Fall is upon us, there’s a chill in the air (for me in Orange County that only means 70 degrees but we’ll take it), and we’re in the thick of football season! Now that may not excite everyone as much as it excites me, but if you want a little background so you can enjoy game day for more than just the snacks, this overview is for you.
Growing up with a football coach for a Dad meant that football was thrust on me from a pretty early age, and it is no exaggeration when I say I spent many Father’s Days running pass routes in the park before my younger brother came along. Needless to say I know enough to get me through the four quarters, and maybe even win some bets from time to time.
So let’s start with the structure. There are 32 teams in the NFL, split into two conferences, the AFC (American Football Conference) and the NFC (National Football Conference). These conferences are further split up into four divisions, but we can save that for lesson two. The game is composed of four quarters, each quarter totaling 15 minutes, unless the 4th quarter ends with a tie and sends the game into overtime.
The matchup starts with a kickoff that is determined by a coin toss before the game. One team will then kick the ball to the team beginning on offense and things get underway. The team on offense is trying to move the ball down the field to score a touchdown in the end zone for seven points or kick a field goal for three points. They have four downs, essentially four chances, to move the ball a total of 10 yards down the field. For example, if you hear something like ‘3rd and 8’ this means it is the team's third down, but they still need to move the ball eight more yards down the field to get a first down. If they can’t accomplish that, the ball turns over to the defensive team to attempt a scoring drive. Needless to say the team playing defense is fixated on stopping the offensive team and forcing a turnover of the ball.
Each play begins when the offensive Center, literally the guy in the center, snaps the ball to the quarterback and from there it will evolve to either a run play, an explosive throw down field, or in unfortunate moments for the offense, a QB sack, where the quarterback is tackled while still possessing the football. Let’s go over a few positions to really take your knowledge up a notch. Obviously we have the quarterback, but when the quarterback launches off a pass he is either looking for a wide receiver or a tight end. On the other hand, if he opts for a handoff a running back will take over. The offensive line tries to hold off the defensive linemen as long as they can so the quarterback has time to execute a productive play.
2020 NFL Teams to Watch:
Now that you’re ready to watch some burly men wrestle over the pigskin, here’s some teams you should pay close attention to this year, based on my own humble opinions.
- Kansas City Chiefs: They’re last year's Superbowl Champions, aka best team in the league for the 2019 season, and brought back all of their players this year for another noteworthy season.
- Baltimore Ravens: Their quarterback Lamar Jackson is a star and after a very strong 2019 season that fell just short of a Superbowl appearance they are fueled and ready to go that extra mile in the NFC this year.
- Seattle Seahawks: With one of the strongest offenses in the NFL led by quarterback Russell Wilson the Seahawks are ready for an explosive season. Their defense may need a little work, but with up and comer DK Metcalf as another weapon for Wilson they will be a team to beat this year.
- Buffalo Bills: Currently number one in the AFC East, the Bills have come to play this season kicking off with four straight wins. Quarterback Josh Allen got a huge weapon in wide receiver Stefon Diggs this season, and it has taken this team to the next level.
Game Day Recipe:
And this football post would not be complete without including the most important part of game day, the food! For me there is nothing better for game day than any and all dips. Here are some of my favorites to make, pair them with tortilla chips and potato chips and you’re ready to go. If you want to keep things simple try out this Guacamole or some hearty Queso. Ready to take things up a notch? Then go for this incredible Garlic Bread Pizza Dip or spice it up with Buffalo Chicken Dip!
Have more football questions on your mind? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll make sure you are primed and ready to tackle the rest of the season!
UCSB Delta Gamma