yard line and the goal of the defensive team.
Fumble: When a player loses control of the ball while it is in play, and can result in the opposing team taking possession of the ball.
Flag on the play: Football referees use colored flags that are weighted to throw out onto the field to stop the game and assess a penalty. Some of the more common penalties are:
- Offside – players are not lined up correctly right before or as the ball is being put into play; 5 yard penalty.
- False start – any player moving after they have gotten in their set position before the snap in a way that seems like the start of the play (kinda like a false start in track and field) 5 yard penalty
- Delay of game – results in not putting the ball into play before the play clock runs out; 5 yard penalty.
- Holding – illegal use of the hands or arms while blocking; 10 yard penalty.
- Pass Interference (offense) – just like it sounds; 10 yard penalty.
- Pass Interference (defense) – worse than offense because the penalty moves the ball to where it would have been caught.
- Unnecessary Roughness/ Unsportsmanlike Conduct – just like they sound, and both carry a 15 yard penalty.
See what I mean? This is a wonderful sport full of talented players, some of whom have played the game of football since they were able to run. When you blend this knowledge with a team that you feel loyal to (and not because they have cute uniforms), you can have a great time! Add to that some awesome snacks, companionship, tailgating, or better yet…50 yard line tickets…
Okay, I have to end this before I start to hyperventilate!
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