Football 101

Posted: September 10, 2015 by Micah in Sports
Tags: , , ,

Hello Internet, and welcome to opening day. No it’s not the opening day of a big movie (cause those don’t happen in September) nor is it the opening of a major cultural event that will in any way benefit you or your kin from a classy sort of standpoint. No, this is the opening day for the NFL and if anything has been established on this website before it’s that we are not in any way a sports site. Sure, we have a sports section on the side there, but it is the rusty, spider-infested, probably haunted attic of this website. Well get your rubber gloves and goggles on my friends: cause we goin’ up!!

Football 101

The basics of the basics:

This is a football. Don't ask us why it's shaped like that, it just is.

This is a football. Don’t ask us why it’s shaped like that, it just is.

The goal of football is to take a ball shaped like a really flat basketball from one end of a field to the other. When you get to the other end (called the End zone) you get to bounce around like a moron, jump into the stands, smash the ball on the ground, and basically just throw yourself the tiniest party, which really is the goal of most of our lives. I feel like if I got to bounce around like a moron every time I finished loading the dishwasher, that would be one well loaded dish washer.

Anyway, when you get to the end of the field (the end zone once again) you get six points. It is then the job of your kicker (aka that one wimpy guy) to kick the ball between the uprights (those two yellow posts that will make you want McDonalds) and get you an extra point (for a total of 7 points.) No one really knows or understands why the extra point exists, it just sort of does. It’s like if every time I finished vacuuming my living room, another smaller person came behind me with a pair of tweezers and picked up a single strand of carpet. It’s not really necessary, but it helps in some small way and it makes that tweezer guy feels like he’s contributing, so why not?

A field, an endzone, and some uprights. This is the Rams endzone though so it's barely been used. Sports joke!!!!

A field, an endzone, and some uprights. This is the Rams endzone though, so it’s barely been used. Sports joke!!!!

The other major way to score in Football is something called a field goal, which is when you can’t get all the way to the end zone but your close enough to where your kicker (the tweezer guy from earlier) can kick it through the uprights and get you three points. This is like if you don’t have time to vacuum your whole living room so you get the tweezer guy to grab a handheld vacuum and get some trouble spots. I have no idea why all these analogies are house cleaning based. They just are.

The slightly more complicated.

Okay so, in football there’s something called “first down” which generally speaking does not happen on first down… okay that was a rough opener. Basically you’ve got four tries (downs) to get 10 yards on the field. When you get those ten yards you get a ‘first down’ basically meaning you get another 4 downs to get 10 yards and get another ‘first down.’ Yeah… the terms are not well chosen. It’s distinctly possible for someone to fail utterly on first down but still get a first down because of some amazing success they achieved on third down. It’s just a poor plan. But the point is that if you don’t get a first down (ten yards) before fourth down (your fourth try) you give the ball back to the other team, which is what you don’t want to do. Got it?? Good.

Various Random Terms and Conditions

In football there is something called the line of scrimmage. The line of scrimmage is where every play starts, the defense and the offense each lining up along their respective sides. When the ball is snapped… not like literally snapped, because that would… well it would ruin the ball I suppose. When the ball is handed from the guy who starts with the ball, to the guy standing behind him is when the actual play begins. If anyone crosses the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped (metaphorically) that’s a penalty. If no one moves after the ball is snapped… well that’s fine I guess but… ya know, probably not the best plan ever.

The line of scrimmage. One of the most unfriendly lines in America behind only the DMV and Starbucks.

The line of scrimmage. One of the most unfriendly lines in America behind only the DMV and Starbucks.

The two main type of plays in football are running plays wherein the quarterback hands the ball to the running back and the running back runs around until someone smashes him to the ground like a sack of pickles (don’t ask.) Or a passing play wherein the quarterback waits for a few seconds while everyone runs around, and then attempts to throw the ball to one of his wide receivers who will hopefully catch it and then run around until someone gives them said pickle-y treatment. If the quarterback misses his receiver and the ball hits the ground, nothing happens and everyone goes home. I mean, back to the line of scrimmage. If the quarterback gets hit before he throws the ball that is called a sack and gives the defenders a chance to pretend they just scored a touchdown and dance around like morons (though to a lesser extent because let’s face it, they basically just did exactly what they’re jobs are. Like at least if you’ve scored a touchdown you’ve gone semi-above and beyond. Tackling the guy on the field who is literally the easiest person to tackle is not really dance worthy, but I suppose as a defender you dance when you can dance and just hope the world dances with you… or something.)

And there you go my fellow nerds. That’s at least enough to get you started, or enable you to fake it through the first quarter of a football game after which point you’ll probably be able to sneak away and re-watch The Empire Strikes Back. Thanks for reading, and happy football!

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