The Girl's Guide to Football Basics

The Girl's Guide to Football Basics-

Seeing as how the Superbowl is about a month away (February 1st!), some things come to my attention. So many people, girls specifically, don't know as much about football as they should. This why I've decided to write the girl's guide to football basics. I'm no expert, but I've spent plenty of hours in front of the TV with my father, yelling at kickers for not making field goals, quarterbacks for not passing fast enough and coaches for not managing the clock. I know enough about football to know who to yell at and when (because that's what it's all about right?!). Because the Superbowl has practically become a national holiday, there's a high chance that you will be hosting or attending a Superbowl watch party this February. If you're anything like me, you don't really enjoy watching a sport unless you understand what's going on. That's where this post comes in handy. I'm here to share the football basics, so you know who to yell at, what to say and when to keep your mouth shut.

The Girl's Guide to Football Basics-
There's no way you're going to understand the rest of this post if you don't understand the lingo first. Unfortunately there's quite a bit. If you know what each means, it'll make understanding the game so much easier.
Field: where the game is played
Offense: the team with the ball, trying to score
Defense: the team without the ball, trying to stop the other from scoring
Hashmarks: the dashes on the field, each representing one yard line
Play: each time offense tries to get the ball further down the field, this is eiher running with the ball (running the ball) or passing (throwing) the ball
Endzone: the last 10 yards at each end of the field, where touchdowns occur
Flag: this means someone did something wrong, so if you get the flag, its bad (yell at the ref) and if the other team gets the flag its good (high-five your friends)
Turnover: other team gains possession of the ball

The Girl's Guide to Football Basics-
As we defined above, offense is the team that has the ball, trying to score a touchdown. I'll explain some of its lingo and what happens.
Quarterback: this guy is the star of the team usually, he passes the ball to other players, or runs it down the field himself. Famous quarterbacks include Tom Brady (pictured above), Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers) and Peyton Manning (Denver Broncos). If this guy gets hurt it is bad. (yell at the other team for hurting your quarterback)
Completed pass: this is when the quarterback throws the football to another player and he catches it. this is good and you should cheer, but not too loud because it's not that big of a deal.
Incomplete pass: this is bad and calls for some loud complaints. Common reasons for an incomplete pass are if the quarterback threw it too far (yell at the QB), the receiver has butterfingers and couldn't grasp the ball (yell at the receiver) or the defensive team makes it impossible to catch (don't yell at your team).
1st down: this is good and is the ultimate goal of each play. This means that the ball has gotten 10 yards closer to the endzone. The offensive team has 4 tries to go 10 yards and if  they can't do it, the ball goes to the other team. In the case of a 1st down, cheer at a regular volume. If you're watching the game on TV, you'll see that thin yellow line on the field. That's how far they have to go to get a 1st down.
Touchdown: the ultimate goal of each play, worth 6 points, only occurs in the endzone. This is really good and you should jump up and down, cheer and high five your friends. Definitely cause for celebration. The team will then have the option to kick the ball through the goal post for one extra point or they can run it in to the endzone for two extra points (called a two-point conversion). Both of these are cause for celebration.
Fieldgoal: this usually happens when you're too far away to make a touchdown, but you're close enough you can score some points. Scoring a fieldgoal happens when the kicker kicks the ball through the goal post, earning your team a whopping three points. This is nothing too exciting unless it determines the fate of the game (in that case, jump up and down and scream)
False start: someone on the offensive line moves before the play starts. This is bad, not horrible, but it's pretty dumb of the player to do.

The Girl's Guide to Football Basics-
Interception: if you're on defense this is really good, this means that you caught a ball intended for the offensive team so now you get the ball. Scream really, really loud.
Pick 6: this is really really good. This means that not only did someone on defense intercept the ball, but they ran it all the way for a touchdown, scoring their team 6 points (hence the "6), SCREAM, JUMP AND DANCE AROUND!
Icing the kicker: a strategy to screw up the kicker trying to make a fieldgoal where the defensive team calls a timeout right when he's about to kick, basically to mess with his head.
Safety: a player is tackled in his own endzone, earning the defensive two points (yell and high-five because this is the only time defense is able to score points)
Off-sides: much like the false start, this is when someone on the defensive line moves before the play, also something dumb for a player to do.
Sack: when the defense tackles the quarterback before he can throw the ball. This is good and you should praise whoever sacked and yell really loud. If you're on offense, this is bad and you should probably yell at your quarterback for not throwing fast enough.

I hope you use my knowledge to look smart in front of your friends or significant others, but please please make sure you do your research before saying too much. Nothing is more embarrassing than saying you're having a "really good season" when your team has only won 3 games. Vice-versa, don't say your quarterback sucks when he has the most passing yards in all of the NFL. Do your homework and you'll be fine. Have fun and go Chiefs! (I had to throw that one in....)


  1. Now this is the guide that I need to bookmark! I'm so clueless when it comes to football. Amber N

  2. Aw snap. I sincerely wish I had seen this before my first football game in October... the only thing I really understood was what the numbers on the scoreboard meant and that if I hold up the card they give me at the right time, it will make a nice picture. This guide will be a life saver the next time I go to a game... ;)

  3. hahaha i love this, because i watch football with my hubby every week and still have not idea what is going on!

  4. Great guide! A lot of people need this for reference. I love it! I really liked how you mention the volume to yell and scream at with each play!

  5. What a great idea for a post! I grew up watching football so don't really need it but I bet this is super helpful to others :)

  6. This is so fantastic, because for the life of me I STILL haven't gotten the hang of the lingo! And I've played before, too! (Sad, I know). Props for including whether each thing is good or bad, because that's really the most important thing to know when acting as the cheering squad at the TV, right?