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Thread: Please explain football to me.

  1. #1
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    Please explain football to me.

    I just don't understand why the superbowl is a big deal. Could someone explain why? Also, exactly how is football played? I've seen videos explaining it, but I just don't get it. I'm more of an MMA fan. It makes sense; two men are fighting for money.

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    Please explain football to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by cjackson View Post
    I just don't understand why the superbowl is a big deal. Could someone explain why? Also, exactly how is football played? I've seen videos explaining it, but I just don't get it.
    I'm not an expert nor am I a huge fan but I enjoyed today's game with a couple of friends, a little beer, and a lot of food. As for how it's played, if you've watched explanatory videos, it would probably be helpful to know what it is, specifically, that you still don't have a handle on rather than start from scratch.

    There are various reasons why it's a big deal. People like to see their hometown or favorite team win...and winning it all even more. The game is also a social event in homes and sports bars all over the country. I'm sure MMA fans have their favorites too and for similar reasons.

    I'm more of an MMA fan. It makes sense; two men are fighting for money.
    If you distill things to that point, then there's little difference between them...except for the size of the average paycheck. Professional football players get paid to score more goals than opposing teams.
    Brett's the name. Peters Creek is the place.
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  3. #3
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    Well, how about 106 men (and coaches) fighting for money? And loads of it?

    Football in the US (sometimes called gridiron football) got its start in the colleges of the northeastern states such as New Jersey. In fact the first formal season in 1869 was played between Princeton and Rutgers universities. The game itself has its roots in rugby and soccer. Wikipedia has a good rundown of the game, how it's played, and the history. Suffice it to say that football - at both the professional and amateur levels - has become a huge business. The NFL generated $9 billion in revenue in 2013 but that's just the tip of a very large iceberg in the economy of football.

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    Football is a war without guns. That explains not only the basic strategy; but also the basic mindset. Like many games; the goal is to get the "ball" (not a ball at all but a streamlined rubber target object) either to the end-zone - the end of the field controlled by the opponent - or through a goal formed by tall steel pipes.

    Forget Rugby, Soccer or any other type of European ball-sport; Football is unique in that it combines military-style strategy and tactics with individual heroics. I personally am no fan of the NFL; American football is rather boring. It has lots of hype; but hype palls quickly. I much prefer the antecedent: the CFL. Canadian Football is faster, more strategic, more risky. But to an outsider; the games are very similar.

    Football blends fast action and explosive power with nail-biting uncertainty; as tens of thousands of fans watch to see if the Quarterback's tactics are successful. European watchers might not 'get' it at first; but to be honest how many in the Americas really 'get' soccer?

    Two different sports; two different mindsets. You need to GO to a game - eat a bad hot dog with way too much mustard, slurp a huge Coke, grin at the girls screaming and bouncing for their team - while cheering in delerium when your team gets a First Down - before you really get it. Football is a game of moments; and the moments are amazing.

    I LOVE FOOTBALL.

    Oh...That thing Americans do is OK as well; I guess.

    Last edited by NorthernDevo; 2014-Feb-04 at 10:45 PM.

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    Not exactly in answer to the OP's question, but George Carlin had a good explanation of football, especially in contrast to baseball.

    Note: this clip should be suitable for all viewers.
    So many bugs, so little time.

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    ND you're correct in that the CFL has its own character. US fans should love the CFL because the games are often higher-scoring (e.g. last year Calgary averaged 30 points a game). The NFL is considering adopting some CFL (or CFL-like) aspects to speed up the US game and make it more exciting. It's also considering other changes, such as eliminating the kickoff (done at the start of each half and on a change in possession by score) simply because at the professional level the kick off is a) rarely returned downfield for meaningful yardage and b) disproportionately contributes to injuries.

    I like the stiffer penalties in the CFL - 25 yards for spitting!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ABR. View Post
    Not exactly in answer to the OP's question, but George Carlin had a good explanation of football, especially in contrast to baseball.

    Note: this clip should be suitable for all viewers.
    (chuckle) The unsuitable version was far funnier but thanks for this! Haven't heard this routine in years!

