Football Facts Worth Knowing: Understanding the Game

football factsOverseas, the word “football” actually means soccer, conjuring up images of towering stadiums, World Cup events, rowdy fans, and players running around on the field and kicking around a soccer ball. In the United States, however, “football” means something entirely different. While baseball is known as the great American pastime, there is little doubt that football has over the years become the most popular sport amongst the American public.

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From college football programs that draw tens of thousands of people to campus each Saturday during the fall semester, to professional football teams with annual budgets so big that most of us can’t even comprehend them, football has become an industry and an empire in and of itself. Unsurprisingly given the nationwide infatuation with the sport, years of football competition have built a rich and vibrant history for the sport, filled with unique realizations and idiosyncratic facts. Whether you’ve been looking to learn more about the sport of football or just want to impress friends at your next football-watching barbeque, here are a few football facts worth knowing.

The Super Bowl

Even people who don’t care much for football and don’t watch any other games all year will still normally tune in for the Super Bowl. Over the years, the game has evolved from a modest championship game to a gigantic media spectacle, where 30-second advertising spots sell for $4 million, where the halftime show routinely tries to pack an entire concert experience into a 15-minute time slot, and where tickets can routinely sell for upwards of $4,500.

All of this – as well as the game itself – has combined to make the Super Bowl a television ratings juggernaut like nothing else. Super Bowl XLVIII in February 2014 currently holds the title as the most-watched event in television history, with ratings accounting for 111.5 million viewers. In fact, nine of the top 10 most-watched TV programs in history have been Super Bowls. The other program to land in the top 10, the 1983 series finale for the beloved TV show M*A*S*H, is also the only non-football-related TV program to ever break the milestone of 100 million viewers. And if you are really into it and want to become and at home sportscaster for those special games with friends, you can take a Udemy course on sportscasting.

As for the grand prize of the Super Bowl – the gleaming Vince Lombardi Trophy itself – viewers often see football players hoisting the trophy triumphantly toward the skies, but have little to no idea how big the trophy really is. In reality, the Vince Lombardi Trophy measures 20.75 inches in height (or 1 foot, 8 ¾ inches) and weighs 107.3 ounces (or approximately 6.7 pounds). The trophy is also estimated to be worth more than $25,000. Not bad for a trophy.

Player Superlatives

There are a slew of different topics that football obsessives could delve into if they wanted to know everything about the sport, but for most die-hard NFL fans, the most important facts are the ones that relate back to the players themselves. Indeed, knowing player statistics can help you to drive many a conversation about football’s greatest player ever, or even to start your own fantasy football league.

In many circles, Jerry Rice is considered the greatest football player in NFL history. A wide receiver with a slew of impressive statistics, Rice scored 1,549 receptions, 22,895 receiving yards, and 208 touchdowns in his career. Playing for most of his career as the star player of the San Francisco 49ers, Rice helped drive the team to three Super Bowl victories in his 1985-2000 tenure.

Other picks for the greatest football players in history include Quarterback Joe Montana, another 49ers veteran who was picked in the third round of the draft due to his size, but went on to become the only player in history to be named Super Bowl MVP on three separate occasions. As for more recent players, New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady certainly has made himself a contender for the “Greatest of All Time” bracket. Picked in the sixth round of the NFL draft and hailing from the University of Michigan, where he had struggled to find playing time in the shadow of other players, Brady has led the New England Patriots to five Super Bowl berths, winning three or them and scoring the Super Bowl MVP title in two.

Miscellaneous Facts

Sometimes, the most fun things to know about football are the most random or “useless” pieces of trivia, especially if you don’t consider yourself an ardent fan or consistent follower of the sport.

For instance, score statistics in football are fascinating for how wide a range they can cover. The highest-scoring game in the history of the NFL took place on November 27, 1966, when the Washington Redskins spanked the New York Giants in a 72-41 game. That score combines to a figure of 113 points between the two teams. Only three other games in NFL history have pushed the score total up above 100 points.

The lowest-scoring game in NFL history, on the other hand, is technically 0-0. These games took place in the 1920s, when no-score draws were still permitted and possible in the NFL. However, in football’s modern era, two games have ended with a 2-0 result, and ironically, they were both played between the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers. The first of these took place in 1932 and saw the packers take the narrow, anti-climactic victory. In 1938, the score repeated, but the results were reversed, with the Bears prevailing for the 2-0 victory. Confused by how these scores were possible? Take Udemy’s “football simplified” to gain a more thorough grasp of the game and its scoring system!

Plan a Fun Football Party

From sharing your knowledge of interesting football facts to cooking a slew of gourmet snacks, there are an endless number of ways to plan a football bash that you and friends will remember for years. Want to actually play a game of football before turning on the TV and cheering on your favorite team? Read this blog to bone up on your wide-receiver drills! Or would you rather just whip up some great food and then just kick back and enjoy the game with your buddies? Modify the lessons from Udemy’s “cooking for a date” course to help you dream up a few appetizers for your party.