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19 November 2018

A beginner's guide to watching football on Thanksgiving

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Spending time with family, watching football, and eating until we wished we were wearing elastic waist pants—they’re all traditions on this uniquely American holiday. For sports fans, football is to Thanksgiving like sauce is to wings.

At Buffalo Wings and Rings, we love helping families come together and bond over great food and great sports. And that’s why we want to provide the tools to bring it all together this Thanksgiving with Football 101.

If your knowledge of football stops at knowing what “NFL” stands for, it can be tough to connect with friends and family watching the game on turkey day.

If you’re already a football fan, maybe you feel guilty for watching the game on Thanksgiving because your significant other or kids aren’t into it. It can be hard if your passions in life (football and family) don’t mix well. We get it. And we want to help.

This quick guide to football can help you understand the basics and impress your friends, or help you explain the sport you love so you can watch it together.

The Players’ Positions

“The pass is caught by the tight end, Smith,” says the announcer. Once you see the roles of each player in the offensive line, you’ll say to yourself, “The tight end is just doing his job.” (And if you hear your cousin grumbling, “it’s about time Smith did his job,” you’ll get it.)

Everyone on the field has a specific job to do: Throw the ball, run the ball, catch the ball, block. Have a look at the offensive line.

Move it, move it

There are two ways to move the ball down the field: passing and running. NFL Players study complex playbooks on these maneuvers. Thankfully, you just need to watch the next two videos to have a better grasp on how the ball moves and teams gain yardage.

Passing Routes

You may hear friends talking about a team’s “passing game.” And announcers may talk about a Go Route or a Hitch or Post. After watching this next video, you’ll know what they’re talking about. Once you can recognize a few plays, you can start predicting what players might do next.

The Inside Run

An inside run is an important part of the running game for the offense. It’s the most basic of football plays. If a team can’t do this one well, they probably won’t do much else well either.

Impress your friends

We like to think that football and Thanksgiving are a modern pairing. But they’re not. The association between football and Thanksgiving is older than canned cranberry sauce or the Macy’s Day Parade. The tradition actually dates back to the late 19th century.

Did you know that the first turkey day football game between Princeton and Yale occurred in 1876? Other schools followed. When the NFL was formed in 1920, it took up the tradition and now hosts three games on Thanksgiving day.

Feed your inner sports fan

We hope these football basics help you feel smarter, appreciate the game, and connect with friends and family. And most of all—enjoy a Thanksgiving of family, food, and football.