Posts Tagged 'sports'

How do you watch football on TV?

American Football, of course. The college season has already begun, and the NFL is following close behind. I feel unprepared. My fandom and viewing skills have atrophied while in grad school. This is due to a variety of factors, namely that I felt like I didn’t have enough time to watch football, and I couldn’t watch my team, The Redskins, while living in Iowa.

But things are different now. For one, I’m not in grad school anymore; I’m unemployed. I have all the time in the world. Plus, I have decided, after another off-season full of Dan Snyder’s shenanigans, that I am renouncing Redskins fandom until he stops being the owner.*

*This could be a long time, although we’re inching closer to a crazed assassin scenario.

So anyway, I’ll be watching football again, as a liberated fan, and I need some tips. Not tips on who’s the Team to Watch, but tips on watching teams. What do you do with your eyes and brain as you watch a football game? Do you take it in as gestalt? Do you prioritize watching certain players, certain positions? Or is it simply a matter of keeping your eye on the ball? It just seems like there’s so much information in each play, too much to really process. Basketball seems barely manageable, but football has more than twice as many players to follow!

1. On broadcasts, you can’t really see downfield. Doesn’t this drive you crazy? How do you deal with the missing information? I think I tend to undervalue the contributions of receivers/cornerbacks because I only see bits and pieces of their struggle.

2. How do statisticians keep track of football? I understand what items they record and why, but how to they maximize their efficiency? How do they manage their focus?

3. I feel like I don’t have a very good understanding of O-Line and D-Line, even though they’re right in front of me on the screen. I blame this, again, on paying too much attention to the guy with the ball. At what point do you switch focus from one element of the game to another?

4. What do the O- and D-Line players do after the play goes deep downfield? Are they basically standing around? Are they following, huffing and puffing, in case there’s a fumble recovered by the defense?

5. What kinds of trends do you look for in the early parts of a game? When I watch college basketball, I like to keep track of points in the paint, because they seem like a more reliable indicator of future success.


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