The NFL season is here, and for some, that means watching your favorite team play again. Others, however, have no idea of football until the Super Bowl. If you haven’t read my other article on the basic rules of football you can check that out here. For now, I’ll be breaking down some of the more advanced football concepts, and a fan game, Fantasy Football.
Let’s start off by going over different types of plays. The two main concepts for plays are passing the ball or running the ball, but teams put all sorts of variations on the two. In this diagram by Tomahawk Nation, some of the most common routes run by receivers are shown.
As shown, a Quarterback has lots of routes to throw to, and coaches design plays with all of them in mind. There are multiple variations on passing plays, some of the most common being play-action (Play that appears to be a run but turns into a pass), and screens (Short pass to an eligible receiver, assisted by blockers). Run plays also have variations including draws (Disguised as a pass), Quarterback Runs (Quarterback holds onto the ball and runs it himself), and Jet Sweeps (Wide receiver takes the ball as a running back). Coaches design their plays based on the players that they have and their specific skills.
Next, let’s go over schemes or strategies/styles that teams use to be successful. Schemes exist on both offense and defense and every team employs one. Schemes consist of teams’ playbook and play styles and coaches develop them throughout their tenure. Some popular offensive schemes you may have heard of are West Coast, Smashmouth, and Option. On defense, coordinators base their schemes on what type of players they have on the field. The most common being 4-3 (4 D-Lineman 3 Linebackers), and 3-4 (3 D-Lineman, 4 Linebackers). Coaches choose and change their schemes based on their players’ abilities. If their players excel in a certain area, they rework the scheme to fit their players’ talents.
Finally, let’s break down one of football’s most popular draws, fantasy football. Fantasy football is a game in which you’re the owner/coach of your own football team. Competing against other people, you choose a squad of NFL players and score points depending on their on-field performance in a particular week. The better a player scores (Touchdowns/yards) the more points you score on your team, and the team with the higher number of points scored wins the week. The teams with the most wins advance to the fantasy playoffs and continue playing until 1 team wins it all.
Fantasy sports are common among groups of NFL fans and the fantasy industry has grown tremendously over the past couple of years. If you’re invited to play in a fantasy league, there are millions of articles on strategy and players that you can read. There are many variations of leagues and scoring types, so be sure to read up on the one your league is using. Fantasy football has been a staple in the NFL for many years and will continue to be one of the most popular things among fans
Overall, football is a sport that can be enjoyed from many different interest levels. There’s always more to be learned about a complex game like football, and if there’s enough interest I’ll be doing a part 3 of this article series.