Where Could I Get An Intermediate Course in (Gridiron) Football?

I’m a more-than-just casual NFL fan (I have a fantasy team, fer Chrissake), but a fair bit of the commentary in an NFL game goes over my head.

Example #1: I get that there’s a penalty called “Illegal Formation.” But I couldn’t begin to tell you what makes this formation legal and that formation illegal.

Example #2: I can identify by name only a few different plays and formations.

Anyone know of a handy source that teaches all of this that isn’t book-length or overly technical?


Why did you delete it - I thought it was clever!

Anyway, why not just ask here? I’m sure you’ll get an answer.
As far as illegal formation see here. It’s pretty simple actually, the rule just says that you have to have 5 offensive players on the line of scrimmage and at least 5 of those guys have to wear numbers between 50 and 79.

OK I’ll bring it back.

Did I tell you about the play I invented? It’s where you throw a Hail Mary on first down. I call it The Spanish Inquisition. Because nobody expects it.

Correction: you have to have 7 offensive players on the line of scrimmage.

I’m assuming you just made a typo, since your link makes it quite clear…

Yep, you’re correct.

Many years ago, I got a friend a copy of “Football for Dummies,” which apart from the slightly insulting title was useful in giving her a good grounding up to the intermediate level.

Maybe Wikipedia’s American football strategy page and whichever detailed links you choose to dive into – e.g., the list of formations (long and mostly irrelevant to the modern game, but still has the necessary info)? Everything else that comes to mind is book-length, seeing as they’re books. :slight_smile:

Going for a long bomb on first down isn’t extraordinarily rare. It’s usually done when the quarterback spots a hole in the defense. And it is unexpected, otherwise the defense would have closed the hole.

ETA: Another place to get these answers is a bar. You’ll get several different answers, and none of them may be right. But it can be a lot more fun.

There was a rumor that Dan Snyder had this on his desk when he first bought the Redskins. Might not be true, but he may be the only thing that unites people from whole range of the political spectrum in DC.