Monday, February 03, 2014

Are You Ready To Explain Some Football?

Last night was my first Super Bowl in exile, and I have to say, seriously, what the fuck. But let me back up a bit.

I had managed to get excited about the Super Bowl in a way that I hadn't gotten excited about Christmas or my birthday. And I prepared for it as well: I dressed up in all the NFL branded clothing that I own, I made Rice Krispie treats shaped like footballs, and I drank an enormous amount of caffeine so I could make it to kickoff at ELEVEN FUCKING THIRTY local time. I commandeered StereoNinja and his teenage daughter to watch it with me because all my other friends have "jobs to go to in the morning" or some shit, and we all ate a cheeseball I had made, despite them both eyeing it with suspicion at first because no one here has ever seen a cheeseball before. StereoNinja had watched some of the Seattle game with me two weeks ago, and so at least had basic concepts figured out like downs and field goals; his daughter had no experience and insisted the game was called "handegg".

The pregame show was that we didn't get a real pregame show. What we got was some Irish guy I've been told is called Colin Murray and is famous for something, and a very uncomfortable looking and disinterested Terrell Davis, whose name Channel 4 managed to misspell. My best guess is that Colin Murray has never seen an American football game before in his life, and I spent the hour before kickoff screaming things at the tv like "FIELD! IT'S CALLED A FIELD." and "NO YOUR HEADSET ISN'T WEIRD THAT'S JUST HOW THEY ARE BECAUSE IT'S A FOOTBALL GAME". Even StereoNinja was annoyed, and displayed his recently gained knowledge: "Yeah. It's not called a pitch goal, it's called a FIELD goal. And why does he keep touching everybody?" because he was, Colin Murray that is, touching his co-presenters on the arm or the shoulder with an an uncomfortable degree of frequency. Meanwhile whatever he was saying was so confusing, Terrell Davis stopped listening to him and and started absentmindedly picking at the edge of the table on live television.

And then the game started. I'm assuming many of you saw the start of the game, and potentially the rest of it, so I don't need to tell you what a clusterfuck that was for Denver from LITERALLY THE FIRST PLAY OF THE GAME. What I did have to do was begin my companions' American football education by trying to explain what a safety is because of course I did. I also had to explain a shotgun formation because I had previously told StereoNinja in great detail and with extensive demonstrations how the quarterback lines up under center, which was not at all an exercise in crotch grabbing disguised as sports education SHUT UP. And throughout the game I was struggling to justify to StereoNinja my belief that Peyton Manning is the greatest quarterback of our time, AND that the mistakes he was making were not always his fault because the offensive line apparently decided not to play. Based on that game I wouldn't have believed me either.

It was actually kind of fun explaining things that it hadn't occurred to me would need explaining because I've just been watching it all my life. Like how a false start works:

StereoNinja: What happened?
me: False start. That guy jumped.
StereoNinja: WHAT? He barely even flinched!
me: I know. Doesn't matter. You can't move until the ball is snapped.
StereoNinja: What about that guy? That guy is moving. And that other guy is moving too!
me: Oh, right. Some of the players are allowed to move. But not the ones on the line of scrimmage.
StereoNinja: On what?
me: Um, on the blue line.

and flags and timeouts:

StereoNinja: Someone threw their gloves on the field.
me: No they didn't.
StereoNinja: Then what are those yellow things?
me: A penalty flag. The officials throw them when there's a penalty.
StereoNinja: Why?
me: .....because that's how they do it.
later
StereoNinja: Penalty?
me: No.
StereoNinja: But they threw that red thing.
me: That's a challenge flag. The coaches throw them when they want to dispute the call on the field. Um, but you can only do it a few times. Also if you get it wrong they take one of your timeouts.
SN daughter: What's a timeout?
me: It's so you can stop the clock. You get three per half.
SN daughter: But the clock is already stopped.
me: No, the play clock not the game clock.
SN daughter: What?
me: Um.

I did get some amusing help from StereoNinja with explaining the game to his daughter, such as first down: "Do you see that yellow line? That's how far the ball has to go. Also that line isn't really on the field." and she did seem to grasp what was happening overall as evidenced by this comment: "The oranges suck. The catchy man can't even catch it."

We stayed up for the halftime show for some reason where I learned that Bruno Mars can play the drums and thinks he's James Brown and the Red Hot Chili Peppers still can't afford to buy shirts apparently. But by then it was 1:30 in the morning and it didn't appear the game was going to be a contest of any sort so we just went to bed. So my first Super Bowl in exile probably could have been better, but I certainly was having a better time than Peyton Manning was.

4 comments:

Jools said...

That is so funny, we had exactly the same conversations, but without a handy American to explain properly.
Also I liked it when Colin Murray got the giggles because the American man said that one of the teams had to "Eat Clock" Because you know.... Clock.... sounds almost exactly like...Cock! And he said it more and more until Murray told him to shut up!

Hannah said...

Colin Murray manages to be irritating and say ridiculous things that have you screaming at the telly even when he's talking about our football. I was soooooo glad when they got rid of him from MOTD2.

Dr Norf said...

I was over the moon when I took my Englishman to New York last year and there was college football on. I don't know it as well as you do but I managed to relay the little I do! ahhhhh... football. Soccer doesn't really compare, and I won't hear anything different.

Chris W said...

I saw this and thought of you... http://www.wordporn.org/11-untranslatable-words-didnt-know-existed/
le francias, no?