So here it is, folks! The Big Game is almost here at long last. It’s time. Are you ready for some football? I am. Very ready for the football.
It’s the one day of the year where casual sports fans start caring about the weird and wild spectacle that is American Football, with the two top teams in America soon set to duke it out for the sport’s biggest prize.
And though you might know the basics of the game – someone chucks a ball around, a man in a helmet catches it, they try to run it over the line at the end of the field, etc – the broader intricacies of it might elude even the most seasoned of vaguely aware fans.
We all know that a touchdown gets you anywhere from 6 to 8 points and a field goal will tack on 3. But what role are those padded-up jerks actually holding down on the field out there? Why do so few of them touch the ball? Who’s that tight end?
Presenting, a guide to every position on the American Football field. Not a clinical one; you can get that on any Wikipedia page. No, we’re talking about the real implications of who plays where and why. Much like a good Hot Sauce, it’s the spiciest version only. Observe thusly, starting with the offence:
The Rich Kid (aka the Quarterback) gets paid the most and you cannot touch him. He receives the ball first, he directs which way the play is going to go, touching him erroneously will spark an immediate 100-person fight, and he gets paid $500 million per year. He is god, he is holy football Jesus, and I simply cannot stress how much you should not touch him. Think of him like your face or bits after dunking your hands in Hot Sauce. His safe word is “Omaha.”
Big Flicky (aka Centre) has one job, give the ball to The Rich Kid. That’s about it. Before the play, The Rich Kid will shout a sequence of non-sensical and unconnected words that he makes up on the spot. Like “Denver” or “Alberquerque” or “Frank’s RedHot” or whatever. Big Flicky must know what all these mean without stopping to ask. At the right time, he will fling the ball perilously beneath his testicles into the hands of The Rich Kid, and the play begins. If he does this incorrectly, he receives great shame.
The Large Boys (aka Offensive Linemen) must protect The Rich Kid at all costs, lest The Rich Kid get the dreaded sack. They are mindlessly, hopelessly devoted to The Rich Kid. They would die for him. They probably will die for him. And they will be glad to have done so.
The Speed Racers (aka Wide Receivers) vary in number, but always stand on the edges of the field and run in the hopes of catching the ball thrown by The Rich Kid. They often have the best dance moves of anyone else in the team. Any touchdown scored by a Speed Racer must be celebrated with Broadway-level choreography. They are so fast but omg so strong. Strong like the smokey smooth flavour of Frank’s RedHot, baby! You can put that shit on everything!
Witness The Thickness (aka the Running Back or in some cases the Halfback or Tailback) is an extremely thick gentleman who can also run like the dickens despite having thighs roughly the same size as wheat silos. He takes the ball directly from The Rich Kid and attempts to literally run straight through the defence like a semi-trailer ploughing through a police blockade on GTA V, or a burrito dunked in inferior branded Hot Sauce through the bowels of an unsuspecting consumer. Life’s too short for bad Hot Sauce, folks. Eat Frank’s.
The Battered Sav (aka the Fullback) is the Thickness’s best friend. In situations where Thickness cannot plough the road by his lonesome self, The Battered Sav is put in front of him to go through the defensive lines like a hot knife through butter. It’s the only pure and good friendship in football. Just like the only pure and good friendship in game day food is the one between a healthy dollop of Frank’s RedHot and a crispy fried chicken wing. You know it makes sense.
Mr Tight Buns (aka the Tight End) is a simply enormous human who mutated up from a regular Large Boy into something of a Large Boy/Speed Racer monster hybrid. He is allowed to catch the ball if he so chooses, and when he does it is very difficult to haul him down because, I repeat, he is so large. Absolutely in awe at the size of the lad.
But, as we all know, you cannot have a game of football that’s all offence. The defensive side of the ledger has their own unique positions as well, which we detail thusly:
Nega-Large Boys (aka Defensive Tackle) are the arch nemesis of the Large Boys. Perfectly matched in size and ferocity, their job is to break through the Large Boys clutches and give the opposing Rich Kid the dreaded sack. They must not sleep until they accomplish this goal. However, they are not allowed to charge until the Rich Kid begins the play, which presents something of a dilemma for them.
The Concussion Magnets (aka Defensive Ends) are virtually identical to the Nega-Large Boys, except they are saddled with the additional task of accumulating enough violent head trauma to place them in a future class-action lawsuit against the league because they forgot how to hold cutlery at age 42.
Greyhounds (aka Cornerbacks) are the shadows of the offensive Speed Racers. They follow them, they cover them, they prevent them from getting the ball. They are sleek and fast. They chase, and occasionally catch, the rabbit. I cannot put it any more straightforward than that.
Brick Shithouses (aka Outside Linebackers) are horribly terrifying men who are thrown into the deep woods of America upon being drafted until such time as they develop an insatiable taste for human blood or possibly some sort of Hot Sauce equivalent. A specialised handler removes their chains at the stadium when required, and they are then free to stalk and hunt virtually any player on the opposition as they see fit.
The Absolute Animal (aka the Middle Linebacker) is, I cannot stress enough, a complete psycho out there on the field. He just mows through anyone! He doesn’t even care! If you have the ball, it’s this bloke’s primal desire to turn you into dust. And he will do just that. If you’re not careful…
The Wildcard (aka the Strong Safety) is the real MVP of the defensive unit. You just never know what he’s going to do at any given time. He’s always thinking four steps ahead of you. Just when you think you’re gonna zig-zag around him, he zags twice and knocks you right on your butt. He’s out there playing Chess while everyone else is playing Checkers. He’s out there dunking his food into sweet, sweet Frank’s RedHot Sauce, while the rest of y’all are settling for home brand ketchup. Be more like him.
The Heat-Seeking Missile (aka the Free Safety) is a bit like The Wildcard, except marginally smaller. This means he doesn’t have to cover whatever side of the field Mr Tight Buns is on. This also means he’s free to run full-pelt into an opposing player without the fear of compacting his body into the centre version of his own Babushka Doll. He is hot, like the fiery taste of Frank’s RedHot, baby! Get it in stores now.
There’s also a pair of kickers on each team: A punter, and a place kicker. All you need to know about these two is that they are a) only used a handful of times per game, b) frequently Australian, and c) consistently the weirdest units on the team.
So that’s it! You’re all caught up now, baby! You’ve got the knowledge!
If you need something to eat while you’re tucking into the telly, Frank’s RedHot aka America’s numero uno hot sauce, is now available in Coles, Woolworths and independent stores for only 3 bucks. What could be more ‘Murican than chowing down on some wings and hot sauce while you wait for game day?
Now get on out there and enjoy the dang game.