Football's First Sunday: A Guide

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If you are reading this, you are not watching football. You may have it on, but you aren't watching it, letting the pigskinny goodness seep into your every pore. From today until the Super Bowl, your Sundays are reserved for America's favorite bloodsport. No more late brunches, no more flea markets, and certainly no more Sunday afternoon strolls through the aisles of Whole Foods looking for gluten-free couscous. Park your ass in front of that plasma and don't get up until your soul atrophies: This is a guide to watching football on Sundays.

What to do I do if I don't have NFL Sunday Ticket?
As the most popular sport in America, football has no need to overextend itself to be seen. If you are a Tampa Bay fan in Milwaukee, chances are you can't see your beloved Bucs if you don't have DirecTV or $350 dollars to shell out on Sunday Ticket.

Where does this leave you?

At a bar, of course! A sedentary lifestyle is best matched with beer and hot wings. Dark bars are also great places to meet fellow football fans who will entertain you all day with funny quips and light-hearted banter. Now, that's a social life.

Is fantasy football right for me?
Fantasy football, like all fantasies, consists of you and 11 of your best buddies insulting each other on an Email chain. It's also a great game if you are a joyless prick who can't enjoy watching football without money being involved. And if you play fantasy football for free, well, that's just stupid.

How do I sound like I know what I'm talking about?
If you want to sound like the experts on television, be sure to follow these simple instructions:

1. Whenever you are talking about a quarterback, say they play "the quarterback position."

2. Whenever you mention the NFL, say its entire name, "The National Football League."

3. When asked for analysis, it is acceptable to say, "Aaron Rodgers is a football player."

4. If the action appears to be more violent than usual, say that it's getting "chippy." Do not do this if a player is immobilized and being carted off the field in a neck brace.

5. If a player excitedly dances in the end zone after executing a feat of incredible human skill and grace, shake your head and say, "What a disgrace to the game."

The rules of football seem complicated, what are they?
This is the best-kept secret in sports: Football has no rules. Those flags the referees throw are merely decorative and offensive linemen don't move until the ball is snapped out of habit.

Who should I root for?
The Jacksonville Jaguars.

[@nickgreene][ngreene@villagevoice.com]

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