Feb 5, 2017
How to Survive a Football Game
It's a national obsession, especially among heterosexual men. It's all they think of from August through February, and they believe that it's all you think of, too. So you will be interrogated on favorite teams, favorite players, favorite plays, asked how the game went last night, and invited to watch.
Of course, there are reasons you may want to hang out with guys who watch football. They tend to be more muscular than your run-of-the-mill straight guy, and they like hugging and grabbing each other at every point.
The snacks are good, too.
1. Professional football is played by members of the NFL (National Football League), which is divided into two conference of 16 teams each. Each team will play 24 games during the season, plus a playoff to decide who is best in each conference.
That's a lot of games, but don't despair. You just need to memorize who won in the last few games played by teams from cities in your state (or, to be on the safe side, adjoining states). Unfortunately, the two conferences aren't divided by geography, so you'll just have to scan to find them.
For instance, when I lived in Dayton, masquerading as heterosexual only required me to know about the Cincinnati Bengals, the Cleveland Browns, and maybe, to be on the safe side, the Indianapolis Colts. Now I live on the Plains, so all I have to know about are the Minnesota Vikings, and to be on the safe side, the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears.
Memorize the names of the some of main players -- called quarterbacks -- so you can ask "How did ___ do last night?" For the Minnesota Vikings, that's Teddy Bridgewater and Christian Pounder.
The Superbowl, in January or February, is the big event of the year, with the best teams of the two conferences squaring off. You should know who won for the last five years: Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens, New York Giants, Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints.
2. You should also know something about college football. Colleges are divided into four Divisions by the National College Athletic Association (NCAA). You only have to know about Division 1, the 128 biggest colleges, which is divided into 11 Conferences. Unfortunately, they're not divided by geography, either, so figure out the ones that are closest to you (in Minnesota, the Golden Gophers).
You also might want to know about the Big Ten, which actually has 15 members: Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan State, Minnesota, and so on.
Be careful around Christmastime: that's when the various conferences decide which team is better at "bowl" tournaments, and there are dozens of them, most with silly commercial names: The Hyundai Sun Bowl, the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, the Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl, etc.
3. If you're ready for the advanced stuff, try showing off your knowledge of high school football! They are divided up into divisions and ranks, too.
Rock Island High School, my alma mater, is nationally ranked at 7120 and state ranked at 217. It's in the Western Big Six.
Do you have a headache yet?
Almost makes it all worthwhile.
See also: Hating Sports.