We get it. The struggle of getting into football as a young adult is REAL.
Somehow, football feels like it’s something you’re supposed to “just know” by your 10th birthday. If you grew up playing sports, or with a dad that throws the remote at the TV every time his college team plays, it’s almost borderline unacceptable to simply not know. At the very least, football is hardly something you’re serious about learning in your mid-twenties.
Nonetheless, the time has come for you to crawl out of your football-oblivious shell.
Whether you’re just now discovering your love for football, or feeling pressured to get into it because you’re the odd man (or woman) out, there a few things you can start doing today that can take you from complete newb status to seasoned pro.
Play a Game of Madden
No, seriously. Go pick up a copy of Madden NFL online or at your nearest video game store. For people who have never watched (let alone understood) a game of football in their life, Madden NFL effectively breaks down the mechanics for you, making it much easier to understand than passively watching the game at your friend’s house.
Since playing a game requires you to have a more active, focused role, you’re forced to pay attention to how the player positions work and all that jazz. You’ll get to see what makes a play successful, and what doesn’t. Plus, you’ll get to learn more about the players and what teams they’re on. That alone will give you a bonus point in football social circles of the world.
Buzzword’s the Word
Every industry has their own set of verbiage that separates the gurus from the amateurs.
If you want to sound like you know what you’re talking about, you’re going to have to start using the terminology used by those who work in the league. One good way to do this, use the words that coaches and scouts use to discuss players. Notice, we said coaches and scouts, not sports analysts. Analysts tend to use more simplistic, general terms like “winner” to stake a claim or drive a narrative.
Using scouting buzzwords to talk about players will immediately add substance to your arguments.
Here are a few you could use:
“Plug and play” – A player new to the NFL who can contribute to the team right away, rather than needing a year or two to get up to speed before they hit the field.
“Glass eater” – Typically an offensive lineman who plays with a merciless, unrelenting mentality.
“Leverage” – The ability of a lineman to get underneath pads and drive opponents away.
“Sand in his pants” – A defensive line prospect who’s immovable once the ball gets snapped.
“Pocket presence” – A quarterback’s ability to sense pressure in the pocket.
Make a Fantasy League
Fantasy football is a great way to build relationships while building up your knowledge of the sport. Plus, it makes watching football more fun for beginners getting into the sport. It gives them something specific to watch out for and can validate their ability to pick their teams.
The great thing about it? It’s a game that’s random enough that even beginners can get away with not knowing all that much about NFL football. Not to mention, it’s simple to get the hang of quickly.
Next time one of your buddies or co-workers invites you to play, don’t pass up the opportunity. Remember, everybody starts somewhere.
Learn Advanced Stats Like Sports Bettors
A quick google search will get anyone the basic numbers. If you’re really looking to wow, you’ll have to dig a little deeper than the baseline stats. Get a subscription to an advanced metrics website like ProFootballFocus.com. There, you’ll learn about some of the top players in the college ranks.
Another bonus? You’ll get much more detailed insight into how players and teams are performing. Knowing how to access and read the advanced stats is important. It allows other fans to start seeing you as an authority source, and it helps when it comes to placing bets. Obtaining this kind of information is a must for sports bettors.
Consider football betting the graduated version of fantasy football. By understanding how the games work and how to read consistencies in performance, you’ll begin to feel confident making a wager. Being able to predict a game’s outcome is a clear sign that you’ve elevated your football know-how. When you reach that status, check out these top sites for NFL football betting.
Follow the Players on Socials
When you really start watching the game, it won’t take long for you to find a special team or player to side with.
Once you do find that player that gets you jumping out of your seat, take a closer look at them. Being in “the know” about what’s going on in the background of their life will prove you’re more than just a bystander in the stadium.
And it won’t be too long after that you’ll be on your way to earning full-fledged fan status, once you get their autograph or merch with their winning number on it, of course.
Feel That Draft Coming in
You don’t have to get too far down the rabbit hole but knowing at least the first-round prospects in the annual NFL draft will earn you some shoulder pats.
Have a general sense of who some of the top players in the college ranks are, making sure to do your due diligence during the offseason to stay in the game.
Soak up as much as you can, whether it’s from well-trained media scouts who put out great, free content on the web, or from a friend who lives and breathes football. Putting in the work for the draft will inevitably give you a leg-up on many of the NFL’s star players for next season, and these are all names you can spew out at the next tailgating party.
And there you have it.
We guarantee you that in no time, you’ll go from feeling like the world’s biggest football phony to being the smartest NFL fan in the living room. Just promise us you won’t be too smug about your newfound expertise; we don’t want your friends to end up tackling you!