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Football for Dummies - Offense vs Defense

[Editor's note:  If you are looking for a serious football article, keep looking.]

As we face what we fans refer to as the long, boring off-season, it occured to me that many of our spouses and significant others are shouting, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!".   I thought it would be a good idea for us fans to try to get our loved ones involved (kicking and screaming though they may be) in the game we love so much.  Of course, who better to teach our loved ones than perhaps the greatest football mind of our time, Coach Belichick, AKA Hoodie.  Since I'm doing this front page, I wanted to make sure I documented my sources in the footnotes (*), so be sure to read them. 

I approached Coach Belichick in Foxborough (leaping Jackie Chan like over the security fence, jamming some security cameras and picking a few locks) to talk about some fundamentals of the game, sort of a football for dummies lesson.  When I approached him with the idea he said, "What do you need me for?  I don't speak dummy.  Do it yourself, dummy." (1)  Followed by something about, "... Security ! ...", which I didn't quite catch as I was running OJ Simpson like down the hall.

Having thus been empowered by the great Hoodie himself, I will now present my first in a series (unless people don't like it, or I get distracted ... look a squirrel !) on Football for Dummies.  This first installment deals with Offense vs Defense or more appropriately Offensive-oriented football teams vs Defensive-oriented football teams.  We'll begin after the jump.

Since this is a "Dummies" post let's start simply.  The team with the most points at the end of the game wins;  the team with the least points loses.  See?  Isn't it simple?  As a fan, when your team wins you feel all good inside, and when they lose - well, not so much.  To that end, you might want to chose a team that wins (except people will call you a bandwagon fan, but if you like band music, what the heck?)  Some people feel that it is their lot in life to suffer with a pathetic excuse of a team.  Studies show (2) these same people were abused by a pathetic excuse of a team as a child, and that same behavior carried into their adult life.  While tragic, these people are known as lifetime fans.  There is a rather large population of them under study in Detroit.

Before I continue, I should point out that games don't always result in a win or a loss.  Despite Donovan McNabb's protestations to the contrary, games can in fact end in a tie.  A tie happens when the scores of both teams are equal after a patheticly boring overtime where neither team scored.  Donovan McNabb described the experience of a tie to be, "like kissing your sister.  Better than losing, but not as good as it could be." (3)  I want to go on record as saying that most states in the union are opposed to that particular behavior, although I never got a yes/no answer when I called the governor's home in Mississippi.  Only the return question, "Is she hot?" (4)  But I digress.

The purpose of the highly paid professional athletes on the Offensive Unit is to score points.  There is no other discernable reason for them to be on a team.  If you are following a team where the offense doesn't score points, it is perfectly acceptable to question why those players are on your team.  Before we get too far afield, the purpose of the highly paid professional athletes on the Defensive Unit is to keep the highly paid professional athletes on Offense from scoring points.  Note: it has been theorized that some Offenses couldn't score points even without an opposing Defense on the field.  Despite some experimentation by the Titans this year, this has never, in fact, been proven.  If your Defense does not prevent the opposing Offense from scoring (or worse, helps them to score by providing escort service for opposing receivers en route to the end zone), then again it is perfectly acceptable to question why those players are on your team. 

On a side note.  Since these teams are populated by professionals, there is no such thing as "running up the score".  It's like blaming your plumber for unstopping too many drains in your home.  He's doing what he gets paid to do.  On the opposing team, they have people that get paid to stop people from scoring.  That is where the blame lies.  End note.

Your significant others may have also heard the term Special Teams.  The use of "Special" in this case is quite different from the use of "Special" in Special Olympics.  At least for most teams.  Special Teams are the people responsible for kicking off to start the game, and receiving said kickoffs.  So Special Teams players can be both offensive or defensive.  Isn't that special?  Hence the name.  Special teams also kick field goals, and punt the ball.  Usually the most boring part of the game, preceded and followed by many commercials, it is an opportune time to grab some munchies or stand in queue for the loo.  Unless your team scores a touchdown, or your kicker shanks a field goal while you're in the can, and then you'll never want to go again.  See Depend.

Another point some people miss is that your team is on offense when they have possession of the ball (like receiving an interception), and on defense when they don't (like when they throw a pick).  While the defensive unit may score, defense itself never scores points (except on a safety when they don't actually touch the ball).  A matter of semantics, perhaps, but by virtue of the fact the team has the ball, they are on offense.  That's about as deep as I plan to get here.  Generally when we refer to the offense scoring, we are talking about the highly paid professional athletes on the Offensive Unit.  Now that I've made that point, I'll ignore it for the rest of this feature.

Some teams like to win by scoring loads of points.  All offense.  Like this guy:

 Yosemite-sam_medium via

 Shoot first, shoot often is his motto, and other than an overly large belt buckle (though not by Texas or WWF standards) he has no defense.  Great teams (such as the 49ers of the 80's) have built on the premise.  If you keep a loaded weapon under your pillow, this might be type of team for you.

Other teams work very hard at keeping other teams from scoring.  They are built on solid defense.  Like this:

 Disney-cinderella-castle_medium via

 Pull up the drawbridge, they're not getting in.  Other great teams (such as the Steel Curtain of the 70's) were built on this idea.  Get a 3 point lead and milk it for four quarters;  ah, the excitement !  Alas this particular castle has no offense at all except that it was built to resemble this castle:

 Neuschwanstein_medium via

Yet failed to capture the Panoramic beauty (5).  If you are into home security systems (or chastity belts), this might be the type of team for you.

Some teams favor a more balanced approach.  Like this:

 M1-tank-10_medium via

A nice combination of offensive firepower and defensive protection.  Hopefully the team that uses this approach doesn't run out of gas.  Some great teams (such as the Cowboys of the 90's), employ the more balanced approach.  If you don't like being shot, yet like blowing stuff up, this may be the type of team for you.

It's raining?  Bummer!  Freezing rain!  Now that I've completely forgotten what I was talking about, I hope this feature has been more helpful that detrimental.  While I haven't actually drawn any conclusions, I'm a little out of breath from jumping to some.  Have a nice day.  Flipping rain!


 *. Any resemblance between this story and truth is purely coincidental.

1.  I have never, in fact, talked to Coach Belichick or been to Foxborough, MA or for that matter Spain (but I kind of like the music).

2. Personal observation, at best.  I know a couple people, they know a couple people....

3. On closer examination, it was just a guy from Alabama (the state, not the band) wearing a Donovan McNabb jersey.  My apologies for the misunderstanding.

4. I dialed the wrong number there, and ran out of cell phone minutes.  My apologies to the state of Mississippi for any insult.

5. The Disney World castle was inspired by Neuschwanstein (means New Swan Stone) one of Ludwig II many construction projects that cost Germany a mint.