A Gal’s Guide to the Gridiron

Raise your hand if you thought this was going to be an article about three things the average American male can’t live without? That’s what I figured. OK, you can put your hands down now.

Well, I’m sorry guys but this is one football piece that isn’t for you. This is for the wife, daughter, girlfriend or mom who has felt left behind every Sunday and Monday (and the occasional Thursday or Saturday) from September through February. To the woman who feels relegated to the kitchen, garden or mall, to give you space to ‘live’ the game. To the lovely lady in the sitting room reading a cheap novel, all the while listening to the hoots and hollers and popping tops of long-necked beers, just hoping to be invited in. Quick tip, guys like sports betting, so why not propose a Pointsbet promo code to your partner and bet on a football match?

If you are a female who secretly desires to enter the man cave, wearing a Brett Favre jersey and plop right down in front of that 52 inch HD screen and start screaming (at the opposing team, not your husband) then have I got some advice for you!

There is a way to integrate yourself into that predominately male populace, known as the NFL Fan, but before you commit to changing your Sundays as you know them, you should ask yourself a question or two:

Do you want to do this to get closer to your man?

If you answered yes, this article isn’t for you. The only ‘closeness’ men and women share while watching football is the high five for a great play or the occasional elbow bump while reaching for the dip. There are plenty of opportunities to get close to him. During an NFL game is definitely not one of them!

Do you want to do this to get back at your man for all the years of neglect during the months of September through February?

Again this article is not for you. You’d be better off accepting his credit card and heading out with like abandoned wives of football fanatics. Perhaps start a well dressed and well fed support group?

Do you want to do this because you feel you’d like to be a part of the lunacy that makes your man cheer or swear or occasionally cry like a baby (especially if he is a Vikings fan)?

Then you’re the gal I wanted to talk to.

I’m going to give you a few basics of the game, a list of things to ‘study’ and a surefire way to get his (and that of his buddies) attention. Follow my advice, tweak it to make it your own and nine out of ten football breathing, eating, living, sleeping, snorting males will invite you in on game day and offer you a front row seat!

First off, football is not a difficult game to understand. Oh there are aspects that prove more challenging, like certain plays and formations, but you don’t have to know what a flea flicker or double reverse or the 4-3 vs. Tampa 2 defense is. You just have to know a couple things to truly enjoy the game.

When your team has the ball, you are on offense.

When the opposing team has the ball, you are on defense.

There are 4 quarters in the game of football. If the score is tied at the end of the 4th quarter (regulation time) then the game goes into a sudden death overtime, meaning whichever team scores first wins.

The goal is to move the ball from your side of the field to the opponent’s side and then score the touchdown (TD) by getting into the opposing teams end zone or kick a field goal.

A football field is broken down by yards. You have 4 tries (called downs) to go 10 yards. A field is 100 yards, 50 on their side, 50 on yours. If you get your ten yards you get a new set of downs. If you don’t you then punt it (another kick, by yet another kicker) to the opposing team.

An offensive touchdown can be scored in two ways: passing or rushing. Passing is when your quarterback (QB) or other players, but for this article we’ll leave them out, throws the ball to a wide receiver (WR), tight end (TE) or running back (RB). Rushing is when your running backs (full back or half back, but don’t worry about knowing which is which right now) runs with the football. After each offensive touch down you are given an opportunity to kick the ball through the uprights (one extra point) or rush/pass it into the end zone (two extra points).

A field goal is when your team can’t quite get into the end zone. They then bring in a kicker to try to boot it through the uprights (the sides of the goal posts).

The defense (which is my favorite part of football) can also score. They can have an interception, which is when the opposing teams QB throws it and they pick it off before it gets to the intended receiver or a forced fumble, which is when a defender hits (called tackling) whoever has the ball and forces the ball to come loose. Both can be advanced to the opposing team’s end zone and result in a score. If they do not score don’t worry, your team will then take over on offense. Defense can also score a safety which is simply tackling (sacking when it’s the QB) the ball handler while he is in his own end zone and it is worth 2 points and you get to have the ball!

You can also score a touch down on special teams which is when the ball is kicked off or punted to you. A kick off happens at the beginning of the game, after each team scores and the beginning of the second half.

Points scored are as follows: TD=6 points, point after kick=1, point after rush/pass=2, field goal=3 and a safety=2.

That should be enough to get you started. There are numerous websites that can give you more info and help you understand the intricacies of the game, but the bottom line is you want to score points and stop the opposing team from doing so. And they make it sound so complicated.

Take some time and research it. While you’re investigating try going to a message board forum of your partner’s favorite team and just reading what folks are saying. They can often be a great source of information (they can also be full of misinformation, so don’t quote anything as gospel). Perhaps some Friday morning you’re reading and see the headline “Joe Blow is out at running back due to a pulled hamstring!” You can then call your spouse and say “Honey, did you hear about Joe Blow? I just read he’s out due to injury. Perhaps you should revamp your Fantasy Football roster quick!”

Remember it is an emotional sport and those of us that live it, take it very seriously. You will see us cry, curse, cheer, jump up and down, fall upon the floor in disbelief and occasionally hurl something (relatively) soft at the big screen. We call the officials (referees or zebras) all kinds of names and often blame them for our woes. We are rarely rational while the game is on. Don’t worry. It’s normal. 90% of NFL fans refuse to be rational. We are ranting, raving, cheering loons. And we like it like that.

Now the final bit of info I’m going to share with you is this: the old saying ‘the best way to a mans heart is through his stomach’ is true. Especially the stomach of a football fan. I think we need extra calories due to the exorbitant amount of energy we burn while watching the sport. So come up with a few quick snacks and none of that celery and ranch dressing stuff. Go with spicy chicken wings, a sausage, cheese and cracker tray and maybe some serious chips and dips. Oh and don’t forget the baked goods. Then tell him “Honey, I’m going to join you guys today and I’m providing all the food!” Make sure you tell him that you won’t interfere, you won’t ask questions and you’ve practiced high-fiving.

Like I said, nine out of ten times you’ll be welcomed in, but if you’re not, don’t sweat it. Take your football fare, go into the other room, close the door and cheer like heck for the opposing team. If you can’t join ’em, beat ’em!