Football Blog

How To Be a Football Fan

Becoming a Great Football Fan

If you want to learn how to be a football fan, you probably have friends or family who enjoy football and you want to get in on the enjoyment. Becoming a football fanatic is easy; becoming a good football fan takes a little bit of work. You’ll need to learn the rules of the game, learn the teams or personalities at the chosen level you want to follow (NFL, college, high school) and be available when kickoff happens.

Each of the following steps to becoming a fan of the NFL or NCAA can be done simultaneously. I put the first suggestion first, because I think it’s ultimately the most important.

1. Become a Football Team Fan

If you’ve watched football before and didn’t get what all the excitement was about, then you’re missing the most elementary part of football: to be a fan, you have to have a rooting interest. You have to have teams you like and teams you don’t like. Generally speaking, you become a fan of one football team and you don’t like their rivals and opponents. If you don’t choose sides when watching sports, you’ll never understand sports fandom.

Consider that you’re watching a movie. But you really don’t care what happens to any of the characters in the film. Their stories just don’t speak to you and you could care less how their story ends. That’s not going to be a very interesting movie.

It’s the same with watching football. If you care about the outcome of the game, then the game isn’t going to be entertaining. The reason people love sports so much (besides human beings’ natural competitiveness) is that, unlike a movie, no one knows how the game is going to end. There are no spoilers. Watch the game, sit on the edge of your seat and hope your side wins.

2. Learn About Football

Whichever football league or game you plan on cheering for, learn about the game. First of all, learn the basic rules. All the crazy penalties and minutia of football, you can learn later. But for now, learn how many “downs” each team gets in a possession, what is a pass and what is a run, the mechanics of the clock and timeouts, what a blitz is and that kind of stuff.

To learn about football, go to Wikipedia and read their section on football. Or better yet, stay on this site and read all about the aspects of football you don’t know about. We have hundreds of articles on Football Babble that discuss football, from basics to advanced studies.

3. Study Your Favorite Football Team

Next, learn about your team. Learn who your quarterback is, who your coach is and who the star players are. Try to learn about more players than just 2-3 or else you’ll be bored when they aren’t on the field or performing. Luckily, as you watch the game, you’ll develop opinions about certain players’ abilities, strengths and weaknesses. You’ll probably have a few you really like and one or two you think are a detriment to the team.

Football isn’t always about the players. Learn about the head coach and his assistants. Learn about the owner, if you are following an NFL team. Learn about your team by reading the local sports page about them or watching the nightly sports news. Pretty soon, you’ll feel like you know some of the more public players.

4. Ask Questions of Football Fans

Now that you know some of the basics, start asking questions of the football fans in your life. Don’t ask too many during the game, because you’ll annoy the person and probably get short answers. (A few are appropriate.) Afterwards, ask why certain players did what they did or the coach made the decisions he made. The more you learn, the better you will be at asking questions and the better football fans you’ll be.

5. Have a Reason To Keep Watching

Once more, have one team or player or coach you really like. This will keep you interested in the sport. Heck, if you prefer one uniform to another, that’s a start. I still pull for the Michigan Wolverines, because I think their uniforms look cool. (Lord knows there’s no other reason to root for them these days.)

Alternately, if you don’t have a team to cheer for, have a team to cheer against. If a team knocks your team our of the playoffs, you can always hope that teams “gets there’s” and is knocked out of the playoffs. Cheering a team to a loss isn’t nearly as satisfying as cheering the home team to a win, but it does sustain your interest.

This is why so many football fans either gamble or play fantasy football. Either gives that person a cheering interest in games they could care less about otherwise. I have sat on the edge of my seat watching Browns-Lions games I would generally consider torture to watch, because I needed one of the players to score me some fantasy points. But that’s a whole other story. The point being, the most important part of learning how to be a football fan is having a reason to cheer. Find one, even if it’s laying a $10 bet with your husband.

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This entry was posted on Monday, January 4th, 2010 at 3:17 pmand is filed under Football. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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