It’s Homecoming Week, everybody, which means…FOOTBALL!
The American football field hosts a weekly war, both terrible and artistic, a bloody poem in spandex and grease paint. Here, battles are won and lost, both at the ten-yard line and in line to buy bratwurst. Coaches govern teams in militaristic fashion, encouraging effort, focus, and an occasional ripped tendon. Athletes the size of Buicks sprint headlong into each other. The resultant skull-crashing and tooth-dislodging resembles a tin of mints being thrown into a high-powered fan.
Wait, you say you’re more of a soccer fan? The sight of blood and ruptured organs makes you cringe? Blasphemy! Football is as American as ABBA, Taco Bell, the Beatles, or Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The rules of football are too complicated, you say? Perhaps to the casual observer, but fear not, because from now on, we as a columnist have officially decreed Football Appreciation 101 to be a required course for university freshmen. Here’s a little preview of the course material. First, we offer a brief history of the sport and synopsis of the rules.
According to experts, football was invented somewhere between the years 1870 and 1960. The sport was originally played with a normal, round ball, but the ball’s shape was reputedly changed to its current two-pointed, maniacal state by a Rutgers University fraternity who enjoyed watching heavyset linemen chase fumbles that could spontaneously bounce backwards and lodge in their nasal cavities.
Football was sustained in its conceptual years by various males with lots of free time on weekends, and continued in relative obscurity until around the year 1998, which is the year we as a columnist started watching football (Go, Colts!).
To help further your football understanding, this new course will go into a position-by-position analysis.
The Quarterback: Usually the best-looking player (if teen movies are still accurate), quarterbacks are the trigger. They date supermodels, endorse Rolexes, and control everything that happens on offense, unless something goes wrong, in which case it was completely the fault of…
The Offensive Line: Arguably the most affable athletes in sports, offensive lineman are the true heart of the team, sacrificing both knees and years of their life to gain large amounts of weight, all to keep the quarterback in Rolex ads.
The Wide Receivers: Receivers start training early in life to be noticed. This is why they are always on television giving interviews. They develop expensive hobbies, complain, and are always about to be traded.
The Running Back: The RB’s job is to run two yards up the middle on every play, making football more boring to watch for the casual observer. Also, they are keeping a large wing of the drug industry afloat.
The Kicker: This guy’s like your 8-yr. old sister. He can do or say whatever he wants to you, but as soon as you rough him up a little or call him a name, you’re the one who gets penalized.
And on defense…
Linebackers: The linebacker always has a funny name, like Dick Butkus, or Brian Urlacher, or Ray “Nancy” Lewis, but you would never make fun of one. They are the most curious footballers, in that they are always trying to rip off the Quarterback’s helmet and examine its contents.
Defensive Line/Ends/Backs/Safeties: Also big and scary.
Special Teams: Not what you think.
And there, in a nutshell, is the first week of our Introduction to Football course. Remember to support the team this week in the Homecoming game. For help with authentic cheers and taunts, see page 38 in the course textbook (Chapter 3: “Are You Blind, Ref?...And Other Helpful Yelling Hints).