American Football 101-CLG workshop at IHouse

Author name
Tierney Marey


It’s going to be a showdown…
Seattle Seahawks vs Denver Broncos…
We are all going to be watching on the biggest screen we can find…
The parties have been planned, pizzas are ready to be ordered

But, if you’re anything like me, American Football might just be a bit beyond your grasp. From my perspective, it just seemed to be a lot of men, with massive shoulder pads knocking each other to floor. Watching football over Thanksgiving weekend, I soon gave up trying to understand and just enjoyed the food. However, given that the Superbowl is such a HUGE deal here, I thought it would be very valuable to know the basics.

Luckily the CLG workshop on football at IHouse came to my, and many other’s rescue. Some of Duke’s very own footballers, former players Lex Butler, Partick Kurunwune, and Quan Stevens came to teach the lost and confused the basics. Though they gave us a simplified version there were so many positions, penalties and score possibilities – no wonder I couldn’t keep track on my own!

Here are what I think are the most important things to know when watching the Superbowl on Sunday.

A touchdown is worth 6 points.
An extra point or two-point conversion is possible after a touchdown (the kicker has to kick the ball through the goal posts, or for two points move the ball from the 2 yard line across the touchdown line again)
A field goal, worth three points, occurs when the kicker kicks the ball through the goal posts from any point in the field.
    It’s not only the offensive team (those with the ball) that can score. The defensive team can, too!

    Penalties can pretty much be awarded for anything, the list is enormous, with specific types of penalties applying to certain players. For the Superbowl when a penalty is called, my advice? Don’t try and figure out why.
    My personal favourite, you can’t hold a player but no worries, you can smash him to the floor. Problem solved.

    This game is a big deal! So get into it! Pick a team to support, go to a Superbowl, eat the chicken wings and pizza and embrace the excitement that this game generates here in the U.S.A.

The three former players expressed that the game of football definitely has taught them life lessons, even off the field. Moderated by Byron Turner of the Duke Center for Multicultural Affairs, the discussion was really insightful and the audience seemed very happy to have the opportunity to talk with the real players. I think American Football 202 may be on it's way someday...until then...HUT! HUT!

Tierney Marey
Sydney, Australia
Undergraduate at Trinity College of Arts and Social Sciences