So here’s what’s going on in your head right now. You just bought a ticket to the Game. You feel great because it was a long line and some people weren’t even able to get tickets. You gaze at your shiny, red ticket and think about the sick tailgates you and your friends will have the best time of your lives chilling at on Saturday morning. You imagine the laughter and Instas that will be taken and then you realize that something happens after all of that. After that there’s a football game. You sit down on the curb, dejected, because for three to four hours following the tailgating, you will be sitting or standing in the freezing cold watching a sporting event. I bet you wish you knew a little bit more about football now. Those will be three very boring hours if you don’t understand the rules. I am here to guide you through a few of the key things you will see on Saturday and tell you some facts you can tell the people around you, so you don’t seem like a total idiot.

The way every football game starts is with a player kicking the ball across the field. You can’t get around that. It has to happen. This player is assigned to kick the ball by the coach and has trained for a long time in order to be able to do this well. This kickoff kicks off the game (which may be where that phrase comes from in the first place; that just occurred to me). So the ball ricochets off of the foot of the designated kicker and then flies towards the end zone of the field. This is where the other team (wearing a different color so you can easily pinpoint them) catches the ball and runs. Sometimes they just kneel down though, because it’s one of the rules. Don’t want to get into that one right now. After this the players face each other for the faceoff that starts every play. They look at each other until the ball hikes. But, if one of the players breaks eye contact with the player across from him, it’s a foul and they lose ten yards.

Moving on. Hope you are keeping up with all of this. So then the team leader, also known as the quarterback, has a big decision to make. He can throw the ball or he can secretly give it to someone. If he throws it he’ll scan the field for an open player. I forgot to tell you earlier that when the ball hikes some of the other players run out farther on the field towards the end zone. So, okay. The people are running and the leader throws it to one of them, and then they can either catch it or not. If they don’t catch it they have to try again, and everyone gets a little more stressed out. They have four of these tries until time is up and everyone gets really mad for real.

In the case of the leader giving the ball secretly to another person, that person must be super brave. This person must keep ahold of the ball or else. They are sent to run as far as possible and can only be stopped by a dog pile. Dog piles are a big deal in football because they really get on the refs’ nerves. The refs go crazy for a good dog pile and then the rule is they have to break them up. I really hope there’s a dog pile or two on Saturday. So after all these things happen, intermittently a touchdown is gained and that’s a way to get points, which is basically the goal (despite having a good time, obviously, haha). By the end, one of the teams will have won the game and will go home the victor (that part is inevitable, and I hope it is Yale).

I hope I was able to help some of you who didn’t know what to expect this weekend. Now you know that football is a blast to watch but is also complicated. It is okay even if you still don’t get what it is about. I still struggle with some of the confusing parts, and I’m even an expert.