This Thursday night, the NFL football season kicks off. To many, this is a time of celebration and fun. To others, it's a time when regularly scheduled programs get interrupted. If you're not a fan of the sport, the next few months are going to be boring. If you get stuck in room filled with football fans, the next few months will be hell.
SparkNotes is here to make the season a little more enjoyable by offering you a quick guide to the sport…as written by a guy who doesn't watch many sports. Use these tips to fit in at any football party:
1. Know the two types of plays – Unless the team is punting, the snap of the ball will lead to either a running play (in which a player runs with the ball) or a passing play (in which the quarterback throws the ball to a receiver). Whichever play the QB decides to use, argue that he should have done the opposite. You'll be wrong about 80% of the time, but if you're right about one single play, you can brag about it for the rest of the night, saying, "I called it. He should have listened to me. Are there any more of those scoopy tortilla chips?"
2. Say, "Holding. That was holding! Did you see that?" - Holding is penalty in which a player illegally grabs onto an opponent. Due to the nature of the sport, this happens a lot. Announce that you saw a holding penalty, even if you don’t really know what one looks like, and everyone will congratulate you and your keen eyesight. (Be sure to look at the screen when you say this, or else your friends will get suspicious, or fearful, of your super-powered ability to view things without using your eyes.)
3. Weigh in on the Michael Vick controversy – Quarterback Michael Vick was convicted of organizing dog fights in 2007, went to jail, and was signed to the Philadelphia Eagles this year. He was directly responsible for dog executions, but he was sent to federal prison and fined. So did the punishment fit the crime? Do you think he should be let back in the NFL? Ask these questions to provoke a Michael Vick debate, one that will probably be more fun than the actual game. And to further the argument, casually mention health care reform and your thoughts on religion.
4. Discuss Geico or Skittles commercials – Love them or hate them, these two products have quirky, unique advertisements that can be as head-scratching as they are memorable. So if you dig them, let others know. If you hate them, get visibly angry whenever they air. This can eat up a good fifteen minutes of the conversation, and before you know it, the game will be over and you can go back home and watch Fringe on DVD.
5. Don't mention that you're reading the Twilight books and blogging about them – Because not one of your football friends will care.
6. Shout words that end in an O-sound – Such as:
7. Avoid words that end in "ium" – Such as:
8. Make lame jokes – If you say something even remotely funny during a football game, people will laugh. So go ahead and use that knock-knock joke about the interrupting cow. Even if the joke is well over 80 old, it will suddenly seem fresh and funny.
9. Repeat any numbers that you see on the screen – From statistics to the scores from other football games, be a parrot and repeat these facts out loud and your friends will think that you're really involved in the game. (Stop repeating numbers during the commercials, because your friends do not care how much money qualified buyers need to put down in order to get 0% financing.)
10. Enjoy your ignorance – If these tips don’t work, simply be the biggest fool you can be. Ask questions such as, "Which one is the goalie?" and "If they want the ball so much, why do they kick it away?" Hide someone's hat. Joke about wanting to watch cartoons instead. Mock the one friend who is really, really into the game. Root for the commercials. And most of all, have fun. Your friends won't care if you're not a football fan (as long as you brought French onion dip and those scoopy tortilla chips).