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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Talking Football 102

Posted by on January 26 at 9:45 AM

More insight and advice for sudden Seahawks fans from my brother Bill Savage, football fan and globe-trotting Schola Drinka.óDan Savage

Speaking Football 102

When we think of places that just don’t care about the Seahawks, the editorial offices of The Stranger rank high: but I’m in a higher ranking, if not ranker, place, London, where the bookies at Ladbroke’s cover goddamn waterpolo, but not the Super Bowl. Bastards. The sports pages of the Guardian and the Independent are full of stuff about England’s coach leaving (richer than anyone this side of Paul Allen) after the upcoming Germany 2006 World Cup to take over Real Madrid. Me, I’m just jonesin’ for some AMERICAN football, and will be glad to be back in the States for the big game.

Speaking of which, some more nomenclature you’ll need to truly enjoy the rare experience of watching your own team in the Super Bowl. Fewer links since I’m paying by the pound for this computer, and the exchange rate has already left me feeling sorely used.

Football is a game of rules, and some are more obscure than others. The referees will make semaphore-like gestures, but just listen to the commentary or the moaning of real fans to get the gist. A cheat sheet, again in the spirit of Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary:

False start: premature ejaculation by the Offensive Line. Intended to avoid letting the OL fake defenders into a penalty for too soon, the net effect of false starts is to slow the game down and allow for more beer sales and tv commercials.

Offsides: premature ejaculation by the defensive line. Intended to save the life of pantywaist quarterbacks who might otherwise be smeared into bloody pulps by DEs unimpeded by blockers. Part of the gradual effeminization of the game, as owners want to protect their most expensive players from getting an owie. Past quarterbacks, their brains perhaps addled by too many hits, have asserted that today’s quarterbacks ought to play in skirts if they’re going to be so well-protected. Outraged be-kilted Scotsmen boycotted the NFL as a result, though no one noticed.

Holding: an utterly arbitrary call that can be made on any play. When made against your team (especially offensive holding which negates a touchdown or first down) prima facie evidence that the refs are in the bag. When made for your team (especially defensive holding/pass interference resulting in a gimme-touchdown), prima facie evidence of the sagaciousness and keen eyesight of the refs.

Unnecessary Roughness: the greatest penalty in all of football, since it reminds us, one and all, that football is a game with a certain amount of necessary roughness. Recent research on brains shows that people have mirror neurons, which silently mimic the actions humans observe, thus explaining the appeal of both pornography and musical theatre. This also explains football’s ability to simultanously drain men of their aggressive tendencies (vicariously getting it out of their system) and rev men up to incoherent rage (via mirror neurons firing).

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Ladbroke's will take a bet on the Super Bowl. They'll even take a Super Bowl bet online at They'll take a bet on ANYTHING -- you can get a bet on whether Prince Charles will run off with a German Shepard on a Friday in March or on who'll win Miss Finland (Suvi Pitkanen is 6/4) or whether the total number of goals in a particular Spanish League game will be an even or an odd number or whether Brangelina's baby will be a boy or a girl (3/1 says "other"). Brits are the craziest gamblers in the world.

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