Football 101

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It’s here. It’s officially football season. To some ladies this a welcomed season. To others, they just don’t like it. Don’t want to watch it live or on TV. Don’t want to talk about it or read a single analysis. (But, who really wants to read an analysis anyway? Sounds like a sickness.)

In the South, it seems impossible to not “like” football. You can try with all of your might to stay away from football, but when everyone from your preacher to your kid’s teacher is talking about a team, praying over a team or losing sleep over a team– it’s really hard.

Maybe, just maybe, some of these women don’t understand football or feel comfortable talking about football around others. I don’t feel comfortable talking about marathon training, because it’s marathon training. Maybe, these women don’t feel like they can contribute to the conversation. Well, this is for those ladies.

Here’s a run-down of facts, guides, definitions and fake-it-til-you-make-it phrases to get you through until bowl season (yes, that’s a thing and yes, you’ll need a whole new outfit for it).


  • Played on 100 yards of plush greenery, divided into two 50-yard halves.
  • There’s an offense and a defense, with 11 players on each side of the ball.
  • The offensive team has four downs (tries) to score a touchdown or make a first down. If you get a first down, you repeat the process. If you don’t score or get a first down, you punt (kick it real high in the air) to the other team.
  • There are four quarters. The games last 60 minutes. (If it’s tied at the end of 60 minutes, there’s overtime. You could explain quantum physics to a 2-year-old, as easily as you could explain college football’s overtime rules.)


Drive: Has nothing to do with a car. It’s a series of plays when the offense has the ball and it is attempting to score (not like that).

First down: When you’ve made it 10 yards (or more) in less than four tries.

Touchdown: A score worth 6 points.

Extra point: The kick after a touchdown, worth 1 point.

Field goal: A kick that must go through the tall posts at either end of the field. Worth 3 points.

Fumble: When someone on offense drops the ball (a defensive player can fumble, too, but first they would have to get the ball from an offensive player).

Interception: THE WORST. This means the quarterback threw the ball to the wrong team.

Special teams: Not that special. These guys usually only play during kick-offs, punts or field goals. Shouldn’t be a plural phrase, but this is football not English class.

Sack: When the QB goes down before he can advance. Never good.


Holding: When a guy grabs another guy’s jersey to prevent him from tackling someone.

Offside: When someone on offense or defense moves past the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped. This is super annoying.

Pass interference: This one can ruin a person’s life. It’s a judgement call. Don’t even bother trying to figure out the rules behind it.

Who Are All Those People on the Sidelines?

Excellent question. Other than the players, sometimes there can be upwards of 50 people on the sidelines in khaki pants, polo shirts, sweater vests and visors. These guys are the coaches, assistant coaches, graduate assistant coaches, trainers, student trainers, managers, equipment managers, athletic support staff, famous people who are fans of the home team, boosters, media and every now and then, small children related to someone in charge.

Head Coach: Guy in charge, the boss.

Offensive coordinator: Guy in charge of the offense. Sometimes, he sits in the press box to get a better view of the game. He will talk to one of his assistants via headset on the sidelines.

Defensive coordinator: See above, but for defense.

And then, there are position coaches. Just learn the head coach, and coordinators’ names. These are the people your fans will want fired after every single game.

** Famous people to look for at football games: Darius Rucker (South Carolina), Lyle Lovett (Texas A&M), Kenny Chesney (Tennessee), Matthew McConaughey (Texas), Brad Paisley (West Virginia), Toby Keith (Oklahoma), Justin Moore (Arkansas), Bill Clinton (Arkansas), Andi Dorfman (Georgia). This is a limited list, LeBron James has been known to show up all over the place, too. People love college football. 


“We’ve been pretty good in the Red Zone this year.”

This means your team scores a lot when they are within 20 yards of the end zone.

“His play-calling is awful.”

If your team is losing a lot of close games, just throw this out there. Everyone will agree.

“Our secondary is terrible.”

If opposing quarterbacks throw the ball against your team a lot and it’s working, use this one.

“That team wouldn’t win a game in the SEC.”

If everyone’s real excited about a team not in the SEC, just say this. You’ll rile up everyone.

“Let’s hope he stays off the motorcycle!”

If you’re getting the vibe that you and others really like your coach, this joke will kill.

“Verne Lundquist is such a homer.”

Verne is a long-time CBS announcer, who does all of the big Saturday afternoon SEC games. He is known for saying incredibly over-the-top things about only a few players throughout the season. It’s very obvious when he does or doesn’t like a player or team.

“At least the BCS is dead.”

When in doubt about anything, say this.

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