Football for academically challenged British Plonkers

One thing I’ve noticed as I’ve been wandering the UK lately is that there are a lot more NFL fans out there. Soccer is making its way to Europe. And it’s damn time. This country just didn’t have enough die-hard sports fans (*rolls my eyes so hard my head starts to ache*).

Unfortunately most people here in England are either Jaguar or Jet fans. (Some are Pats fans but they are irrelevant). This means they have no idea how to play the game. enter me I’m a (self-proclaimed) football expert and I’ve decided to devote my time to teaching you this beautiful sport.

Welcome to the first edition of Football for Academically Challenged British Plonkers. Today we’re going to learn the absolute basics of soccer. Urban Meyer, look out.

The game

Despite living in “the freest and best country on earth,” Americans aren’t that smart and don’t seem to have a tight grip on limbs. That’s why FOOTBall is a game that, as the name suggests, is played with the hands.

The goal is simple: score more points than your opponent. Despite this simplicity, some teams (*cough* Lions *cough*) don’t quite understand the concept of “winning.”

Each team has an attack team, a defense team, and a special team. Offense is responsible for scoring while defense tries to prevent offense from scoring. For an example of good offense, just look at the Bills in their 2021 wild card game against the Patriots. As an example of a good defense, don’t look at the Patriots in the 2021 Wild Card game against the Bills.

game guide

Football is played on a 120 meter field. (Why? Because Americans need to be unique and are basically the only country on the planet that uses an imperial system of units). At each end of the field are 10-meter “zones” where points – or “touchdowns” – are scored. (Did you hear the jaguars?) This is also where the “goalposts” are. More on that later.

The game begins with the special teams kicking the ball into the opponent’s territory. This begins the clock, a 60-minute game divided into four quarters of 15 minutes each and a half after two quarters. Also, each team has three 30-second timeouts in each half. Don’t worry, things will only get more confusing and complicated.

moving the ball

In order to move downfield and (hopefully) score a “touchdown,” the offense has four opportunities, known as “downs,” to get 10 yards down the field. There are two ways to do this:

  • Throw the ball
  • Run with the ball (in your hands)

If things weren’t complicated enough, each game is timed. The attacker must make a play within 40 seconds or receive a penalty. The team could use a time-out to stop the clock and avoid a penalty. In some situations it is advantageous to let the clock run down. (I WILL TALK TO YOU DIRECTLY BRANDON STALEY THAT ALL OUR HOPES AND DREAMS ARE DASHED THAT TWO TEAMS WILL STAND IN THE PLAYOFFS WITH A BALANCE!!)

When the offense doesn’t move the ball 10 yards in three downs, that team usually “punts.” This is when one team kicks the ball to the other team and voluntarily surrenders the ball (*I just vomited a little*). Punts are the most useless game in all of football and should be abolished immediately.

If the team rushes for 10 (or more) yards in three games, they get another set of downs to gain another 10 yards. And this goes on until they reach the end zone and score a TD. (Or until they lose possession.)

If they score a TD, the special teams have a chance to put an extra point on the board by kicking the ball through the goalposts (look at you, Tyler Bass, #NFLsSwaggiestKicker). This is literally the only time feet are used in the entire game FOOTBall. (Punting doesn’t count because ew.)

The team with the most points at the end of 90 minutes wins. We’re not talking about overtime here. It’s blasphemous.

Please keep following. Next week we’ll be discussing player positions on the field and which position doesn’t belong on the field – or in the sport – at all. IYKYK.

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