Football’s rules are multitudinous and often arbitrary, their interpretation even less clear. On any given play, a coach has a playbook of hundreds of diverse options from which to select his preferred mode of attack or defense. It’s a little more systematically nuanced than “Pass the checkered ball around with your feet until you’re close enough to shoot it into that net over there. If all else fails, just fall over, clutch a body part at random, and wince.”
Learning how to watch football (much less play it) is sort of like learning a language: if you immerse yourself in it from early childhood, you just sort of absorb its principles and minutiae. If you don’t, fluency is about as attainable as that girl who dates the captain of your university’s lax team.
When bros watch football, we know what penalty is forthcoming before it’s even called based on the position of the yellow flag relative to the players. We know exactly how many yards our team needs to achieve to reach that dickless kicker’s desired field-goal range, even though he’ll likely shank it and indirectly earn TV manufacturers about $50k in replacement remotes in the coming days. We know the strides-per-second we have to maintain to make it to the garage fridge and back during a commercial break. And we sure as shit know when it’s time to shut off the TV, call Papa-Bro to commiserate, and crack the first of however-many-beers-it-takes to make the pain subside.
Women watch the game a little differently. They were too busy memorizing the steps from the latest 98 Degrees video in fifth grade to be properly educated in the finer points of pigskin. They know names, of course, and faces (at least those of the players they visualize while fellating your past-their-prime loins), but at this point, their ability to comprehend the game in detail has probably been lost forever — like JoePa’s legacy or the Catholic Church’s integrity or my better judgment when it comes to referencing recent high-profile pedophilia scandals.
What most chicks adore about NFL Sunday are the festive aspects: putting on their cute little form-fitting jerseys, ironically drinking canned beer even though they order the twelve-dollar thing with the paper umbrella every time you’re at a bar, and shrieking like soppy-pantied tweens at a J. Biebs concert when someone breaks into daylight (“Wrong team, BABE,” you grumble in a steadily elevating tone). It’s like they’re back at college again, where they used to get “totally shwasty” at the tailgate every Saturday before stumbling around the stadium for three hours looking for a cell-phone that obviously went the way of the proverbial abyss.
You see, no matter how badly they want to love this all-encompassing Fall tradition that renders us chest-thumping cavemen, most chicks can never truly appreciate what’s at stake: fantasy titles and the social status or ridicule that accompany them, quintuple-parlays that rest on some guy named Skelton’s ability to scrap together a garbage-time touchdown drive, and yes, the promise of a Super Bowl title for the Home Team, and with it validation for the thousands of dollars you’ve spent over the years on memorabilia, Sunday Ticket and drywall patch-up jobs.
And so you spend every seventh day in a state that is always one errant pass away from apoplectic, fingernails strewn about you like needles to an addict. And when she interrupts your fragile inner turmoil with inarticulate commentary between plays, or inane questions you swear you’ve answered 500 times before – there’s just no way around it: it takes away from the emotional experience of the game for every testosterone-fuelled viewer present. And that experience is nothing short of exasperating.
Let me address the breasticled among you for a second (or at least the five of you who are still reading). You know when you’re watching the season finale of “Gilmore Girls” — or “Sex in the City” or “The Bachelor” or whatever series it is you people are frigging emotionally attached to these days — and your dude walks in and starts mocking it, or laughing out loud, or asking you stupid questions that indicate his total and complete lack of a frame of reference? How does that make you feel? Makes you want to run his scrotes through a meat grinder, right?
Well, we’d never do anything to cause physical harm to your lady-parts. But we would prefer that you leave us amongst ourselves to brood, swear, drink, belch, fart and occasionally turn into ecstatic manchildren for just a few hours, for a few months, every Sunday (or Monday, or Thursday) each year.
After all, those nachos aren’t gonna make themselves.