The football game is over. The coaches and teams are sprinting off the field. (They run because they want to look tough, of course.) Now, finally, can we please go home, curl up on the couch and watch a little Lifetime? Nooooooooo, don’t be silly. It’s time for the post game analysis (PGA). What else is there to say, you might ask? Team A won because they scored more points than Team B. End of story. No, the game is never done, because this is football, where boys become men, and dammit we’re not ready to go back to being boys yet. Let the PGA begin.
If you’re at the game in person, your analysis starts on the walk back to the car and continues on the ride home. My guy companions begin analysis of every play. Everything from “They shouldn’t have run the hook and ladder on that last drive” to “________ (insert quarterback’s name here) has got to work on his _________ (insert problem area here).” I don’t know enough about the strategy to have much to say, but I’ve developed a few generic phrases that help me fit in. “They shouldn’t have gone for two,” I say, in response to the team missing the two extra points after the touchdown. Most of the time teams opt to run the ball in for the extra point after touchdown, but at crucial times, such as when the team wants to be ahead by more than a touchdown, they try passing the ball into the end zone, which, if successful, yields two points. This also works conversely, as in “They SHOULD have gone for two” if your team has lost by two points, so you essentially get two comments for the price of one.
Another favorite of mine is “The secondary looks weak.” This is a great phrase, but a little tricky to pull off, because first, you have to know what the secondary is, and second (or secondarily 🙂 ) it only works if the secondary IS indeed weak, otherwise you’ll just sound silly. I find the whole secondary thing a little confusing, but as far as I can tell, this is how it goes: there’s the first row of offensive linemen whose job it is to protect the quarterback and block so the ball can get through; then there’s another set of players as backup in case the first set does not succeed, so they’re called the secondary. This is not to be confused with the second string, who are the second choice players who sit on the bench, the virtual B list who only get to play if the first string guy gets hurt.
The term “weak” is anathema to football, because football is about men who are strong, winning, crushing, so it’s also a pretty safe bet that you can use “weak” in almost any context and end up with something meaningful to say. “The quarterback looked weak,” “The defense is weak,” “The special teams are weak,” you get the idea.
Just when you think your companions have run out of things to say in PGA, they turn on the TV or radio to hear the PGA of others. There’s a multitude of talk radio programs where callers call in to add their post-game comments, probably because they don’t have any one at home with whom to commiserate. The call-in shows often focus on the ineptitude of the coaches, with callers finding ten different ways to say the same thing, which is essentially, the coach has to go! This gets tiresome about the time we get home and turn on the TV to watch the professional post-game analysis. There are usually four commentators sitting at a desk, which implies officiousness, since not just anyone is allowed to sit at a desk on TV. The commentators are usually former football players and/or former coaches. Anyone on the commentator team who is a former coach is addressed merely as “Coach” as if coach was his first name. The professional commentators provide analysis of all the games that were played or are about to be played anywhere in America on that day, so obviously this could go on forever, and usually does.
Your PGA will go better if you understand some of the common football terms.
Sack: tackling the quarterback before he’s had a chance to get rid of the ball. Quarterbacks consider being sacked a horrible humiliation, so they’ll do anything to avoid it, such as throwing the ball out-of-bounds or hiding it in their pants.
Receiver: the part of your phone that you speak into, or the person intended to catch the ball.
Blitz: when the defense rushes at the quarterback attempting a sack.
Safety: one of the most ridiculous football terms ever. If the opposing team is able to drag the quarterback into the end zone while he still has the ball, they score a safety, which is worth two points. So what’s safe about that?
Offsides: when members of the offense move ahead of the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped.
Now you know everything you need to know to watch, or at least pretend to watch, football.
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