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    I'm not a football fan - Association football, 'soccer' - that is. Round ball, no hands, or a fan of any other sport.
    But I was a volunteer at the London Olympics, in the Aquatic Centre. 17,000 people, shouting as loud as they can in a closed space, has an amazing effect on you even if they are shouting for someone else. I have no idea how, but it makes you feel different, excited obviously but more emotional, in a good way. That's why people enjoy going to the game, and I imagine it has something to do with endorphins, in other words the natural opiates.
    Because it's addictive! I'm signed up for the Commonwealth Games now, this summer, for another fix!
    John

  9. #9
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    In a nutshell, the team with the ball has four chances to either advance the ball ten yards or score. The play is dead when the ball (except in the case of a fumble) or the ball carrier touch the ground. If they do advance the ball ten yards or more, they get another four chances to move the ball ten yards or score. If they fail to do either, the other team gets possession of the ball.

    Those are the basics. It gets interesting when you delve deeper.

    As for why it is so popular... look at other sports. Soccer, rugby, baseball, auto racing. They're fun to watch. For me, football is so interesting because of the strategy involved. It's like a chess game but with a little blood.
    Last edited by primummobile; 2014-Feb-03 at 01:43 PM.

  10. #10
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    I think half of footballs interest stems from the fact that every game matters. Pro's only play 16 regular season games, and colleges 12. For many of them, you lose a game in the 3rd week and it could have massive implications on your championship prospects. Take the Detroit Lions (please!), they were sitting a 6-3 nine games in with seeming control of the NFC North. They went 1 - 6 the rest of the way and Green Bay wont the division. Another fascinating collapse by that team. But people were watching. If they were a lock to make the playoffs, people might tune out and wait for them to start.

    That, and only six teams per conference make the playoffs out of 16 teams vs. the usual 8 out of 15 teams for basketball and hockey. To not make the playoffs in the NBA or NHL, you have to be really bad. If your a 7 or 8 seed playing the 1st or 2nd seed in the first round, it's just a formality. You really don't have a chance. Watching five bad teams battle it out during the closing weeks of the regular season just to be first round fodder and lose a chance at the draft lottery just doesn't hold that much appeal.

    Football, each playoff game is single elimination, which is why the expression "any given Sunday" has such meaning in the game. A 6 seed can win the Superbowl. But the playoffs really start about half way through the season when every win matters so much. Other sports have 7 game series for the playoffs. A team can absorb the loss and fans can afford to miss a game because, until those elimination games come in - there's going to be another one.

    People try to blame the lack of regular season interest in NBA and NHL on the length of the regular season. I've long contended that if only 8 teams total (4 per conference) made the playoffs, they could extend the regular season to 100 games from the current 82 and it would be far more intriguing. Even baseball manages to stay interesting through a 162 game schedule, because playoff races are interesting. Good teams can miss the cut. A wild card entry can win the World Series.

    Playoff expansion is bad for sports, in my opinion.

  11. #11
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    I agree with this ^^ very much. I don't pay any attention to basketball or hockey until the playoffs, and even then not until the later rounds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Click Ticker View Post
    <snip>
    People try to blame the lack of regular season interest in NBA and NHL on the length of the regular season. I've long contended that if only 8 teams total (4 per conference) made the playoffs, they could extend the regular season to 100 games from the current 82 and it would be far more intriguing. Even baseball manages to stay interesting through a 162 game schedule, because playoff races are interesting. Good teams can miss the cut. A wild card entry can win the World Series.

    Playoff expansion is bad for sports, in my opinion.
    I completely agree. I think there are entirely too many playoff teams in both the NBA and NHL. I don't track hockey closely, but the NBA playoffs last for like 3 months.
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    U.S.-style football confuses new viewers because the plays start from set positions and there's pre-planning, with strategy and alternatives laid out before the play begins. However, the basic idea is to (legally) knock down the other guys before they can knock down your guys, all so that your ball carrier can advance the ball by some legal means.

  14. #14
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    Andy Griffith explains it for you.

    I'm really quite surprised no one else has posted this yet.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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    The popularity of Pro Football is easily explained by the tight, shiny pants and big bulging things. I'm not a fan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DonM435 View Post
    U.S.-style football confuses new viewers because the plays start from set positions and there's pre-planning, with strategy and alternatives laid out before the play begins. However, the basic idea is to (legally) knock down the other guys before they can knock down your guys, all so that your ball carrier can advance the ball by some legal means.
    Sounds so complicated!
    Why isn't it as simple as soccer?
    I mean, even the Offside Rule isn't that complicated!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmC9JOcaofI

    John

    PS Your football is more like our rugby - oval ball, handling. Can I convert you? Here's the latest Six Nations ( England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales) France/England match, just last weekend. Spanish commentary, which many of you will be able to follow. It looks like all is lost for England by the end of the second half, but they fight back! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tm7an48iJ9A Enjoy!
    Last edited by JohnD; 2014-Feb-03 at 05:12 PM.

