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Other titles in the Complete Idiot's Guides series:
Complete Idiot's Guide to Football (Complete Idiot's Guides)by Joe Theismann
Synopses & Reviews
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Football, Second Edition, provides new and intermediate football fans with all the information they need to understand and enjoy football. From high school to the NFL, coverage includes the basics of offense and defense, players, rules, strategies and even what to wear! New coverage for this edition includes: the draft - how it works for teams and players including parity, new technology on the field including instant replay, dangerous referee flags and rules changes for college and pro ball, XFL, arena league, expansion teams and NFL Europe, and the changing business and team strategy for professional football today.
From high school games to the NFL, this guide features the basics of offense and defense, players, rules, strategies, and even what to wear. New coverage for this edition includes how the draft works, new technology on the field, and XFL, arena league, expansion teams, and NFL Europe.
About the Author
Joe Theismann was the winning quarterback in Super Bowl XVII, a two-time Pro Bowl player, and the most productive quarterback ever for the Washington Redskins. In 1983, he was voted MVP of both the NFL and the Super Bowl. He co-hosts ESPN's popular NFL Countdown and Primetime. He has been inducted into the GTE Academic All-American Hall of Fame and the Sports Hall of Fame of New Jersey.
Brian Tarcy has authored or co-authored six books on both sports and business, including a biography of Mario Lemieux for Chelsea House.
Table of Contents
I. LEARNING THE RULES AND THE LORE.
1. So You Want to Be a Monday Morning Quarterback.
The Lure of the Game. The Passion. Why Is It So Violent? The Connection Between Football and Community.
2. Looking at the Field and the Ball.
Why Is the Ball Shaped Like That? The Object of the Game. The Dimensions and How They Figure into the Game. What Is a Goal Post? Hashmarks. The Chains, the Sticks. The Imaginary Line That You Can See. Artificial Turf or Natural Grass? Indoors or Outdoors? The Red Zone.
3. You Get Six Points to Do What?
Touchdowns. Extra Points. Two-Point Conversions. Field Goals. Safeties. Quarters and Halves. Game Time Doesn't Include Commercials. The Two-Minute Warning. Overtime. The Play Clock. Time-Outs. Play the Game. The Anatomy of a Play.
4. Every Player Has a Different Job.
The Uniform. Always Eleven on a Side. The Offense. The Defense. Skill Players. The Trenches. Special Teams. Kickers Are Different. Rookies and Veterans.
5. Coaching: Win, Get Fired, or Go on TV.
X's (or V's) and O's. Film Study. Motivation. Coordinators and What They Coordinate. The Progression from Position Coach to TV Personality. The Various Philosophies of a Blue-Collar Game. The Personality of the Coach and the Team.
6. Understanding the Lore.
The Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field. How It Began. How It Evolved. The 1960s—You Say You Want a Revolution… The 1970s—When Perfect Was the Standard. The 1980s—When Guys Named Joe Went to the Show. The 1990s—When the Teams Moved. And into the New Millennium.
II. LEARNING THE OFFENSE AND THE PENALTIES.
7. The Quarterback Is the Movie Star.
Two Choices: The Hero or the Goat. It All Starts Here. Working the Pocket. Spirals. Touch Passes and Bullet Passes. Reading Defenses. Calling Audibles. Looking off Defenders. Pump Fake. Throwing It Away. The Bomb. The Hail Mary. Running with the Ball. The Passer Rating System. The Evolving Nature of Quarterbacks. Joe's Top Five Quarterbacks. Statistics to Look for in a Great Quarterback.
8. The Offensive Line: They Called Mine “The Hogs”.
Hogs and Such. Who Are Those Five Big Guys? One Line, Two Jobs. They Get Noticed When Something Goes Wrong. Holding Is Only Holding If You Keep Holding. Blocking Schemes. The Push Off of the Line. Joe's Top Five Offensive Linemen.
9. The Receivers: Glue on Their Fingers and Rockets in Their Shoes.
Who Are They? Speed Guys. Tight Ends—Like Hogs with Hands. The Patterns. The First Five Yards Off the Line. Going over the Middle: Leave Your Sanity on the Bench. Yards After Catch—Also Called YAC. End-Around—It's a Trick Play. Joe's Top Five Receivers, Starting with Jerry Rice.
10. The Running Backs: Great Ones Control Games.
The Importance of the Running Game. Fullbacks: Leading the Way. Halfbacks: Ball Carriers. The R Back. Halfbacks and Fullbacks, a Great Tag-Team. Vision and Quickness. North-South Runners and East-West Runners. Catching Passes: A Safety Valve and More. Formations for Running Backs. Between the Tackles: The Meat and Potatoes of the Running Game. The Sweep. The Draw Play. Joe's Top Five Running Backs, Starting with Jim Brown.
11. Strategies: A Lot of Ways to Go Eighty Yards or One.
Run, Throw, or Mix It Up. Don't Make Mistakes. Formations: Playing Chess with Giants. The Shotgun. Smashmouth Football. Air-It-Out Football. Big-Play Football. The West-Coast Offense. The Run-and-Shoot. The DNA of Offense. The Two-Minute Drill. The Size of the Field. When to Go on Fourth Down.
