Football for Dummies

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  • Edition: 6th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2019-06-12
  • Publisher: For Dummies

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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


Are you ready for some football?

New stadiums have been built, new stars have been born, and records have been broken since the last edition of Football For Dummies. This new edition is the fan's ultimate, up-to-date guide to all things pigskin. Perfect for new and veteran fans of the sport alike, it covers everything you need to be the most knowledgeable spectator in the stadium. 

With deep explanations of every position, analysis of offense and defense, and detailed strategies for play, football legend Howie Long and established analyst John Czarnecki present the nuts and bolts of football for fans of all ages and experiences. 

  • Tackle football basics and enjoy America’s favorite sport
  • Grasp the rules and regulations, positions, plays, and penalties
  • Appreciate the different aspects of the game at the professional and college levels
  • Learn about the latest NFL stadium technologies

Football For Dummies has something to offer fans of all ages, from peewees to the pros and everything between.

Author Biography

Howie Long is a former Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders defensive end with eight Pro Bowl appearances, a Super Bowl victory, and a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is a commentator on FOX NFL Sunday. John Czarnecki has reported on the NFL since 1979 and consulted for FOX NFL Sunday since it began in 1994. He has received four Sports Emmys.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

About This Book 2

Foolish Assumptions 2

Icons Used in This Book 3

Beyond the Book 4

Where to Go from Here 4

Part 1: Getting Started with Football 5

Chapter 1: America’s Greatest Game 7

Why Football Is the Best 8

Who’s Playing Football 9

How Football Began 10

Camp defines the rules 10

Grange helps spread the popularity of pro ball 11

How the Football Season Is Set Up Today 13

How Television Helped Increase Football’s Popularity 14

Why Millions Cheer Each Year for College Football 15

What Makes the Super Bowl Number One 16

Chapter 2: Meet Me on the Gridiron 17

The Big Picture: Stadiums 17

Getting Down to Business: The Field 18

Field dimensions 18

The marks on the field 19

The playing surface 21

Goalposts and other on-the-field equipment 23

Looking at That Funny-Shaped Ball 24

Meeting the Cast of Characters 25

What Football Uniforms Are All About 26

The jersey 26

Helmets and face masks 28

Pads 29

Shoes and cleats 30

Chapter 3: Them’s the Rules (And Regulations) 33

The Ins and Outs of the Game Clock 33

The Coin Toss and Kickoff 36

Downs Plus Yardage Equals Excitement 37

Scoring Points 38

Touchdowns 39

Extra points and two-point conversions 39

Field goals 40

Safeties 41

The Role of the Officials 42

Referee 42

Umpire 43

Head linesman 43

Line judge 44

Back judge 44

Field judge 45

Side judge 45

Familiarizing Yourself with Referee Signals 45

Penalties and Other Violations 50

Looking at 5-yard penalties 51

Surveying 10-yard penalties 54

Recognizing 15-yard penalties 55

Identifying specific pass-play penalties 58

Disputing a Call: The Instant Replay Challenge System 59

Part 2: Go, Offense! 61

Chapter 4: The Quarterback, Football’s MVP 63

Taking a Look at the Quarterback’s Job 64

Determining What a Quarterback Needs to Succeed 66

Arm strength 66

Accuracy 66

Competitiveness 67

Intelligence 67

Mobility 68

Release 69

Size 69

Vision 69

Quarterbacking Fundamentals 70

Settling into the stance 71

Dropping back 71

Handing off 72

Getting a grip 72

Reading a Defense 73

Cover one 73

Cover two 74

Cover three 74

Cover four 75

Calling Plays and Audibilizing 76

Acing Quarterback Math 77

Chapter 5: The Passing Game 79

Getting to Know the Passing Game 79

Recognizing the Role of Receivers 81

Achieving the proper stance 82

Lining up correctly 83

Catching the ball 83

Beating man-to-man coverage 84

Defining Important Passing Terms 85

Looking at Passing Patterns 88