  17. 2014-Feb-03, 05:09 PM
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  18. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by primummobile View Post
    If they do advance the ball ten yards or more, they get another four chances to move the ball ten yards or score. If they fail to do either, the other team gets possession of the ball.
    I think you need to rephrase that. You're implying that if they do score, they retain possession of the ball.

  19. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Andy Griffith explains it for you.

    I'm really quite surprised no one else has posted this yet.
    That's cause they don't wanna step in nothin'.

    Personal favorite. When I go to a game I always get a big o-range.

    A rule change to allow catapults would be nice.

  20. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnD View Post
    It looks like all is lost for England by the end of the second half, but they fight back!
    You did watch the last two minutes, didn't you?

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnD View Post
    PS Your football is more like our rugby - oval ball, handling.
    I think American football was probably a lot more similar to rugby before the development in the former of the forward pass. That, and the stop-and-start nature of A. football, contrasted with the mostly continuous-action of rugby, strike me as two of the biggest differences.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cranj View Post
    You did watch the last two minutes, didn't you?
    Well, I wasn't going to tell you the result, was I? They did fight back and got on top, but were pipped at the last minute - who wants to know that in advance!? (Interrobang!)

    Only tackling a man who has the ball is another big difference. If the continuous nature of rugby play attracts you, have a look at Rugby League. This is the Northern version, played with 13 men, and avoids the "rucks" after a tackle, where a man goes down holding the ball and the forwards pile in to get control. In League the two men face off like a mini-scrum and play goes on. Takes a much shorter time to take place than describe, and RL is a fast, passing game!

    You might enjoy this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qo5pd8TJgpU

    But I'm preaching my game. Show me a really good American football match!

    John

  22. #21
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    Yes. My mistake. I was trying to make the definition as short and sweet as possible and I neglected that.

    To the OP:If you score, you lose the ball, except in the case of a safety.... but that's further than I wanted to go. Sometimes a team will intentionally take a safety. We saw Baltimore do it last year in the Superbowl and the Broncos did it in The Fumble game. That confuses things even more. I've been trying to explain football to my wife for years and she still gets hung up on safeties. Luckily we don't see many of those.

  23. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjackson View Post
    I just don't understand why the superbowl is a big deal. Could someone explain why?
    It's just the updated version of Roman gladiators. I don't know if this is inherent or learned, but humans apparently love a fight - when someone else is fighting.
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

  24. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar View Post
    <snip> when someone else is fighting.
    I'm forty years old, and I still play backyard football every Thanksgiving morning. That's full tackle with no safety equipment. Humans like watching competitions. The most attended events at the Summer Olympics are the track and field events. When I was running track in college, thousands of people came to the meets. Many times it was tens of thousands.

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    To further blow your mind - the NFL does not pay taxes.

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    The NFL is a trade organization. The teams, which are the individual business units, do pay taxes. The NFL operated about a third of a billion dollars in the red last year. The NFL itself doesn't have any revenue apart from the individual teams.

    There are one or two teams that are non-profit ventures, but I don't remember what they are or why they are non profit.
    Last edited by primummobile; 2014-Feb-04 at 07:24 PM.

  27. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by primummobile View Post
    There are one or two teams that are non-profit ventures, but I don't remember what they are or why they are non profit.
    Just one. The Green Bay Packers.

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    I find the NFL operating in the red to be difficult to believe.

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    You don't have to believe me. There are stories all over the web about it. You can look it up. The NFL has no source of revenue other than the stipends it receives from the teams and things like portions of television rights. The vast majority of revenue earned by professional football in the United States goes straight to the team owners and not the NFL. And those team owners (with the exception of Green Bay) pay taxes. (Thanks Neo)

    The situation is almost identical to that of the NCAA. The schools support the NCAA. It doesn't make any money on its own. The NCAA, just like the NFL, is the broker between the businesses. They set the rules and they coordinate events and they dole out penalties for infractions. But they don't sell anything.

    ETA: Now, I don't know if the NFL does any funky accounting to hide revenue from the IRS. But I am inclined to believe that the government probably scrutinizes their filings pretty carefully.
    Last edited by primummobile; 2014-Feb-06 at 12:41 AM.

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