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Monday, July 25, 2011

Back to the Basics: 5 Things You Should Know About NFL Football

A woman talking about football? Yes, we exist. Before you get up on your high horse trying to criticize this post (even if you only do it in your head) I'm not claiming to be an expert on football; however, I think there are basics women, especially women dating men who like football, should know. 

Now that the lockout is pretty much over (I hope the players took the time to review what they are getting out of the deal), its time to take a few moments to refresh our football knowledge. 

I aimed this post at ladies because I refuse to trust a man who doesn't know jack sh*t about football. I know those men exist but when I meet them I don't trust them. I'm an ex-cheerleader and I grew up looking forward to the Friday Night Lights. Judging me? Do whatever helps you feel better. If a man can't enjoy a beer and a good game of football, he's not playing with a full deck of cards. 

Ladies, I realize there are still a few of you who still dont know how to act when football season starts so here are a few tips: 
Do not get upset with him for not paying attention to you. 
Do not try to talk to him during the game unless you're naked or dressed in see thru lace
Do not EVER under any circumstances throw your b!tch fits during the game. 
Do not complain when he cheers or yells at the TV. 
Do not question why he yells at the TV.
Do not walk in front of the TV. Save it all for the halftime show. 
Do not ask him to go on dates on football nights.
If you REALLY love him, you will fix him snacks and tell him its ok to invite his friends over to watch the game. 
If you do not understand the game, Google what you dont know. Do not attempt to hold a conversation or ask 100 questions about why the quarterback took so long to throw the ball or why they hit each other so hard. If you really don't know much, just focus on how sexy the men look in those tights. Yikes! 

Between, ESPN and your man you should take this opportunity to learn about the greatest sport on earth!! Ok not really. Actually, Americans are the only people who are nucking futs about football. But, I digress. If you dont have a man, learn common football terms and tune in to the game long enough to converse comfortably about the game. Sports is always a great way to break the ice. Don't go to the extreme by trying to assert your expertise about sports in sports bars or you will look like a douche. Massengill. 

Since I still encounter females with no basic knowledge of football (baffles me every time), I am going to help you out with a few football basics: 

1. The Schedule: The NFL Schedule usually includes a sixteen-game regular season schedule, spread out over seventeen weeks from NFL Kickoff on the second Thursday in September through the first Sunday in January of the following year. The season culminates in the playing of the Super Bowl. Its still unclear how the lockout might affect this year's schedule, if at all. 

The regular season is slated to begin on Thursday, September 8, 2011 with the New Orleans Saints traveling to Lambeau Field, the home of the Super Bowl XLV champion Green Bay Packers; and end with Super Bowl XLVI, the league's championship game, on February 5, 2012 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

2. The ScoresAll progress in a football game is measured in yards. The offensive team tries to get as much "yardage" as it can to try and move closer to the opponent's end zone. Each time the offense gets the ball, it has four downs, or chances, in which to gain 10 yards. If the offensive team successfully moves the ball 10 or more yards, it earns a first down, and another set of four downs. If the offense fails to gain 10 yards, it loses possession of the ball. The defense tries to prevent the offense not only from scoring, but also from gaining the 10 yards needed for a first down. If the offense reaches fourth down, it usually punts the ball (kicks it away). This forces the other team to begin its drive further down the field.

There are five different ways to score points in football: a touchdown, a field goal, a safety, a two-point conversion, and an extra point. The most valuable scoring play in football is the touchdown, which is worth six points. The field goal is worth 3 points and the safety is worth 2 points. Read more here

3. Timing. Games are divided into four 15-minute quarters, separated by a 12-minute break at halftime. There are also 2-minute breaks at the end of the first and third quarters as teams change ends of the field after every 15 minutes of play. At the end of the first and third quarters, the team with the ball retains possession heading into the following quarter. That is not the case before halftime. The second half starts with a kickoff in the same way as the game began in the first quarter.

Each offensive team has 40 seconds from the end of a given play until they must snap of the ball for the start of the next play, otherwise they will be penalized.

The clock stops at the end of incomplete passing plays, when a player goes out of bounds, or when a penalty is called. The clock starts again when the ball is re-spotted by an official.

If a game is tied at the end of regulation, a 15-minute overtime period will be played. In the NFL, this is sudden death and the first team to score wins. Possession is determined before the period begins by a coin toss.

4. The Teams: There are 32 teams in the NFL. Click here for a full list of the teams. Each team has 3 separate units: the offense (see section below), those players who are on the field when the team has possession of the ball; the defense (see section below), players who line up to stop the other team's offense; and special teams that only come in on kicking situations (punts, field goals, and kickoffs). Only 11 players are on the field from one team at any one time. To see how the players line up, click here. As for choosing a team to support, if you are not a regular fan of football, be prepared to defend your bandwagon ways come time to watch the game. Once you choose a team, Alyssa Milano has teamed up with the NFL to create products for female fans of the NFL. Its available at the NFL Shop. 

5. The Schedule. The NFL Network has a schedule of the Primetime Thursday night match-ups. Check it here

Is anyone else excited that football season is back? 

Da na na. Da na na. <----My version of the sound from the SportsCenter intro. 


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