Getting into the Shotgun Formation 91

Chapter 6: Hitting the Ground Running 93

An Overview of the Ground Game 94

Meeting the Men Who Play the Ground Game 95

The halfback, a team’s principal ball carrier 95

The fullback, protector of the halfback 96

Exploring Running Back Fundamentals 98

The basic skills 98

The job description 100

The stances 101

The number one priority 103

Lining Up: The Formations 104

Split-back formation 104

I formation 105

Offset I formation 106

Walking through the Basic Running Plays 107

Blast or dive 107

Counter 107

Draw 108

Off-tackle 108

Pitch 108

Reverse 109

Slant 110

Sweep 110

Fly sweep 111

Stretch 112

Trap 112

Veer 112

Run-pass option 113

Chapter 7: The Offensive Line at Work in the Trenches 115

Looking Down the Line 116

Centers 118

Guards 118

Tackles 119

The Lineman Physique: Fat Guys Doing the Job 120

Understanding the Keys to Successful Offensive Line Play 122

The proper stance 122

A solid base 123

Leverage 124

Toughness 124

Repetition 125

Uncovering a Lineman’s Worst Offense: Penalties 126

Getting Acquainted with Blocking Terms 127

Chapter 8: Offensive Plays and Strategies 129

Offense Begins with Players 130

Specialized Pass Offenses 131

West Coast offense 131

Shotgun offense 132

Some Newfangled Offenses 134

The wildcat 134

The spread 135

The pistol 135

Beating a Defense 136

Battling a 3-4 front 136

Running against a 4-3 front 136

Defeating the four-across defense 138

Beating press coverage 139

Passing against a zone coverage 140

Attacking a zone blitz 141

Throwing the post versus blitzing teams 142

Wearing out a defense with the no-huddle offense 143

Gaining Better Field Position 143

Throwing a field position pass 143

Opting for possession passes 144

Moving downfield with play-action passes 145

Offensive Strategies for Sticky Situations 145

Deciding whether to gamble on fourth-and-1 145

Running the two-minute drill 147

Scoring Offenses 149

Making the best run play on the goal line 149

Scoring inside the opponent’s 10-yard line 149

Going for two-point conversions 150

Disguising a Successful Play 152

Part 3: The Big D 155

Chapter 9: These Guys Are Huge: The Defensive Line 157

Those Big Guys Called Linemen 158

A close look at the D line 159

The types of defensive linemen 159

What makes a good defensive lineman 161

D-line lingo 162

The keys to a defensive lineman 164

Linebackers: The Leaders of the Defense 165

What linebackers do 166

How linebackers operate 166

The types linebackers 167

Defensive Alignments 169

Sacks, Tackles, and Other Defensive Gems 170

Chapter 10: The Secondary: Last Line of Defense 173

Presenting the Performers 174

Cornerbacks 174

Safeties 177

Nickel and dime backs 179

Studying Secondary Tricks and Techniques 180

Doing a bump and run 180

Staying with a receiver 181

Stemming around 181

Making a Mark: A Good Day in the Life of a Defensive Back 182

The Problem of Pass Interference and Illegal Contact 183

Examining the Two Types of Coverage (And Their Variations) 184

Man-to-man coverage 184

Zone coverage 186

Eight men in the box 186

The Nickel 40 defense 187

Chapter 11: Defensive Tactics and Strategies 191

Choosing a Base Defense 191

Examining the Different Defenses 193

4-3 front 193

3-4 front 195

3-4 eagle 197

Dallas 4-3 198

Flex 199

Zone blitz 200

46 202

Over/under 4-3 204

Cover two (and Tampa two) 205

Tackling Tricky Situations 207

Stopping a superstar 207

Stopping the two-point conversion 207

Stuffing short yardage 208

Part 4: Meet the Rest of the Team 209

Chapter 12: Special Teams, Masters of the Kicking Game 211

Who’s Who on Special Teams 212

What’s So Special about Special Teams 213

Placekicking 214

Kicking off 214

Returning the kickoff 218

Kicking field goals and PATs 221

Blocking field goals and PATs 224

Punting 226

Setting up and kicking the ball 227

Meeting the key performers on the punt team 228

Reviewing punt rules 229

Punting out of trouble 230

Examining the dangerous art of punt returning 231

Chapter 13: Coaches, General Managers, and Other Important Folks 233

A Team’s Fearless Leaders: The Coaches 234

Who does what on the coaching staff 235

