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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at West Chester chapter.

The air is cool, the leaves are falling, and your dad is sitting in the living room yelling at the TV; It’s football season! Growing up (and attending college) in a suburb of Philadelphia, nearly everybody supports the Philadelphia Eagles. When the Eagles were in the Super Bowl last February I realized that people go crazy over football, but I know practically nothing about it. Considering the Eagles’ win streak so far (5-0), I have made it my goal to learn the basics of the NFL and share that information with other clueless girls! Whether you’re a Swiftie who wants to understand the hype over Taylor’s budding relationship with Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce or someone who can’t fathom why their boyfriend is so obsessed with a fantasy football lineup, this article is for you. 

Who’s Who

Let’s start with the most important part, the teams! Before watching football, you should probably decide what team you’re rooting for. There are 32 teams, equally divided into two conferences: The American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC). These conferences are mainly historical and help to keep rivalries and geographic regions together. Each of these conferences is broken down into 4 divisions: East, North, South, and West, where teams are placed roughly based on area. For example, the Philadelphia Eagles are in the NFC East, while the Kansas Chiefs are in the AFC West. 

Positions of the game are the next thing to understand. There are 53 men on a football roster, consisting of offense and defense. The offense mainly includes the quarterback (controls the ball/plays), running back (runs the football), wide receiver (catches the ball), tight end (acts as a receiver and blocker), and left/right guards and tackles (blocks and protects ball carriers). The defense includes linebackers, defensive lines, and defensive backs, who all try to stop the opposing offense from scoring. 

Basics of the Game

Each football game consists of 4 quarters, each allotted 15 minutes of playtime. Despite the quarters adding up to 60 minutes, an NFL game typically takes a lot longer. This is due to the game clock stopping for reasons such as incomplete passes, timeouts, penalties, change of possession, and more. Not to mention, a game may go into overtime if the score is tied at the end of the regular game. Halftime occurs after 2 quarters, which takes 12 minutes. All of these add-ons are the reasons why a football game is 3-3 ½  hours instead of one. 

Now let’s talk about various ways for the teams to score. You can probably tell when a team scores by listening to when the people huddled around the TV scream the most, but hopefully, this will help you figure it out by knowing what to watch for. The most obvious way to score points is a touchdown, which is worth 6 points. This is when the offensive team gets the ball in the endzone. If the team scores a touchdown, they get a chance to try and score again after a touchdown. If they score this point by making a field goal (kicking the ball into the goal), it is worth 1 extra point, but if they choose to try and get another touchdown, it’s worth 2 points (also called a 2-point conversion). A field goal on its own is worth 3 points. The last way to score is a safety, which is worth 2 points. This is when the defense tackles the offense player behind their goal line.

Fantasy Football 

Fantasy football is one of the most exciting, and stressful, parts of the football season. It is essentially a game in which you create your own team from real NFL players. You compete against other people in the league, oftentimes your friends, and score points based on the real performance of your players in games. There are more intricate elements to this, but I simply could not urge myself to dive into the complexity of it.  

Fantasy football helps to make watching the NFL more engaging and thrilling. Many people also use fantasy football as a way to win money. If you decide to make a league with your friends, you can have everyone put in a certain amount of money, and whoever’s team wins, in the end, gets the money. Some people also create dares for the loser to do, making it all more competitive and exhilarating. 


Sports betting, although different from fantasy football, is another fun way to keep football engaging. There are a handful of different apps used to bet on any sport, team, and circumstance to win money. As my boyfriend likes to say whenever I comment on how often he checks his bets, what he wins from sports betting (you’d be surprised how much money you can win) is the money for my Christmas gifts! 

The Big Game

The Super Bowl is one of the most well-known events in all sports. Usually occurring on the second Sunday in February, this football finale is probably the one you’ve seen the most. Some people even describe it as an unofficial American holiday. The Super Bowl is played by the winners of the AFC and the NFC, accompanied by an extravagant halftime show (usually a concert by a big artist). 

2020 Super Bowl Halftime Show

This year, the halftime show will be performed by Usher. Every Super Bowl since the very first in 1967 has been sold out and highly watched, which is why commercial time is the most expensive of the year. This is why a lot of people say they watch the Super Bowl for the commercials because they are often new and creative in hopes of impressing the audience. You may also be familiar with some of the spin-offs of the Super Bowl, such as the adorable Kitten Bowl or Puppy Bowl, which is essentially a Super Bowl remake with cute animals instead of humans.

There you have it, the basics of football! Now you can sit down with a group of football fanatics, understand the excitement of the game, and maybe even win some money on a fantasy football lineup. Happy football season!!

Brooke Darst

West Chester '26

Brooke Darst is a Communications major with a minor in Journalism at West Chester University. With interests in sports, mental health, entertainment, and the arts, she hopes to spark conversations and spread her ideas through writing.