12. Advanced Offensive Strategies: Like Rocket Science.
The Communication System—Say What? Where Do the Runners Run? The Quarterback Isn't Listening to Elvis. Audibles: Changing the Play. Shifting. Motion. Blitzes. Tackle Eligible to Catch a Pass. Trick Plays. The Game Plan. Building the Perfect Offense.
13. The Guys Who Control the Chaos.
Who Are These Guys and Where Are They? A Few Basic Referee Signals. Controlling the Chaos. Instant Replay.
III. LEARNING THE DEFENSE AND SPECIAL TEAMS.
14. The Defensive Line: Get the Ball, Hit the Quarterback.
Who Are These Guys? Stopping the Run. Pass Rushing. Joe's Top Five Defensive Linemen.
15. Linebackers Do Everything.
The Menu: Three Linebackers, or Four? In the Middle. The Outside: A Place to Raise Havoc. Two Different Outside Linebackers. In the Mind of a Linebacker. The Spy. Joe's Top Five Linebackers.
16. The Secondary: The Last Best Hope.
Small, Quick, and Fearless. Cornerbacks: Life on an Island. Safeties Are Enforcers. Zone or Man-to-Man Coverage. Bump and Run. Joe's Top Five Defensive Backs.
17. Strategies: Attack or React.
Attacking vs. Reacting. Basic Alignments: The 4-3 and the 3-4 Defenses. Stopping the Run. Stopping the Pass: Zone or Man-to-Man Coverage. Situation Substitutions: Welcome to the Age of Specialization. Blitzing. Short Yardage and Goal Line Situations. The Prevent Defense.
18. Advanced Defensive Strategies.
How Defensive Philosophies Became Important. Pass Coverage Packages. Zone Blitz. Building the Perfect Defense.
19. Special Teams Really Are Special.
Games Can Turn on Special Teams Play. Two Ways to Be Special. Kickoffs: Rolling Thunder. Kickoff Returns: A Flash of Lightning. The Onside Kick. Punts: Your Turn. Punt Returns: Life on the Edge. Field Goals and Extra Points.
IV. COLLEGE AND PRO.
20. College Football: More Than Marching Bands and Cheerleaders.
The Pageantry. What Is the NCAA? Divisions I-A, I-AA, II, III. The Conferences. Notre Dame and Everybody Else. The Bowl Games. The All-Star Games. The Heisman Trophy. The College Passer Rating System. So What's All This Got to Do with the Pros? The Draft.
21. The Draft: The Best Day for the Worst Teams.
How the Draft Works. Finding the Players. Evaluating the Players: Welcome to the War Room. Testing and Testing. Money, Dreams, Money, Jobs, Money—and Did I Mention Money? The Pressure to Be Good NOW. Decision-Making: The Role of Free Agency. Mocking the Draft. Some Great Bits of Draft Lore. Beware the Bursting Bubble. Draft Day: When They Call Out Your Name.
22. Alternative Football Leagues.
The NFL: A History Lesson. The Modern Companion Leagues. The XFL: Definitely NOT the NFL.
23. The NFL: The Best in the World.
The NFL Is “The Show”. The NFL Is a Business. The Superstar League. The Culture of the Game. How Teams Are Built. The Players.
24. The Road to the Super Bowl.
Slice Up the League. The Regular Season Is Too Exciting to Be “Regular”. Cheer Loud, Your Team Needs You. Scheduling. Sixteen Games, Then What? Jack Up the Intensity Level for the Playoffs. The Super Bowl.
25. The Business of the Game.
The Collective Bargaining Agreement: To Know It Is to Love It. How Many Superstars Fit in the Salary Cap? It's a Riddle. Free Agency Isn't Free. Different Kinds of Money: Defined Gross Revenue. How Money Has Changed the Game. The Story of a Team Called the Cleveland Browns. Money on the Outside: Gambling.
26. Television and the Media: The Show about the Show.
Made for Television. There's No Business Like Show Business. The Other Side of “Up”. The Pregame Show: Get Ready, Get Set… The Game Is On! The Postgame Show: What Happened. Who Are Those Folks on TV? The Camera Takes You There. Newspapers and Magazines. Talk Radio. The Internet. Local and National.
V. THE ESSENTIALS OF FANDOM.
27. Game Gear: What to Wear.
Getting Ready to Watch: The Ritual. Official Game Gear. Some Logos Never Change, Some Do. Protect Yourself Against the Elements. Homemade Gear. Who Are These People? Joe's Top Five Original Fan Outfits.
28. The Joy of Being a Fan.
Tailgating Is a Profession, a Craft, and an Art. Consumption. Greeting Fans from a Foreign City. How to Visit Another City. We're Number One! Do Fans Matter? Consider This Story.
29. Rivalries: The Essence of It All.
You and Me, Outside—Right Now! Anytime, Anywhere. The Toughest Guy in the Neighborhood. Good Way to Start a Rivalry Is to Meet in the Playoffs. The Braggin' Bowls. How to Create a Rivalry. Joe's Top Five Rivalries.
Appendix A. Gridiron Talk Glossary.
Appendix B. National Football League Team Addresses.
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