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  1. Standard member RookRAK
    Out of drinks
    19 Nov '06 19:39
    So ... it's Sunday but I had to go in to work for a few hours. I finish - except for writing up some of the details - and I'm starving so I head over to the chain Mexican restaurant around to corner. I figure I'll set at the bar, have some lunch, write my notes, and watch some football.

    There's only a handful of people at the bar, and they have the Patriots vs Packers game on the TV. The bartender is a waif-like 85 lb girl - I can't see how she could possibly be old enough to legally *be* a bartender.

    So I'm watching football, drinking my drink, taking notes, and after a few minutes said waif asks the guy two seats over to explain what they have to do to score a touchdown. It seems all she knows about football is the teams wear different color shirts, kicking the ball through the goalposts is a good thing, as is the elusive concept of a "touchdown".

    I listen as this guys launches into a "explanation" of the game, and it occurs to me he might the worst explainer, of anything, I've ever heard. Within 5 sentences he is already mentioning "2 point conversions" and "blocking in the back". By the time I finish my lunch and leave I don't think he has actually imparted *any* actual understanding, beyond that the team in green are the Packers, and the team in white are the "Patriots".

    His problems: a) he is dumb, b) he understands football, but he doesn't understand what it means to understand something. Every explanatory sentence contains a reference to something he has not yet explained, or jargon familiar to anyone who already understands the game but a complete mystery to someone who does not.

    So, my questions: How long would it take to actually explain football in this situation assuming bar-waif really wanted to understand? What constructs would you start with? The definition of a sport? The concept of "points"?

    My obvious assumption being that any amount of time engaged in talking with a young woman is worthwhile.
  2. 19 Nov '06 22:40
    well i'm from the uk and i understand it, you have a pointy ball that needs to get pass the line at the end... there, simple
  3. Donation kirksey957
    Outkast
    20 Nov '06 01:51
    Originally posted by RookRAK
    So ... it's Sunday but I had to go in to work for a few hours. I finish - except for writing up some of the details - and I'm starving so I head over to the chain Mexican restaurant around to corner. I figure I'll set at the bar, have some lunch, write my notes, and watch some football.

    There's only a handful of people at the bar, and they have the Patrio ...[text shortened]... any amount of time engaged in talking with a young woman is worthwhile.
    You might try this: "It is sort of like I (the customer) am the quarterback and I tell you (waif-runningback) to get me something (another 10 yeards). If you succeed (do it right), we will get to do it again. If you are really good, you make it to the endzone and we score (you get a big tip).
  4. Subscriber cashthetrash
    PoPeYe
    20 Nov '06 02:54 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by RookRAK
    So ... it's Sunday but I had to go in to work for a few hours. I finish - except for writing up some of the details - and I'm starving so I head over to the chain Mexican restaurant around to corner. I figure I'll set at the bar, have some lunch, write my notes, and watch some football.

    There's only a handful of people at the bar, and they have the Patrio any amount of time engaged in talking with a young woman is worthwhile.
    To make it really simple you need to buy a rule book. (Football for Dummies)

    http://tinyurl.com/y668a9
  5. Standard member RookRAK
    Out of drinks
    20 Nov '06 04:08
    Originally posted by cashthetrash
    To make it really simple you need to buy a rule book. (Football for Dummies)

    http://tinyurl.com/y668a9
    No, I think you missed the point.

    I already understand football.

    I was trying to express that understanding football, or many other suitably complicated things, requires starting with basic concepts and terms, then building upon that foundation. I was wondering how many layers are needed to understand football.

