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Football Friday: The Field and Downs

When Fall rolls around I’m not standing in line waiting to grab a Pumpkin Spice Latte, watching the leaves change color, or waiting to bust out my fall boot collection. (Okay, that last one is a lie…) But only because when Fall comes around that means one thing in my mind, Football Season. If you know anything about me, you’ll know I love football. I live for it actually. I’ve been a Broncos fan since the day I was born, and I bleed orange and blue year round. I sport my jersey every chance I get, and my calendar serves as a countdown until the first kick-off.

Over the years I have come to realize that a lot of my friends don’t appreciate the game as much as I do. The main reason I’ve heard? They have no clue what is going on. So, I have made it my mission to break down this glorious game each week. You can look forward to plays, positions, penalties, and my personal favorite, the player of the week.

The “biggest” aspect to begin on is the field. A field is 360 feet long, or 120 yards. The field is marked off in 10 yard intervals, with each of the end zones being 10 yards long. The lines that run along the side of the field, you guessed it, are called the sidelines. These painted on white lines are important because a player is “out-of-bounds” once he touches one of these lines. To be considered “in-bounds” for a catch a player must have both feet (this includes his toes) touching the ground on the inside of the line. This is why sometimes the instant replay covers every single angle of a player’s foot, it’s not just a marketing ploy for whichever brand of shoe the player is wearing.

Understanding the field, will allow you to understand the down system. Anyone who has watched football should know there are four downs, but what the hell does that actually mean? Quite simply, the offensive team has four downs (plays) to move the ball 10 yards. If the offense moves the ball in four plays or less, they receive four more downs. Typically, if the offense fails to move the ball after three attempts, they punt the ball (kick it to the other team), so then the other team begins their set of four downs.

Now for some football lingo. The progress of the ball moving is stated by the down and yards left. So a first down, is a “first and ten,” because it is the first down and there is 10 yards to go to gain another first down. If the ball moves three yards, you would then hear, “second and 7.” This means it's the second down, with 7 yards left to travel. Typically, these numbers stay at 10, but if someone screwed up and there is a penalty, it could add more. Don’t stress though, we will discuss rules and regulations next week!

Player of the Week:

Von Miller is an outside linebacker for the Denver Broncos. (We’ll cover positions later) He was drafted in 2011, and has made strides in his career since. Following the Broncos’ Super Bowl 50 win, Miller was named the Super Bowl MVP.

Soon after he competed in season 22 of Dancing with the Stars. His moves weren’t as good on the dance floor as they are on the field, as he finished the competition in 8th place. (I’d still like to tango with him, if you know what I mean.) This year he made history as the highest paid defensive player in the NFL, signing a 6-year deal worth $114.5 million. This fashion-conscious, future chicken farmer, light-hearted jokester somehow still has the word “single” next to his marital status. If you aren’t in love with him yet, good! Because I call dibs.

Be sure to come back next Friday, as we will be covering Rules and Regulations. Plus, you won’t want to miss our next Player of the Week! Happy football watching, and go Broncos!


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Kaitlyn is a recent grad the University of Wyoming, where she got her degree in Marketing. She has been the Campus Correspondent for a Pink level chapter, a Chapter Advisor to some amazing chapters, and now has the pleasure of being a Region Leader. Born and raised on the Western Slope of Colorado, her love for nature and the outdoors comes naturally. Kaitlyn lives for football season, but finds way to stay preoccupied during the off-season. She enjoys long walks in the mountains, beer as cold as her heart, and bacon on her burgers. You can follow Kaitlyn’s adventures on Instagram, @kaysoup.
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