A Girl’s Guide to the NFL

By: Vanessa Forbes

The world of pigskin, beer and brauts is upon us as laughter, joy, injuries, pain, misery and the destruction of everything your significant other holds dear has begun…it’s NFL football season, ladies.  Can you believe what my husband asked me the other day?

“Are you ready to become a football widow?”

My response was “Meh!”

Ladies, if all else fails and you just don’t understand the game, there’re men in tights. But since it’s really not just about men in tights (no seriously, it’s not, BUT that does help here are the basics: to get to first down, the players huddle, then line up along the line of scrimmage.  Ladies, think of your childhood game of “Red Rover.”  The objective is for the Quarterback to find one of his men on the field, throw the ball to that dude, and then have that dude catch it (without dropping it) and run towards the end of the field where their team’s insignia is.  Once the receiver does that, it’s called a touchdown, and you can then get extra points if you’ve got a good twinkle toes dude that can kick a ball straight over that capital H shaped metal poles right there by the team’s insignia.  (He’s called a Kicker, but do you ever look at how they point their toes? I think maybe there’s some Ballet or even Pilates in that hip-swivel) Oh, and I think the kick happens from the 15-yard line, since we’re really supposed to be talking about Football rules.  This run must happen without dropping the pigskin, running outside the lines (like in hopscotch…no feet on the line).  If the ball leaves the hands of the receiver, he runs outside the lines, he’s hit in some weird way, or somebody from the opposing team (picks) takes that ball from him, there is no score.

The scorekeepers are those dudes dressed in black and white who throw little orange flags and yell at everybody including the coaches.  Bear in mind that if you get too uppity with The Men In Black (Referees), you could get a penalty (in the form of yardage taken away), get kicked out of the game, or get fined thousands of dollars.  Basically, ladies, don’t throw tantrums because the Men In Black rule.

So back to Red Rover: there are steps in the process before you can score a touchdown.  The Quarterback must progressively move the ball up the field through the process of downs and yardages.  This starts with The QB trying to get his teammates to the 10-yard line in four successive tries.  If the other team manages to hit Robin Hood (QB) before his band of merry Men in Tights can defend him, that’s called a sack.  Basically, if this happens to your SO’s QB…there is cursing, crying and tears…if his friends are over, there is some major trash talking and grunting (Think Tim Allen urgh, urgh, urgh).  There’s all this back and forth and you expect some White Walker type of carnage because you’re pretty sure a fight is about to break out in your lounge.  There will be lots of beer spilling and swilling and the only time the guys will be quiet is when their mouths are full of brauts.  So, if the team doesn’t get to the 10-yard line in three tries, there’s a punt or something and our twinkle-toed friend that we talked about earlier, yeah him, he does that punt thing.  Then the other team takes the ball in the opposite direction towards their insignia and that big metal H on the other end of the field.

So back to how this game is played.  I think I covered the basics, there’ll be some snaps to get the ball going in the right direction depending on which team has possession.  You can basically tell which team has possession of the ball, because all the dudes in tights from the other team are usually chasing one dude and his team-mates are trying to stop them from catching him.  Those are loosely the rules of how the game is played, and pretty much what you might need to know at this point.  You might score some brownie points with your guy if you order a throwback for his team and wear it in support, even if the team sucks.  That looks pretty sweet when his bros come over.  Make sure you have wine and chocolate cause you’re gonna need it along with some wings to make it through the throes of a game.  The average football game lasts about 3 hours and 12 minutes (NFL.com). If it goes into overtime, the game will continue until a team scores the next point.  To get ready, throw that hair in a ponytail, get out your throwback, stock up on great food, (make sure you have wine to dull the yelling, crying, pleading to the football gods… lots of wine, Aldi has a brand called Winking Owl which runs about $3.00 a bottle, #ijs).

And those, ladies, are some the basics.  BUT…. Girls, there is something new: The Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints becoming the first teams to have male cheerleaders on the sidelines in 2018.  So, men in tights on the sidelines too!


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