Football 101: For the Ladies

Alright ladies, the time of year I know you’ve all been waiting SO impatiently for is finally here. Personally, this is my favorite time of year. Not because the Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back, I get to see Chiefs Kingdom back on the field and my boys play some ball. Football can be a very complicated sport to try to grasp while everyone around you is screaming and throwing things. Don’t worry, I’m here to help you out.

Here’s my basic football skills every girl needs to know to successfully fool that cute boy into thinking you’re an expert… ; )

1. Offense, Defense, Special Teams oh my!

Okay, I’m already ahead of myself. First off, you need to pick a team to root for. In my opinion, you should ALWAYS root for your home team (or that cute boy’s favorite team). Once you’ve picked your team, they’re always either on offense or defense and there’s 11 players on the field. While on offense, your team has the ball and is moving toward their end zone in hopes to score. On defense they are trying to avoid letting the other team score, but while also trying to score themselves. Special teams come out when we are kicking the ball.

2. Points

So obviously the object of the game is to score the most points. There are a few ways your team can do this. The most obvious way is a touchdown followed by a typical arrogant dance or pose from the scoring player (Google videos of Travis Kelce for examples as needed).

Touchdown (noun): when your team gets into their end zone by either passing or running the ball, thus scoring six points.

After a touchdown is completed, teams typically kick a field goal which is worth one extra point. They can also complete a two-point conversion which involves them running or passing the ball back into the end zone in just one play. If your team cannot manage a touchdown, it’s okay, they can still kick a field goal which alone is worth three points.

3. The Basics

Still with me? Okay, good. So before anyone can score there’s a lot of running around, passing and tackling all over the place. On offense, your team gets four attempts, also known as “downs”, to either run or pass the ball at least 10 yards down the field. If they get the ball to that little yellow line (WARNING: this is only on T.V! Do not look for the line when that boy finally decides to take you to a game) then a first down has taken place. Once they reach first down, their four attempts start all over again. If they fail to earn at least 10 yards with those plays, they must forfeit the ball to the other team.

BONUS GIRL POINTS: When the announcer says something like “Chiefs are 3rd and 6” this means it is the third down and they have six yards to go to receive a first down. You go, girl.

4. “There’s a flag on the play!”

When you hear something like this that means a referee is calling a foul on the play and there’s a little yellow flag somewhere on the field. This can be for a ton of reasons so just listen to what they call & play along until you learn all those reasons. Coaches can challenge a flag and have it reviewed to benefit their team. Which can cause a lot of hoopla but also be very worth it.

5. Is it over yet?

Yes, football games can seem to be never-ending. There are four quarters lasting each 15 minutes long, with a 12 minute half time and two-minute breaks between quarters. Which if you have your basic math skills down you know equals one hour and 16 minutes. The reason they take MUCH longer than that is because of all the plays being stopped for those various reasons, timeouts, injuries, etc. So just drink another beer and keep on watchin’, sister.

Once you’ve mastered my five basic skills to watching football, here’s a few more advanced girlfriend points you can earn…

  • Sack- A sack is when the quarterback on the offensive team is tackled before the ball leaves his hands. If your team sacks the other team’s QB, this is a big deal so start cheering. If your QB gets sacked, throw the nearest object.
  • Turnover- A turnover is when the ball is intercepted or fumbled and the other team gets a hold of it, thus switching the roles of offense and defense.
  • Overtime- A game will go into overtime when both teams are tied at the end. 15 minutes are given and if the first team on offense scores a touchdown, they win. If not, the other team gets the ball and the chance to score. If no one scores by the end of the 15 minutes, the game is just considered a tie.
  • Pink jerseys- Just, please don’t. Go buy an actual jersey and represent your team or I promise, you will more than likely be made fun of. (Unless it is a Tom Brady jersey, then ALWAYS buy it in pink ; ) )

Personally, I’m tired of girls getting a bad rep for “not understanding sports” or “only liking the cute players”. So hopefully y’all will brush up on your basics and your favorite team’s roster and prove them wrong! 

Happy football season & as always, go Chiefs. : )

If you happen to pick the Kansas City Chiefs as your team, check out my article about what to know about the 2017-18 season here!


This article was written September 2015 and updated September 2017.


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