Happy football season! Or not-so-happy football season for people like me, who don’t really like watching sports. So, you want to blend in with your sports fan peers, but you don’t know anything about football? Are you tired of being left out at football parties? Sick of being called a nerd because you don’t like sports?
Never fear, I’m here to help!
I was tired of being unable to connect with my dad, a huge football fan, so I came up with a handy guide for non-football fans to seem knowledgeable about sports. Now, you can seem like you know what you’re talking about!
Get to Know the Big Players
Football is full of famous players and big-name sports stars, so here is a quick who’s-who of football so you won’t be caught off guard in conversation:
- New England Patriots Quarterback
- Married to supermodel Gisele Bündchen
- Former intern at Merrill Lynch (1988 and 1989) where he was exposed to upper-level management and company strategy. Memorize his full resume here.
- Denver Broncos Quarterback
- The President of Football Operations and General Manager of Denver Broncos
- Middle name is Albert
- Was injured in a game but then he got up and danced?
- Looks a lot like Cuba Gooding Jr.
- His agent is Jerry Maguire
- During prime of his career (1982), he was “able to throw a pigskin a quarter mile”
- Can also throw a football over full mountain ranges
- Career was cut short in high school when the coach benched him in the fourth quarter
Talk About Sports Trivia
Football fans love it when you act like you’re smarter than them. That’s why I’ve come up with some great trivia facts to impress even the most knowledgeable sports fanatic. I’ve also included ways to incorporate the trivia into casual conversations so you can distract people from your general lack of knowledge.
How to Bring it Up: When you see a cute mascot on the field, say, “Hey, guys, I wonder if they’ll cut that up and eat it at a banquet like the University of Texas at Austin players did in 1920 with their adorable mascot Bevo!”
Looking for more mascot trivia? Try this: The Philly Phanatic is the most sued-mascot and, in a direct quote from CBS News in 2012, “This is at least the phourth time the Phanatic has been sued phor antics some phind unphunny.”
How to Bring it Up: Whenever you feel like you’re not getting enough attention, hush everyone in the room, stand up on the nearest chair, and make the following announcement: “Everyone, the most-sued mascot of all time is the Philly Phanatic. This is a serious issue, as one time he threw a woman into a pool and seriously injured her. Please respect my privacy at this time.” That will intrigue everyone in the room because they will think you are somehow involved.
If mascots aren’t your game, try this to appeal to sports fans and movie-lovers alike: In the classic basketball movie Hoosiers (1986), the hero of the film, Jimmy Chitwood, only has four lines in the whole movie.
How to Bring it Up: Bring a copy of Hoosiers to every viewing party you attend, and when things seem to be slowing down, pop it into the VCR. Everyone will love this charming story of the small-town Indiana basketball team, and they’ll love your trivia even more!
If you’re looking to be more controversial, try quoting Olympic Skier Odd-Bjoern Hjelmeset, who famously said in 2010,
“My name is Odd-Bjoern Hjelmeset. I skied the second lap and I f’d up today. I think I have seen too much porn in the last 14 days. I have the room next to Petter Northhug and every day there is noise in there. So I think that is the reason I f’d up. By the way, Tiger Woods is a really good man.”
How to Bring it Up: There’s not much context for this quote so there’s no wrong way to bring it up, but a great option is to insert it into normal conversation and reference it constantly.
This should be enough trivia to spice things up and really make people think you know a lot about sports.
Yell at the TV and Insult the Ref
The key to this is to act really passionately so people think you know what you’re doing. Here are some great things to yell:
- What was THAT?!
- Hey, (insert player name here), this is football! Ever hear of it?
- That’s gotta hurt!
- That’s a tackle, that is!
- Kick him in the shins!
- Get him, boys!
To criticize the Ref, you can yell:
- Hey, ref, you need glasses!
- Hey ref, you need contacts!
- Hey, ever hear of an optometrist, ref?!
- Basically just keep insulting their eyesight
- Insult their striped shirts or their hats or something
Dress the Part
First, you need to look up what teams are playing at the game you’re attending. Is it the Los Angeles Chargers? The Seattle Seahawks? The Green Bay Packrats? The Chicago Boars? Do your research, then pick who you want to win and find out the team colors to wear.
To take it to the next level:
- Paint your face
This is a great way to show your team spirit but keep it relatively subtle. Here’s some inspiration:
- Paint your body
Look like the ultimate Baltimore Ravens fan when you show up to that viewing party drenched in purple paint. No one will question your commitment to the team and you’ll probably look like the most dedicated fan there.
Try rolling around in some glitter to really stand out. You will look like a sparkly football angel.
Fake Loving Football for the Rest of Your Life and Never be Genuine
This is the most important step because it’s how you get people to like you. My dad now thinks I am a huge football fan and I will never reveal my true ambivalence for fear that he’ll call me a nerd.
Now get out there and fake it until you die!
Tom Brady: By Jeffrey Beall – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54392693
Philly Phanatic Head: By EaglesFanInTampa at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8675441
Longhorn: By The original uploader was Hephaestos at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons. Originally from http://kansaspartners.fws.gov/images/longhorn.jpg., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=931466
Skier: By Florian Lindner – Own work, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=73201