Photo by Sarah Shaffer on Unsplash

5 easy tricks to convince your friends you understand football

Every year as fall approaches, undergrads will flock to Raymond field to watch a football game. They do it for a myriad of reasons. Some will go because they’ve seen it in movies. Some go because they want to show school spirit. Some will go to mask the sneaking suspicion that Wolfville isn’t the booming metropolis that they were promised on their campus visit.

Regardless of why they go, many will go while overlooking one crucial fact. Football is way too confusing. It seems as though the only way to truly understand the game is to have grown up with an emotionally distant father. Many will then leave the game discouraged and angry that they can’t seem to understand a game or the linebacker who tells girls at the bar, how much he can bench press.

This article will not help you impress that first year linebacker. It won’t for two reasons. The first being that this article will not actually require you to understand football. The second and more important reason is that if you are looking to impress that guy, it is time for a wake up call sister.  What this article will provide a couple of key phrases and outline when to say them. By doing so,  you can convince anyone that you do indeed have a sporty side.


  1. The Analyst : This first trick is great because it gives the illusion of nuance while having actually very little substance behind it. The entirety of the trick is to wait for your team to make a big play on offence, this is when one of players on your team either runs a long way with the ball or the ball is caught by one of your team’s players after being thrown a long distance. After this happens your friends feigning football knowledge will likely say “did you say that run?” or “did you see that throw?” This is where you, the analyst steps in. “Yeah, but it all started upfront with the block by the guard.” By saying this you will immediately seem insightful to people who have an acquired knowledge of football.  This trick works because the guard, who is the sweaty fat guy standing in front of the quarterback will generally go unobserved and uncommented on. So by drawing attention to him, your perceived football knowledge will skyrocket.


  1. The Psychic : This move will be less effective to those with real football knowledge but will astound the guy trying stretch his rudimentary knowledge into true expertise. To utilize this effectively you just need to look at the sticks. The sticks refer to the two tall orange signs being operated by the referees that stand off the field. In between the two sticks there is a third independent sign with a number that indicates the downs. To preform your cold reading as the psychic you must wait for this middle sign to show the number two. Once it does, look to see if the sign is closer to the first stick knowledgeably turn to the companions and say “check pass”. If the sign is closer to the furthest stick, confirm your clairvoyance by saying “check run”. This trick does have the added benefit of being immediately confirmed by the players but, should be used sparingly because it is not overly impressive to those with actual football knowledge.


  1. The Innovation Expert:   This move is great way to be to seem like you’re not just giving the advice that everyone else seems to be giving. This move is best done when the game feels especially slow, that is it has been a while since the ball has travelled a long distance. Once you have identified this lull, the rest of the challenge is the acting. Imagine that you are the world’s expert on this subject, grizzled veteran, a spiritual leader. Then softly, but knowingly mutter “Do you know what I would do?” At this point take a long sip of whatever you have handy and swirl it in your mouth  a dry aged whiskey perhaps. Now swallow, pause and say: “I’d spread it out and get our play makers the ball in space.” This particular platitude is helpful because it is true.


  1. The Injury Expert : Because of the gladiator type nature of football generally you will have a couple opportunities a game to use this particular trick. The best time to use this move is a player on either time gets hurt and is laying on the field. Attention will then be drawn to him as the game will stop and the athletic therapists will flock to him. At this point a concerned bystander may say “What happened to him”. This is where you can pounce on this good natured Samaritans by exclaiming “He got rolled up on”. This simple idiom will put the worrywarts at ease without ever revealing any real information about the nature of the injury. What it really means is that someone fell on the injured player. Considering football is just 24 men uncritically wrestling on a turf field you are not really going out on a limb by saying this.

5. The Gladiator : This is a way to really initiate yourself within football culture. The mechanics of this play is that you scan the field and wait for someone to get hit hard. Now once you find someone who just delivered a big contact simply exclaim excitedly “Did you see that hit?!” This technique will likely be your best call, because although, football may be complicated the people who watch it are not. All they want is to hit,  and to see the cathartic violence. If you can tap into that you’ll fit right in.