Real Life: Football 101...the bare basics

The Issue
It's fall and maniacs are back!
You’ve tried to avoid it for years, but now you realize that it just may be time for you to learn some football.
The hype, the fanfare are just things you've never understood before, but now it's more than just your man who is into it...your gal pals are booked every weekend for game days!

Welp! Maybe it's time you try to wrap your head around this "pig skin", and I've written the easiest guide to get you on your way.

5 steps to help you fake it, until you make it. 
This is Football 101,
 and who knows...maybe by the Super Bowl you'll be teaching some other ladies the game!

What you’ll learn… are just the bare, bare basics. But it will be enough for you to feel confident to sit beside anybody on Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays and now, Thursdays.
*note: you must know the basics of sports (i.e. sports 101) to follow this guide. You must know the meaning of words like offense, defense, captain, coach, foul, referee, etc.
#1: Know who’s playing.
So you’ve been invited for a “Sunday Funday” at a bar or a buddy’s house. Find out if they are watching *NFL RedZone or a particular game.
NFL RedZone: NFL RedZone is produced by NFL Network. It whips around every NFL game on Sunday afternoons; the time when most of the games for the week are playing.  When a team goes inside the 20-yard line, NFL RedZone tunes in so you can witness the the most exciting parts of the game.
If they plan to watch a particular game, then find out who. You've probably noticed that college football and NFL fans are super maniacs.They dress themselves, their cars, their homes, coffee cups and even their babies in team gear.  (Which makes licensed team gear big business. Our country's top team apparel provider Nike made a net income of around $2 billion in 2012.)
But you don’t have to do that. You’re not a superfan yet. It's just good to know what to expect for the party.

Find out:
  • team names
  • the city team plays in
  • team nicknames
  • and team colors...and there is an easy way to do it just by looking up the team name.
Example: On September 15th, 2013 the Atlanta Falcons play the Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • The cities they play in are in their names: Atlanta vs Pittsburgh. 
  • The Falcons are sometimes called the “dirty birds” and the Steelers are often referred to by their colors: black and gold (with a touch of white). 
  • The Falcons are black, red (silver and white).

*a quick Google search “Falcons colors” and “Steelers nickname” will direct you to the right answers here.

#2: You only need to know one position...
the Quarterback.
He’s the player on the field who throws the ball on most plays.
He calls the plays for the offense. 

#3: Know what offense and defense looks like
This is what people mean by “x’s and o’s”, but an easy way to figure it out is to find the quarterback. All the players on his side of the ball and with the same uniform are on offense at that time. The other guys are on defense.
Offense is the primary way that you can score in football. (It is possible for the defense to score. But that should be explained in another lesson.)

#4: Know who is the “Super Star” on the team.
And that's probably the you see your research is nearly done!
But you can also Google "best player on the [insert team name]" or "[team name] star" and you can easily find the most written about players. If they are talking about the player it is because the player is relevant and the odds are that he is the star of the team.
But, you can always start with...the Quarterback!
Extra tip:Once you find the star player(s), memorize his name and jersey number. You'll turn heads if you know the college the pro-star went to!
Here's some popular QB's in the NFL. Can you name them?

#5: Know the field and how they score the game.
Every football stadium is different: some are open-air, some are covered or domes. But every football field in America is the same size, shape and has the same features.
  • The playing field is 100 yards, divided by 10 yard markers, numbered to meet mid-field at the 50 yard line. 
  • The short stripes on the field indicate 1 yard. 
  • And the end zone extends the field by 10 yards on each side.

To score, a player has to cross the plane of the goal line (the line that connects the field to the end zone).

Scores are in 3, 6, 1 and sometimes 2 point increments.
The easy way to keep track is:
  • a touchdown is 6 points
  • the kick after a touchdown is 1 point (which is why most of the time you’ll see score in 7 point increments)
  • just a kick through the goalpost (without a touchdown) is scored as 3 points.
  • and sometimes teams will “go for two”, a two-point conversion, after a touchdown. The team that just scored  will try to score again from the opponent's goal line. 
You should also know that there are four (15 minute) quarters, the first two quarters are the first half and then there is half-time which is usually 12 minutes (but for special games like the Super Bowl, it will be longer). The last two quarters are the second half.

Bonus: By the way the other guys on the field dressed in black and white are the referees and umpires. Football has both.
On the sidelines, there’s other teammates, cheerleaders, coaches and team staff. There is also media: photographers and reporters. And sometimes, the team owners and celebrities come down for the best view in the stadium.

So here are the basic fundamentals...a good stepping stone for you to master and then build upon. When you are ready for more, Football 102, then you should learn how to read defenses, football jargon, coaches names, team histories, and penalty signs from the refs...and so much more!

Or you can just keep it simple with my guide!

Here's a clip of Football 101 on Charlotte Today.

Now, I want your help.
How did I do? Please comment below and on our Facebook page as to how this guide helped you!


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