    Clearly, an early layer would be that the object of the game is to score more points than the other team. But the down-based system of "turns" in football is not intuitive, particularly because no matter what the current down is, you can get back to first down.
  6. Standard member RookRAK
    Out of drinks
    20 Nov '06 04:10
    Originally posted by kirksey957
    You might try this: "It is sort of like I (the customer) am the quarterback and I tell you (waif-runningback) to get me something (another 10 yeards). If you succeed (do it right), we will get to do it again. If you are really good, you make it to the endzone and we score (you get a big tip).
    Yes, exactly! To explain something complicated you must begin with terms the person already does understand. In this case bar-waifs understand how to earn tips.
  7. Standard member Natural Science
    blunderer of pawns
    20 Nov '06 12:52 / 3 edits
    I have been stationed in Korea for awhile now. In our unit we have what are called KATUSA (Korean Augemtees to the United States Army), who are Korean soldiers that serve in our units. Many of the KATUSA that I have met have spent time in America and so have seen American football. Other KATUSA know of Hines Ward, because he is in the news over here frequently as he is half Korean. This has led to a few of them asking me to explain American football. Keeping in mind that they would be unfamiliar with basic football terms, (and also minding the language barrier), this is how I've described football to them.

    I start by explaining the dimensions of the playing field, including the endzones, adding that yards are very similar in length to meters, if they are unfamiliar with that measurement. Then I explain that it's an 11 on 11 game, without going into the specific positions (too soon for that). Then I define the object of the game as it relates to the offensive side. The team that has the ball, or the offense, is attempting to progress down the field and get the ball into the endzone for a touchdown, while the defense is of course trying to stop them.

    I'll assume that the gentleman in your story was at this point, talking about downs without explaining what they were. Make sure to explain that a down is one play, and that the team has four downs in which to gain 10 yards. Use only the most basic terminology, and provide definitions if you decide to teach her any football jargon. For example, don't tell her it's 2nd and 7 without first telling her what that means (2nd down, and 7 yards to go. Don't mention punting until a bit later.

    Next I would start by defining the positions on the offense, as it'll be essential for explaining run vs. pass. Start by defining the quarterback and running back, and then the wide receivers. (don't mention tight ends yet, we're just defining basic roles of passer, rusher, and receiver for right now) Then explain the offensive line (don't break them down by position, except maybe to explain the center). Now that she has a basic understanding of the positions on offense, explain the difference between running and passing, defining the roles of each position on each type of play. Make sure also to define terms like rush, reception, incomplete pass, tackle, and sack. You'll also want to define "line of scrimmage", in illustarting that the QB can't throw a forward pass once he crosses that line. Also define the word "turnover", and explain the two different kinds, in addition to turnover on downs.

    Ones she has grasped this basic knowledge, you can start getting into things like special teams. Explain that on 4th down, dependning on where the offense is, they will rarely attempt to gain a 1st down, because if they failed then the other team would get the ball right at that spot. Then explain the concept of punting, and kicking a field goal, which is the part of the game she seems to identify with.

    This basic information should be all she really needs at first to be able to follow, and hence to enjoy a football game. More importantly, it gives her the basic framework on which to ask more informed questions as she sees more games. For instance, if she's watching a game where a team starts their possession very deep in their own territory, she may take it upon herself to ask you what would happen if the ballcarrier were tackled in his own endzone.

    I hope that I have helped!
  8. 20 Nov '06 14:06
    Originally posted by Natural Science
    I have been stationed in Korea for awhile now. In our unit we have what are called KATUSA (Korean Augemtees to the United States Army), who are Korean soldiers that serve in our units. Many of the KATUSA that I have met have spent time in America and so have seen American football. Other KATUSA know of Hines Ward, because he is in the news over h ...[text shortened]... he ballcarrier were tackled in his own endzone.

    I hope that I have helped!
    Thanks - I'm from the UK and now know 200% more about the game than I ever did.
    Good explanation.
  9. Standard member Natural Science
    blunderer of pawns
    24 Nov '06 08:45
    Originally posted by Dr Strangelove
    Thanks - I'm from the UK and now know 200% more about the game than I ever did.
    Good explanation.
    Thanks, glad I could help. Although I wasn't really tring to explain the game; I was trying to explain how to explain it. But if you learned something about it in the process, all the better!
  10. 24 Nov '06 17:11 / 1 edit
    Ace. I've always enjoyed watching it but never really understood the positions beyond the above explanation.

