A Casual Watcher’s Guide to “Sports Ball”


Football can be something enjoyable for the whole family to watch and play but without much knowledge of how the sport works there is little fun to be had. The information found within this article could be the difference to going to a football game at school and enjoying yourself to sitting in the bleachers confusedly cheering with the messes without a slightest clue as to what is going on.

Diana Rodgers, Web Editor

If you are anything like me, you are not at the front lines of sporting events or hosting football parties of your own, hosting a football party complete with nachos and the loud screaming with the event of each touchdown (whatever that is). If you are anything like me, you are going to be the person that is invited to these events without a clue as to how football works, and often you reside in the corner of the room, floundering to look celebratory for a team without the slightest clue as to what is going on. This year, I have decided to no longer be that person. Albeit, I have no intention of coming a football junkie, I just hope that I can learn enough information to help me and the other sports-ignorant people pass in a social setting with this “Dummies Guide to Football”.



  • Quarterback: Quarterbacks are members of the offensive team and line up behind the offensive line. Quarterbacks are the leaders of the offensive team, responsible for calling the play in the huddle.
  • Running Back: The primary roles of a running back is to receive handoffs from the quarterback for a rushing play, to catch passes from out of the backfield and to block.
  • Fullback: The duties of a fullback are split between power-running and blocking for both the quarterback and the other running back.
  • Linebacker: The goal of the linebacker is to provide either extra run protection or extra pass protection, based on the particular defensive play being executed. Another key play of the linebacker position is blitzing.
  • Wide Receiver: Wide receivers are mostly known as the fastest players on the field. They are primarily used for gaining yardage on field but are required to block during certain plays.


Play Words

  • Blitzing: A blitz occurs when a linebacker acts as an extra pass rusher running into any exposed gap.
  • Downs: A down is a play. From the time the ball is put into play to the time the play is over represents one down. A team’s offense is given four downs to move ten yards toward the opponent’s end zone. Distance is the number of yards a team needs to get a new set of four downs. If they make the ten yards needed within four downs, they are given a new set of downs. If they do not make it the required ten yards, the other team’s offense takes possession of the ball.
  • Sack: A sack occurs when the quarterback is tackled behind the line of scrimmage before he can throw a forward pass.
  • Tackles: The primary purpose of tackling is to remove the ball from the opponent, to stop the player from gaining ground towards the end zone or to stop them from carrying out a play.
  • Interceptions: An act of a defensive player catching an offensive pass.
  • Fumble: An incomplete pass or someone who has the ball losing possession of it before being tackled or scoring.


With the knowledge that I have just provided, any person should be able to understand enough about football to pretend that you know football. No matter what situation you find yourself in the knowledge about sports I have provided and hopefully as the football season comes to a close and as Super Bowl parties are brought upon us in the spring you can go in armed with this knowledge to not be floundering alone.