Football Glossary for the Clueless


Baffled from the Start
I have never fully understood the rules, the intimacies, the terminology of the game of football. Don’t get me wrong, I adore football and all it stands for: Team spirit, crushing people, tons of cool merchandise, funny commercials and the half-time show. Needless to say, as a girl, I feel obligated and yes, even compelled to blame this lack of sports knowledge on the male species that have littered my path. Dear old dad, my two older brothers, several uncles and eventually a boyfriend or two. I should have been taught as a child,when my brain was eager as a sponge to sop up all the terminology needed to understand the game. It was their manly duty to teach me football, but somehow that ball got dropped.

I am not immune to the sport. In fact, oddly enough I’ve even played football. I could hold that ball with the laces under my fingers and let it fly. It had a pretty good spin on it too! I could run. I could tackle. I could even catch. Surprisingly or not, I never got tackled. Too fast I guess. I played with my brothers and the neighborhood boys. To be honest, when those boys showed up my spot was taken. No girls allowed unless there was no one else to play with. After elementary school, I stopped playing football. That is until my senior year in high school. That autumn a group of us were hearing freedoms distant ring and we needed to run with the ball. It was a great opportunity to flirt and exercise.
Ah, youth.

Decades later my husband is a football addict
And I’m not. Oh, I like football. We have history. I love the excitement, the cheerleaders, the idea of hot dogs and beer while freezing my butt off. But, sadly I still don’t “get it.” The rules, the terms. Until today. Today I watched, listened and asked. It wasn’t easy, but I sat through (practically) an entire game!
The list below is what I’ve gleaned from watching the Eagles and the Green Bay Packers. Naturally it is only a portion of what needs to be learned. Read and learn or read ’em and weep?

• Shut out.. He has been shut out because he has not caught a ball yet, and so he essentially has a zero. (sounds so harsh, doesn’t it?)

• Rushed. When you run with the ball. How many yards you’ve run. Example: Maclyn has rushed 28.

• Blitz: When you send extra people in or assign extra players to rush the quarterback. They need to get in there quick as their normal posts are not being covered.

• 4Th down. OK, well something about getting a first down, get 10 yards…

Here it is in a nutshell: each team has the opportunity to possess the ball. When a team gets the ball and gets tackled (say), from that point they measure 10 yards. Now, they play again and if they drop it again, say 4 feet away, they would then be 1st down and four. So, they play again. Then it gets rough and they get down again in 3 feet, this is now called a 2ND down and 7. Etc., etc. (time to go water some plants).

• These announcers talk about “Downs” all the time. Gash.

• Touch downs are not as common, but if they were, the game wouldn’t be so complicated. Taking into account that the quarterback catches the ball and runs the field. They are worth 6 points. An extra point can be earned by kicking the ball and getting a field goal.

• Sacked. When you tackle the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage. He’s got the ball and you need to knock him down before he gets a down.

• Scrimmage: the line where there starting to play at.

• Kicking over and in between the big pole at the end of the field is called a field goal and is usually worth three points. This is usually done in the 4Th down when all hopes of a touchdown are gone. It is better to try to get the three points than to get none.

• Time Out: Taken to stop the clock to give them more time to run the clock out and get the ball back. Not what I thought at all. Don’t even ask…

Considering all that techno-jargon, I still enjoy football. It’s a no-brainer really. Food, friends, sports… have you even tried my South of the Border Ole’ recipe? It can stick to walls. Go team!