When I first met my husband, I was shocked at how he could spend an entire Sunday sitting on the couch watching hours and hours of football games. Why couldn’t he just watch the sports recaps? Why did he need to watch potentially a half dozen games? Why were the players wearing such tight pants? I was full of questions, and for the first few years of our relationship avoided them and enjoyed spending Sundays out with girlfriends or relaxing.
About 4-5 years ago, I began working at a very male-dominated company where I was the only woman in my Department. Not one to ever be left out, I joined their Fantasy Football league and based my selections on the cuteness of the players (Female Football faux Pas #1). I didn’t understand the game, the logic or know any of the players – never a good combination when playing with die-hard fans and admitting it out loud. Deciding I wanted to stop looking ridiculous when conversing with the guys in my office, I decided to try and learn at least a little about the game so I could talk. Thusly,when my husband asked me for the umpteenth time to go to a Seahawks football game with him and some friends, I decided I could go along and give it a go. Worst case scenario I’d wear a jersey, look cute and get some garlic fries. (Female Football faux pas #2)
Before the singer began to sing the National Anthem, I was hooked. The adrenaline and passion of the fans, the absolute ear-breaking insanity of being at a live game (especially in the stadium in Seattle) and the excitement had won me over. Over the years, I have grown to actually enjoy watching a football game and while I don’t proclaim to be an expert or die-hard by any stretch of the imagination, I can hold my own pretty well. In fact, I have gotten to enjoy it so much that a couple of years ago I had to tell my husband to stop inviting his friends’ wives to Super Bowl parties as they kept talking to me as I tried to watch the game. (Female Football faux pas #3)
So as the entirety of North America falls into SuperBowl football frenzy this weekend, I thought I would help out you non-football fans with some very basic football knowledge you can translate into wowing the men in your life. Or, wowing the men who could be in your life. Apply as appropriate.
First, let’s talk about the game itself. An NFL (National Football League) game is played over a 60 minute time period divided into four quarters. They’re not called periods, or mini-games – they are called quarters. The quarters are 15 minutes long each, and there is a break, half-time, in the middle.
The object of the game of football is for the quarterback (the main guy) to pass the ball to one of his teammates and have them run to the opposite end of the field -avoiding the huge, burly men on the other side trying to physically stop you- with the ball and score a touchdown, which is worth 6 points. Once the team has scored a touchdown, they get the chance to kick the ball through the big fork-shaped pole at the end (the uprights) for one additional point… Or try and run it in again for 2. Are you still with me?
You’ve now got the very, very, very basic rules of football down.
There are so many other rules that even I am not sure I could list them all. You can’t do things like hold a player and prevent him from running by pulling on his facemask, you have to have two feet in the field of play when you catch a ball, the play will stop for a pause when there is two minutes remaining in a quarter… These are the things I’ve found people will be very amenable to telling you about as long as you have a basic level of understanding and interest in the game.
Half-time at the SuperBowl is likely something you are well-versed in, it’s where the field gets taken over by a pop star and massive fireworks displays with corporate America logos flying around like candy. The real football fans likely don’t care much for Bruno Mars (or his fedora, a heavy betting favorite), but they will get all jazzed up to hear the commentators rundown the first half of the game and talk about the second. Keep your excitement about Bruno and his possible fedora to a minimum.
Now this SuperBowl may be played in New York (New Jersey to be exact) but you’ll have to pick a non-you have to decide on a team to support – either the Seattle Seahawks or the Denver Broncos. To help with your decision, I’ve created a table of real football statistics coupled with the gossipy cover stories that could turn it into a juicy episode of the Real Housewives.
|Seattle Seahawks||Denver Broncos|
|Quarterback Realtime Stats||Russell Wilson
NFL Salary: $969,000 in 2014
SuperBowls: 0 (First Appearance)
Marital Status: Married
Endorsements: Nike, Alaska Airlines
Random Fact: Was drafted as a Professional Baseball player
NFL Salary: Boatloads
SuperBowls: 1 (Third Appearance)
Marital Status: Married
Endorsements: Many. He even owns like 2 dozen Papa John’s restaurants.
Random Fact: Holds regular season most passing yards record set this year
|Weirdest Nicknames||Marshawn Lynch is known around the league for his serious demeanour during games. Often referred to as “Beast Mode”, the running back often keeps running with 200 pound + defensive linebackers trying to stop him. Oh, and they throw Skittles at him when he scores!||Denver has a guy named Terrance Knightman who goes by the nickname “Pot Roast”. Apparently because he raised his hand in his sleep on an airplane when a flight attendant was going around offering the pot roast to the diners.|
|Sharing the Love||Seattle’s Derrick Coleman is a rarity in the NFL – an offensive player who is legally deaf. He surprised his young hearing impaired penpal and her sister with tickets to the SuperBowl. A nice guy to boot!||Denver has two residents of New Jersey on their roster, Robert Ayers and Mike Adams, and rather than have their friends and family watch the game like plebeians they rented out an entire Hooters restaurant in Hackensack, NJ for the big game.|
|All Bets ON||Seattle’s very vocal receiver, Richard Sherman, is perhaps best known nationally for his outburst on TV following the last game. Odds are 4/1 that he’ll get a taunting penalty during the big game (Yup, taunting has the same meaning in football as it does on the playground)||Denver’s Knowshon Moreno is known for being a sensitive man… During the national anthem. Odds are 3/2 that he’ll tear up as the Star Spangled Banner plays.|
No matter what you do or say this SuperBowl Sunday, I want you to remember this one fact: This is the male-equivalent of the final rose ceremony on the Bachelor. It’s a big deal, happens once a season and they’ve been waiting all year for it. Let them enjoy it. Oh, and Female Football faux pas #4? Mentioning the Bachelor; Just don’t go there.