Rules to Follow If You Don’t Understand Football

Second only to girls’ lacrosse, football has the most difficult to understand, seemingly arbitrary rules. It often seems the whistle gets blown for the most minor infractions and doesn’t get blown when men are pummeling other men to the ground. You may not know this, but football watching also has rules, and if you are going to watch the Super Bowl, you may want to follow them.

1. Know who is playing and what color they are wearing. You can learn this by googling, “Who is playing in Super Bowl 2014?”

2. Use this easy to learn information when referring to what you see on the TV. The only people who will be excused for calling them the red team and the blue team are little girls under the age of four and supermodels.

3. Do not walk in front of the TV unless there is a commercial on. Actually, it’s the Super Bowl. Don’t walk in front of the TV, period. Crawl if you have to.

4. Do not say, “Can I have the remote for a sec? I want to see what’s on Bravo.”

5. Don’t say, “Why wouldn’t he just throw the ball?”

6. And, don’t say, “Football is so boring. You can’t even see the players’ faces. How do I know who I want to root for?”

7. Even if you slaved over a hot stove, dinner will have to wait until halftime, or if your guests are huge Bruno Mars fans, until after the game.

8. Some facts and terminology: When the quarterback throws, it’s called a PASS. If the quarterback hands the ball to another player, they are RUNNING the ball. A touchdown is scored in the ENDZONE (6 points). An extra point is when the kicker kicks the ball through the goal posts after a touchdown. A field goal is when the kicker kicks the ball through the uprights of the goal posts. (3 points). A SACK is when the quarterback is tackled behind the line of scrimmage. A LINE OF SCRIMMAGE is … ah, forget it, just cheer when everyone else is cheering.

9. Speaking of cheering, know your audience. If you have die-hard fans in the room, root with them. It is fairly annoying when someone who hasn’t watched a single down all year, starts rooting loudly for the other team.

10. Gambling. People gamble on the Super Bowl. If you are watching with people who have laid a lot of money on the game, you might just want to say nothing at all. I learned this the hard way. Really, just don’t speak.

NFL.com has a good, quick tutorial on football for beginners. During the Super Bowl is no time to learn from scratch. Know some basics going in.

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