Five things you didn’t know about football
There are many fun and exciting things about football, whether you’re on the field or just watching from home. There are also some things that you might not know about football that make it even more interesting to watch and play. Hopefully, these five lesser-known facts will change your perspective on the game—even if you’ve been a fan your whole life!
1) Why does the ball change at halftime?
To allow both teams an equal chance in grip and weather conditions. If a game were played for an entire ninety minutes on one side, it would mean one team would be better used to playing on that pitch than their opponents, with a distinct advantage. However, since FIFA rules stipulate that a game must be stopped at halftime and changed to ensure fairness between both sides, kickoff is delayed by 15 minutes while they do so. When does each league start?: In most countries, top-flight leagues begin to play in August or September and end in May or June. However, some leagues—like those in Brazil—begin later (in March) and end earlier (in December). Meanwhile, the English Premier League has no set schedule; instead, its fixtures are drawn up by a computer program based on results from previous seasons. Some games are played midweek, while others are held over until weekends.
2) The man who invented tackling
Originally developed to teach students how to fend off enemies with their bare hands, rugby has changed dramatically since its early days in 19th-century England. In addition to inventing tackling as we know it today, William Webb Ellis (the man behind what is now known as rugby) created one of the sport’s most intense rivalries when he picked up and ran with a live ball. The opposing team was so incensed by his actions that they demanded he is banned from playing for life. However, there is no evidence that any such ban ever took place. Instead, Webb Ellis became an accomplished lawyer and died at age 90. His legacy lives on through rugby matches played around the world each year. And for anyone who doubts whether or not he invented running with a ball, perhaps running with a ball is too modern of a term—try saying frogging instead.
3) Is the scoreboard in American Football always right?
Most American football fans agree that points are better than no points. But does that mean that scoring a touchdown is always a good thing? Actually, yes, it does. Unless your team only scores one touchdown in a game, at any point in time, both teams have an equal number of points (the exception being overtime). That means that, on average, more points are good! In fact, over more extended periods of time, most NFL teams score more points than their opponents and win games by large margins. This suggests that if you’re going to watch a game or two every week, you should root for high-scoring games rather than low-scoring ones. The same logic can be applied to fantasy football: If all else is equal between two players, choose the one who will score more points.
4) How do American players number their uniforms?
1 to 59, and 60 to 99 for offensive linemen. The other positions on offense (quarterback, fullback, etc.) use 40 to 49 and 80 to 89, respectively. On defense all positions from 40-49 (except for 43) use 50-59; defensive linemen use 70-79; linebackers 50-59 and 80-89; cornerbacks 30-39 and 80-89; safeties 30-39 and 50-59. For special teams, kickers wear 10-19 and punters/kick returners 20-29. Kickers also have a second number that is used when they are returning a kickoff or punt. This number is typically in the range of 20 to 29 but can be as high as 44 or 45 if there are more than four kick returners in a game.
5) All goals scored after 80 minutes go down as ‘a goal
One of my favorite pieces of trivia that I first learned while watching The Big Lebowski is that all goals scored after 80 minutes go down as ‘a goal’ in the English league. During a game, when at least 20 minutes have elapsed, and there’s still no score, if one team hits a long shot into an empty net and scores, it’s officially a goal. It doesn’t matter how many times they’ve tried to do so before that point—it counts as their first goal of the match. In fact, they can even miss every single shot on target before then and still get credit for scoring on their very last attempt!