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Making football simple - an idea whose time has come

January 20, 2019

Super Bowl. Yes, it’s that time of the year for football. It’s the culmination of months of watching the fine art of an effort to get an object the size of a large watermelon down to one end of an artificial field, so players may bump hips, dance and throw their backs out in what is called the end zone. At least that is the official definition according to a newsletter put out by scientists.

And how quickly this day came upon us. This sacred Sunday is sort of like when you were growing up and someone in the neighborhood got a new car. Everyone ran out of the house to see this vehicle with special air-conditioning. No more opening those small vent windows in the back that let in a centimeter of air.

Only now the event everyone is waiting for is held inside the house, with a television the size of Russia, accompanied by a buffet that would rival anything on a cruise ship that holds a couple thousand passengers.

Anyway, I’ve listened closely to the expert football analysts on television, so I can have some sense of why men as large as brick buildings end up mashing, stomping and crashing into each other over this watermelon. I love a game where there are parking spaces for ambulances. 

In effort to appear knowledgeable, I will try to explain some basic principles. First there is the offense that involves passing the football down the field to get to the dancing end zone.

The analyst usually has a chart. He uses a pointer to show how the players are lined up on the football field. And all the players who might catch the ball have very specific assignments, such as where to buy the best diamond earrings.

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

Now my idea is simple and cuts all of that out. You go back to the old street pickup 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 on your wrist or listen to a microphone in your helmet that doesn’t work right, but does pick up the local weather station. 

All you have to do in my offensive 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, Bubba.” Simple as that. And if it bounces off a car or someone’s head, hey, it’s still in play.

Sure, you’re thinking, but what about the defense? Fair enough. I’ve seen the intricate analysis of this also. This is how you stop them from getting that watermelon into the end zone.

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.

This is pretty easy. The defensive player just yells, “Look, there’s Elvis!”

What about the rest of the game? If the television is in the trash can when you get up in the morning, that’s all you need to know. 

  • 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.