The 10 Most Confusing Things About Football to an Outsider

#5. Why Do so Many Football Terms Sound Dirty?

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If you have the slightest hint of immaturity in your mind and you watch a football game with the commentary on, you will hear a lot of things that make you giggle. Like:

- He really knows how to work the seam.
- They're really pounding it up the middle.
- They're getting great penetration in the backfield.
- The tight end was wide open.
- The call is "illegal touching." (Yes, that's an official call.)
- Trent Dilfer (retired quarterback and current commentator)

Some of it is just that football has been around a long time, and old words turn funny if you leave them around long enough. Guys used to be able to introduce themselves as "Gaylord" or "Dick" without anyone giggling. People used to be able to say, "What a lovely pussy," and you would expect to see a cat.

Nowadays, of course, you would expect to see a wimpy or cowardly person.

#4. Why Are People Just Milling Around When the Game Isn't Over Yet?

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One of the most confusing things for me at first was watching everyone mill around on the field, chatting and shaking hands like the game was over, when there were like 40 seconds left on the clock. "Man," I thought, "these people are quitters! What's wrong with you! Why are you just giving up?"

Then I found out about kneel downs and how teams with a certain number of plays left can just have the quarterback kneel down, ending the play, and let the time tick down while they prematurely (technically) congratulate each other. Obviously you only do this if you are ahead. I still think it's weird that the other team just lets you do that, but I guess it's an unwritten rule everybody follows, except a rogue coach here and there, and when they don't follow it, everybody gets mad.

Still, there's something weird about watching the final seconds of the game tick down while you're walking around socializing.

#3. Is There Really Still a Team Called the Redskins in This Day and Age?

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If you've followed football long enough, I guess you get used to it, but if you've just started getting to know NFL teams, you sort of do a double take the first time you find out that there is a team named after, let's face it, a racial slur. Admittedly, an old-timey racial slur. It is like stumbling upon a team called the San Francisco Chinamen or the New York Dagoes or something.

Rest assured, though, the meaning of the team name has evolved so it no longer refers to a derogatory term for Native Americans, but to the complexions of the players, management and fans as a result of embarrassment at the team's performance over the past couple of decades.

Getty Editorial
This Eagles fan with the surprisingly understated sign makes the point I am getting at.

#2. Why Is There a Baseball Field on the Football Field?

If you've asked this question, you were likely watching an Oakland Raiders game, in which case, I'm sorry. The Oakland Raiders are kind of like the Harlem Globetrotters of football, if the Globetrotters' humor was unintentional and they usually lost. While they provide ample entertainment with their off-field drama and their often bumbling play, they top it all with the last multipurpose stadium in North America, shared with Major League Baseball's Oakland Athletics.

Thearon W. Henderson / Getty
It's currently called the Coliseum, believe it or not.

Once upon a time, some people thought that multi-use stadiums were the future, so they built some. Now they know better.

The end of baseball season runs into the beginning of football season, so for the first few Raiders games, there's a big dirt baseball diamond in the middle of the football field. In addition to just looking hilarious, I can't imagine how this screws around with actual play.

Getty Editorial
Fumble at ... second base?

Fortunately, being a true Oakland team, the A's don't usually get very far in the postseason, so the Raiders only have to put up with it for a few games.

#1. What's the Deal With Fantasy Football?

Getty Editorial

You might have seen "fantasy football" stats running across the bottom of the screen during an NFL game broadcast, and you might have heard that fantasy football is a billion-dollar industry, and you might have tried to talk about football with a co-worker or associate and been treated to a long-winded discussion of their fantasy football team.

Fantasy football is not that different from women's fantasies, but is adapted to appeal to guys. While women may fantasize about some sexy guy coming to deliver pizza, whereupon the woman finds out that she has no money and wonders if there is some other way she can pay for it, guys' fantasies are somewhat different, in that they imagine Aaron Rodgers coming to deliver pizza, whereupon the man finds out that he has no money and wonders if there is some other way he can pay for it. I don't want to go into detail with minors on this site, but it all ends up in a hot tub with Rodgers and Clay Matthews.

It could be you in that tub with your poorly Photoshopped heroes!

Again, I want to emphasize that I've been following the teachings of Ms. Rand in not looking anything up and relying on myself in coming up with these explanations, so I could be totally off base. Obviously I've heard from guys that fantasy football seems to have a lot to do with pretending you are the owner of the team and "buying" a whole stable full of players, which sounds like a pretty hot setup to me.

Check out more from Christina in 6 Reasons The NFL Is The Trashiest Reality Show on TV and The First QB to Ever Eat Himself Out of the NFL.

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Christina H

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