Football may not have quite the same American cachet as baseball and apple pie, but it's still a national tradition. Even if you don’t play the game, watching the fast action, tricky plays and hard-hitting tackles can be a thrill. You can enhance the game even more with some fun football facts that include a bit of history and legend.
A Safety is Not Very Safe
One play is called a safety, though is not very safe at all for the team that gets tackled. A safety happens when the team on defense tackles the offensive team in its own end zone, a place the offensive team does not want to be. The team that tackles the opposing player gets two points for keeping the other team stopped up in its end zone. Safeties are not that common in professional football, the Fun Trivia website notes, so it’s a big deal when teams score one.
Positions Say What the Players Do — Usually
Don’t be confused by all the different football positions, as most of them describe the kind of action a player usually does. Kickers kick. Punters punt. Running backs run with the ball. Wide receivers are the guys that catch, or receive, the ball after they run up the field. The quarterback ... well, he throws the ball or hands it off to running backs. The quarterback term comes from rugby, where the quarterback would stand one-quarter of the way back on the field from the forward players, Word IQ explains.
Everyone Loves the Quarterback
The quarterback gets a lot of attention and is often the star of the team, although no team works without teamwork from everybody. The quarterback is in the center of the action. He’s usually the guy who grabs the ball right after it’s snapped, then throws it to one of his receivers, hands it off to a running back or tries to run with the ball himself. One very famous quarterback is Joe Montana, who played for the San Francisco 49ers. He was on the winning team in four Super Bowls and named Most Valuable Player in three, the IX Games website notes.
Pantyhose and Chunky Soup
Some players become well known for things other than their playing skills. Joe Namath was a notable quarterback for the New York Jets, but also has another claim to fame: he was a television pitchman for pantyhose. Namath endorsed the Beautymist brand of pantyhose in the 1970s, saying he didn’t wear them, but if they made his legs look good, they can make women’s legs look good.
Sometimes superstitions follow football around, like the Campbell’s Chunky Soup legend. Any professional football player that has his picture on the soup can, the story goes, ends up injured or otherwise out of the spotlight. The legend might be true, the Snopes website explains, or it might not. There are many reasons why players end up injured or disappear from the spotlight — and being on a soup can before it happens might only be a coincidence.