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Girls Watching Football With Guys
I love football. I was raised in a small town in East Texas, and if you know anything about Texas, you know that we Texans love our football. On Friday nights of out-of-town games, the local Dairy Queen sign would say, "Whoever leaves Sulphur Springs last, turn the lights out." I went to college at Texas A&M. Even though we have said goodbye to the Big 12 and are now in the SEC, if you know anything about colleges in Texas, you know that it revolves around football. I now live in Dallas. America's Team. The Cowboys. 'Nuff said.
So I was raised on football. Knowing the basics is second nature to most Texas gals. However, not every woman has this kind of background, so many need some pointers on how to watch football with guys. It's good to not know everything (because guys love to show off their knowledge), but knowing the basics is also impressive. Here are a few key things you should go to a football-watching-party knowing:
1. Point System. A touchdown (when the offense, the guys with the ball, get the ball down the field and cross the line into the endzone) = 6 points. An Extra Point (kicking the ball through the upright goalposts at the end after a touchdown) = 1 point. A Two-Point Conversion (running the ball back into the endzone instead of kicking for the extra point) = 2 points. A Field Goal (kicking the ball through, only this time after not quite making it to the endzone for a touchdown) = 3 points. A safety (tackling the guy with the ball in his own end zone) = 2 points.
2. Basic Penalties. There are many, many things that players can do to break the rules and lose yardage. These are called penalties. You only need to know a few. Ask about the rest so your guys can show off what they know. Remember, if a referee throws a yellow flag, it's a penalty. If the coach throws a red one in response, he is disputing the referee's call and there will be a review on the play (this can only happen during the first 28 minutes of each half). Here are some basics: Off-sides (the defense starts before the ball is snapped) = 5 yards. False Start (the offense starts before the ball is snapped) = 5 yards. Face-mask (grabbing the other guys face-mask to bring him down) = 5-15 yards. Holding (using hands to grab on to the opposing player) = 10 yards. Pass Interference (messing with a player who is trying to catch the ball) = 10-15. Delay of Game (ball isn't snapped before the play clock runs out) = 5 yards.
3. Downs. The offensive team (the ones with the ball) are trying to advance the ball 10 yards in 4 tries. The defensive team (the ones without the ball) are trying to stop them. Thus, if you hear "3rd and 8", that means that the offensive team has moved the ball 2 yards in 2 tries. This is their third try, and they have 8 more yards to go. If they make it to four and haven't gone the whole 10 yards, they will have to punt the ball (kick it) to the other team. During the attempt to go the right amount of yardage, how much is left to the 10 yards is indicated by a yellow line that moves. This is ONLY ON TV.
4. Who's Playing. The internet is your friend. Know the quarterback (the guy who throws the ball) and a couple of the top receivers (catching the ball) or other key players on each team. You don't have to know every person on the team. Knowing just 2 or 3 major ones is enough. Also, know the name and face of the head coach on each team. You can ask the guys about anyone else because they'll get to show off their knowledge.
5. Which Teams Play When: This is not 100% all of the time, but for the majority of football season, high school games are played on Friday nights, college games are played on Saturday, and professional games are played on Sunday and Monday.
If you learn these basics and start watching football with people who love the game, you will find that you come to love the game, also. In fact, you might end up like me and pay extra for the upgrade of U-Verse just to get all the ESPN channels so you can watch more football!