Remember that time when you were watching the game and shouted “Hole in one!” or said “Wait, I don’t see LeBron James down there” or asked “If it’s called football…why do they play with their hands?”
If you have a shameful memory like that, help is on the way.
Not every American is a football genius, but you don’t have to be obsessed with the game to support your team. Not many can resist the pumped up atmosphere filled with boys, girls, and booze, so why not, right? By all means go to the game and cheer your heart out.
But in order to avoid confused looks and ashamed friends/family, you have to cheer the right way. If you know nothing about football - first of all, God help you. Second of all, here’s how to not sound completely incompetent when watching the game.
I know it’s shocking, but take look at the scoreboard! This lovely monster of a sign is there for your convenience. It will tell you which two teams are playing. It will most likely give the abbreviation of the team and their team logos next to it. If you can’t distinguish who your home team is on the scoreboard, you should seriously reconsider your life choices, but I digress.
Do yourself and your reputation a favor and never ask anyone around you who is playing; smartphones were invented for a reason, use them. You can type in the abbreviation and you’ll find your answer within seconds. Also, common sense is key. GB does not stand for gigabyte, its Green Bay - just like CHI is not referring to your hair straightener, its Chicago.
Think people, think! College team abbreviations are very straightforward, for example, IOWA is The University of Iowa, and NDAME is Notre Dame.
“Which one’s the quarterback?...What’s a quarterback?”
To put it simply, there is an offense and a defense on the field. The offense has the ball and is trying to score against the defense, who are trying to defend. The quarterback is the most important offensive player. In social media terms, he is the guy who gets most of the screen time and who’s most likely on all the food/credit card commercials, okay? The quarterback receives the ball after “hut hut hike!” and either runs with the ball or passes it to another teammate to try and score a touchdown.
Learn his name, and you can cheer him on along with everyone else. You don’t want to mistake your quarterback for another player on a different football team or, dare I say it, a different sports team. LeBron James plays basketball, people, not football.
“LET’S GO (insert team name here)!”
The ultimate way to express your enthusiasm for your team without naming statistics or players is to cheer! Get into it! Show you care! Nobody will put you down for supporting your boys. When everyone else around you is doing a specific motion or chant in response to a play, listen/look once and imitate. You don’t even have to know what it means, save that for Google later.
You will stick out and look ridiculous if you’re the only one in your section not standing up for the kickoff or not participating in Panchero’s Burrito Lift. Your opinion on burritos is irrelevant at this point, put your hands up and lift. Participating in these chants and game rituals makes you look like a local fan who knows what’s up.
“Where’s the basket?”
My poor child, separate your sports please. There is no type of basket, box, or bucket, in football that you put the ball in. Let’s get that straight right now. Instead, there is an "end zone" where all the offensive players are trying to run to with the ball. These zones are the rectangular zones located at each end of the field where those pitchfork looking structures ("the goalposts") are. They usually are colored differently than the rest of the field and have a team name across them as well.
Once an offensive player runs into this zone with the ball, they have just scored a touchdown. This is where you yell “Touchdown!” and yell your heart out. Clap your hands, high five your neighbor, do a victory dance! Make sure it was your team that just scored though, not your opponent, that would be awkward.
Knowing these basic facts can help you pull off a football-knowing façade any game day of the year. When it all comes down to it, as long as you love your team then you’re already on the right track to knowing football. Go, fight, win!
Aw, you just learned that? Well there ya go, keep it up.