    Anyone like to explain tightends/half-back/full backs etc.. and the various formations please?
  11. Standard member Red Night
    RHP Prophet
    24 Nov '06 17:38
    Originally posted by Tengu
    Ace. I've always enjoyed watching it but never really understood the positions beyond the above explanation.

    Anyone like to explain tightends/half-back/full backs etc.. and the various formations please?
    On offense you are required to place 7 of your 11 offensive players on the line of scrimmage. (The line where the ball is.)

    The center starts over the ball. On either side of the center are two guards. On either side of the Guards are two Tackles. These five are the primary blockers.

    Outside the tackles are the appropriately named ends. A tight end is one who lines up right next to the tackle. A team may start a play with one tight-end, two tightends, or no tight ends. A wide receiver used to be called a Split-End because he lined up way away from the others. This position was a primary pass catching position.

    The term Quarter-back, half-back, and full-back derive from a time when that was how these guys lined up in an old formation called the single-wing.

    Now, half-backs are called running backs; much like soccer half-backs are now called mid-fielders.

    Quarterbacks take the ball from the center and either hand it to a runner or pass it to a receiver.

    All four of the back-field players are eligible to catch a pass as are both ends.

    It is now customary to take one or two of the backfield players who used to be called half backs and send them out to the side as additional receivers. That position used to be called Flanker, but isn't significantly different from the wide-reciever position. (Except that they have t ostart the play a yard behind the line of scrimmage.)

    Full backs are generally bigger than running backs and tend to block more and run the ball straight ahead. Running backs tend to be smaller and faster and run the ball around the ends. Though there is no rule that requires this.
  12. 24 Nov '06 18:32 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Red Night
    On offense you are required to place 7 of your 11 offensive players on the line of scrimmage. (The line where the ball is.)

    The center starts over the ball. On either side of the center are two guards. On either side of the Guards are two Tackles. These five are the primary blockers.

    Outside the tackles are the appropriately named ends. A tight aller and faster and run the ball around the ends. Though there is no rule that requires this.
    Nice, Red. You should also explain the defensive formations as well: 3-4, 4-3, Nickel and Dime. Feel free to explain zone coverage, man coverage, blitzes, etc. etc. Then we can get into Special Teams.

    God I love football!
  13. Standard member Red Night
    RHP Prophet
    24 Nov '06 19:21 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by darvlay
    Nice, Red. You should also explain the defensive formations as well: 3-4, 4-3, Nickel and Dime. Feel free to explain zone coverage, man coverage, blitzes, etc. etc. Then we can get into Special Teams.

    God I love football!
    Thanks Darv. I think you start with offense. And I'm not sure I have the time.

    However: let me make this point.

    Formations and position names in American Football and Soccer/Football have changed over the years.

    Halfbacks became running backs or mid-fielders.

    Fullbacks became defenders.

    Forwards became strikers.

    Defensive Halfbacks became corner backs.


    In the early days of American football they played the single wing formation and later the "Wishbone" was quite popular.

    When England won it's LONE world cup before many of you were born, they played a 2-3-5 formation also called M&W. It was really more of a 2-3-2-3 and had some similiarities to the 5 man mid-field formations we often see today. The whole concept was to make long aerial passes from the wing and score on headers.

    Brazil, Germany, and the "Clock Work Orange" revolutionized the game and made it more about short passes on the ground. And today, most soccer experts would laugh at a 2-3-5 formation.

    The same is true in American football, early formations like the single wing and the wishbone emphasized the running game. Now, more and more teams play with 3,4, and even 5 wide recievers (or wide-outs). The game is more about passing, while the running is still very important.

    Football is a great game, so is soccer.
  14. 24 Nov '06 20:02
    So if a team makes 10 yards in their 4 downs they get another 4 downs? If not, it's a handover to the other team?
  15. Standard member Natural Science
    blunderer of pawns
    24 Nov '06 20:10
    Originally posted by treetalk
    So if a team makes 10 yards in their 4 downs they get another 4 downs? If not, it's a handover to the other team?
    Correct....just know that if they get their 10 yards in less than 4 downs, the next set of downs starts immediately. If they make 10 yards in 2 downs, they don't get to use the other two as free plays.