Finally, a football primer for Super Bowl Sunday

January 29, 2013

Super Bowl. Yes, it’s that time of the year, the culmination of months of watching the fine art of implementing intricate offenses and defenses in an effort to get a pigskin ball the size of a small watermelon down to one end of an artificial turf field so an individual may dance the Mashed Potato or perform some sort of gyration with his hips. At least that is the official definition according to the “Anyone Can Learn Football” Cliff Notes.

In effort to be informative to my readers, OK, it’s more than likely the same little lady in Des Moines, Iowa, I’ve been studying this fine art of winning the game of football.  All right, something has got to fill this stupid, stupid column. Happy now?

Anyway, I’ve listened closely to the expert football analysts on television. And there are a ton of them, but I finally narrowed it down to the ones who are the best dressed.

Now just take the offense in a play that involves passing the ball down the field. The analyst usually has a chart, which I’m sure you’ve all seen. He uses a pointer to show how everyone is lined up on the football field. And all the players who might catch the ball have very specific assignments as to where to go on the field.

When the quarterback (that’s the guy yelling and pointing at other players) passes the ball, several events happen. There are players who cross in front, players who run to the back, players who zig-zag various patterns they have memorized and dart like gnats trying to avoid the windshield wiper on a car. And of course, the quarterback has to try to fool everyone into thinking it’s a different play. All of this is meticulously diagrammed. It has been studied by the players by reviewing films and memorizing scientific signals from the quarterback that start with the word hut.

Now, my idea is simple. You go back to the old street pick-up game. You know, the one played between a Buick and a beat-up Chrysler.

That plan cuts down on a lot of time, and you don’t have to write anything down on your wrist or listen to a microphone in your helmet that doesn’t work, but does pick up the local weather station.

All you have to do in the plan is have a bunch of guys run down the field and jump up and down, waving  their arms and shouting, “Throw it to me, you Bubba.” Simple as that. And if it bounces off of a car or someone’s head, hey, it’s still in play.

Sure, you are thinking, if you have not already lined the bird cage with this, but what about the defense? Fair enough. I’ve seen the intricate analysis of this also. They usually are called some kind of defense that involves coins or change, like the famed Nickel Defense.

Anyway, stay with me on this one, the analyst again draws a complicated map with stick figures lined up on either side of an imaginary line.

Then the defensive player who is going to make sure the guy yelling, “Throw it to me,” doesn’t catch the football is highlighted.

To do this he runs what’s called a pattern, where he crosses the field, dodges other players, crosses the Santa Monica Freeway, gets on the 101, doubles back around and when it looks like he is doomed to defeat yells at the pass receiver, “Hey, look, there’s Elvis!!!”

Naturally, the referee is going to look also, so the guy may have the option of just throwing the other player into the front row of the stands. At least I know some guys who could do this.

It’s really all you need to understand the game. Super Bowl comes once a year and there is no reason not to be prepared. As they say, “Hut, 23, 28, Corndogs, go!”

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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