The different coaching styles and philosophies 237

What coaches do when they’re not yelling on the sidelines 240

The Team’s Public Face: The Owners 242

An Owner’s Eyes and Ears: General Managers 243

The People Responsible for Finding Talent: Scouts 244

Keeping Players Strong and Healthy: Trainers and Team Doctors 245

Part 5: Football for Everyone 247

Chapter 14: Armchair Quarterbacks and Other Fabulous Fans 249

Deciphering the Announcers’ Slang 249

Following a Game on Television or Radio 250

Watching a game on television 251

Listening to a game on the radio 253

Attending a Game 253

Picking the best seats 253

Knowing what to focus on 254

Enjoying the halftime show 255

Keeping Up with Your Favorite Teams 255

The NFL Network and the NFL Redzone Channel 255

Internet sports sites 256

Fantasy football sites 256

Twitter 257

Mobile apps 257

Visiting the Football Halls of Fame 257

Chapter 15: Youth Leagues and High School Football 259

Determining When to Start Playing 260

Signing Up Your Kids for Youth Football 260

Pop Warner and similar programs 261

Punt, Pass & Kick 261

What Sets High School Football Apart 262

Rule differences 263

Style of play 264

Player lineups 264

Making the Most of the High School Game 265

Players 265

Coaches 266

Parents 266

Thinking Ahead to a College Football Career 268

Chapter 16: College Football — Where It All Started 269

Why People Love College Football 269

Big, Medium, and Small 271

Big-time schools 272

Small college powers 274

Examining College Conferences 275

The College Football Playoff 277

The selection process 277

The semifinals 278

The national championship game 278

The Heisman and Other Trophies 279

All-American and Other All-Star Teams 280

Chapter 17: Taking a Look at the NFL (And Other Professional Leagues) 283

The Birth of Pro Football 284

The NFL Conferences 285

The Pro Football Schedule 286

The regular-season games 286

The playoffs 287

The Super Bowl 287

Building a Team: It’s More than Drawing Straws 288

Drafting players out of school 289

Trading to get who you want 290

Going the free agent route 290

Status Is Everything: Determining Player Designations 291

The Business of Professional Football 293

Show me the money: Player salaries 293

The salary cap levels the playing field 294

Salaries are on the rise 295

Collective bargaining agreements 295

Big business and the television connection 295

Making the Players’ Health a Priority 297

Chapter 18: Playing Fantasy Football 299

How Fantasy Football Leagues Work 300

The Basics of How to Play 300

Starting a league 301

Choosing a fantasy football site 301

Drafting a team 302

Filling out your roster 303

Managing your team after the draft 303

Figuring your point total and winning 304

Tips for fantasy football success 305

Finding Information to Help Your Team 305

Part 6: The Part of Tens 307

Chapter 19: The Ten (Or So) Greatest Defensive Players of All Time 309

Doug Atkins 309

Dick Butkus 310

Kenny Easley 310

Joe Greene 311

Jack Ham and Ted Hendricks 312

Mike Haynes 312

Ken Houston 313

Sam Huff and Ray Nitschke 314

Deacon Jones and Merlin Olsen 314

Jack Lambert 315

Dick “Night Train” Lane 315

Bob Lilly 316

Gino Marchetti 317

Ed Reed 317

Deion Sanders 318

Lawrence Taylor 319

JJ Watt 321

Reggie White 322

Chapter 20: More Than Ten Top Non-Quarterback Offensive Players 323

Larry Allen 324

Jim Brown 324

Earl Campbell 325

Tony Gonzalez 326

John Hannah 326

Don Hutson 327

Jonathan Ogden 328

Jim Parker 328

Walter Payton 329

Jerry Rice 329

Barry Sanders 330

Gale Sayers 331

Art Shell 332

Gene Upshaw 332

Chapter 21: More Than Ten Greatest Quarterbacks of All Time 335

Terry Bradshaw 335

Tom Brady 336

Drew Brees 337

John Elway 338

Otto Graham 338

Peyton Manning 339

Dan Marino 340

Joe Montana 340

Fran Tarkenton 341

Johnny Unitas 341

Steve Young 342

Chapter 22: More Than Ten Greatest Coaches in the History of the Game 343

Bill Belichick 344

Paul Brown 345

Joe Gibbs 346

George Halas 346

Jimmy Johnson 347

Vince Lombardi 348

John Madden 349

Bill Parcells 350

Knute Rockne 351

Don Shula 352

Bill Walsh 352

Appendix: Football Speak 355

Index 365

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