What I've Learned About Football for Today

Here's the funny thing: My dad grew up in a teeny town in Pennsylvania. He went to Syracuse University on a football scholarship in 1954.

His position was Running Back, and he played with Jim Brown, who was a slightly more famous Running Back. That Jim Brown was a damn show-off and consequently when they went to the Cotton Bowl in 1957, my dad didn't get to play much. But he totally would have won it.

jim brown cotton bowl

My dad would never say this, but think about how you would feel as a conservative jock businessman who hatched two freak liberal artist daughters? Ha! Over the years, he would attempt to teach us football basics, drawing out the x's and o's in his scrawling handwriting. He would give up after we grew tired of trying to follow and dissolved into giggle fits. (Sorry, Dad. I'm getting my payback now.)

I really want to understand football, and I've got no excuse not to. Christian watches football and I tune it out like I did when I was a kid. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's what my problem is- I have naturally eliminated any ability to focus on football in the least.

Lately I have worked hard to overcome this un-American quirk. In case there are others like me out there, I have thoughtfully put together some notes to refer to as we watch the big game. Or at least pretend to while we're digging into our 40th chicken wing.

Martha Stewart chicken wingsI'm making this recipe. Click it.

1. The Quarterback is the most important, therefore should always be the most attractive player.

2. The rest of the players are irrelevant and run around willy nilly. Except the Nose Guard. It is an admirable responsibility to guard noses for a living.

3. A "snap" is the action that initiates play of the ball. It's totally hilarious to everyone around you if you yell, Oh, snap! Every time this occurs.

4. Jumping up and yelling loudly at the t.v. sends waves of happy vibes straight to the players. Especially the Nose Guard, that devil.

5. There's something in there about downs and yards, but I don't think that part's relevant, so we'll skip over that for now.

6. The two main ways you can score are by field goal or touchdown. Although you gain more points with a touchdown, a field goal is the preferable style of scoring because it is much more glamorous looking.

field goal!

7. The players' costumes have vertical stripes on the pants, visually elongating their embarrassingly bulky thighs. This is just good, basic fashion sense.


  • You will be admired if you wait for a quiet moment during the evening and then dreamily recite this line from a poem from 1613 by Michael Drayton: "when the Ball to throw, And drive it to the Gole, in squadrons forth they goe".
  • If you will be attending a party today, remember to loudly exclaim, (after the game is safely over) I can't believe the spread! This will serve the dual purpose of paying a compliment to the host and commenting on the outcome of the game.

Strangely, I looked up Jim Brown and found that he was born exactly 1 day before my dad. He was February 17, 1936, and my dad was the 18th.


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