Updated: Nov 15
By Morgan Cole
Are you watching the big game on Sunday with a guy and have no idea what he’s saying? Are you asking yourself, “What the hell is a down?” or “What do they mean when they say fumble?” I’m here to help you so that the next time you’re watching a football game with a boy, you can understand what he’s saying. And maybe, just maybe, make him fall in love with you by showing him how much you know.
Let’s start with basics.
When on offense (meaning they have the ball and are trying to score), they have four “downs” to advance 10 yards toward their end zone. If they do not advance 10 yards in four downs, the ball will be given to the other team. So, in simpler terms, offensive players get four chances to advance the ball 10 yards. This is why if you hear “first and 10”, it means that they are on their first chance and they have 10 yards to go. From there, if they advance four yards, they would be at second and six–second chance with six yards to go. And, if they advance those six yards, they would be back at first and 10.
The ball starts on the line of scrimmage, which is an imaginary line (if you watch the game on TV they will usually have a line drawn on the screen) that a team cannot cross until the next play has begun. If you’ve seen “The Power of Makeup” trend on YouTube, you could compare this line to the imaginary line separating each side of your face.
Once the play has begun, the quarterback (player who throws the ball) can either pass or hand the ball off to another player such as a running back, tight-end or a wide receiver. The quarterback can also rush the ball himself if his receivers are being blocked by the other team. From there, the player with the ball will run as many yards as he can without getting tackled. The goal is to make it into the end zone (the colorful strip at the end of the field) so they can score a touchdown. If they are close enough to the end zone, they can also kick a field goal.
Ladies, if you hear the phrase “special teams” and think it just means the really good players, you’re unfortunately wrong.
Special teams are composed of players who come into the game for kicking. A field goal is only worth three points though, compared to a touchdown which is worth six points. After a touchdown is scored, the team can kick for an extra point.
Some more football terms you often hear are interceptions and fumbles. These terms basically mean exactly what you think they mean.
An interception is where a pass intended for a player of the same team was caught or intercepted by a player of the opposing team. In more technical terms, a player on defense catches a ball from the quarterback that was intended for someone on their offense.
From there, the team that made the interception gets possession of the ball. A fumble is when an offensive player releases or loses control of the ball. A ball that has been fumbled can be recovered by either team.
Now that you know a few of the key terms, here are a few fun facts about the National Football League (NFL) that you can use to impress a guy on your football knowledge:
1. The 1972 Miami Dolphins are the only team in NFL history to go undefeated.
2. The Arizona Cardinals are actually older than the state of Arizona. The Cardinals were founded in 1898 while the state of Arizona was founded in 1912.
3. The New York Jets have never beaten the Philadelphia Eagles.
4. The Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots are tied for the most Super Bowl wins.
So, ladies, next time you’re watching a football game with a boy, join in on their conversation! Don’t be shy or worried that your opinion is wrong. Enjoy the game and show those boys what you’ve got.
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