“Je sais que tu adores ce sport…”

        — mon prof de français

Football. Fundamentally, I don’t think it’s changed all that much. But many of the rules have changed over time, adapting to better technology, increased risks and just smarter ways to play the game. Two other ingredients of what makes up the NFL have also changed, in my girl-opinion: uniforms, and the players’ personal styles. I’m not sure they’re better, but let’s just say I’ve noticed.

But what makes up a good call (and a bad one)  by the referees —  les arbitreshasn’t changed, no matter how much experience they lack have.

The Falcons are my team, and they’re undefeated right now. They’ve got a great quarterback, a talented offense and a strong defense. There are other good teams in the league, including the Green Bay Packers. I’m not really a Packers fan, and I was asleep last Monday night when the controversial touchdown call was made that resulted in a win for the opposing team. But like many other people, I watched the replay and I couldn’t believe the call. So on Thursday, I was ecstatic when the real experienced refs were back.

Yesterday, in an incredible match de foot between Atlanta and the Carolina Panthers, the Falcons won by two points after a final minute of terrific plays. Another close game followed: Green Bay against New Orleans. That game wasn’t without controversial calls, but despite that, the Packers won by a point.

Phew.

I just don’t think I could have handled them not winning again. I should probably like the Saints, I guess, with their French heritage and fleur de lis, but I just don’t — with their issues.

But hey, that could change.

I’ve changed about football. Mistakenly, I used to think (and I’m embarrassed to admit) that it was just a bunch of guys knocking each other down. But because:

1. a son of mine played it in high school

2. being a reader, I read How Football Explains America by Sal Paolantonio, The Blind Side by Michael Lewis and saw the movie (and because of Michael Oher, I love the Ravens)

3. and, we got a high-definition big-screen TV

my football conversion was born. I learned the rules and started to understand the game: Runners dodge, carry, break tackles and get yards. Passes are thrown and caught, sometimes by the opposing team. Kickers kick — and they have to do it well. Players protect the quarterback, who fakes, hands off or passes to a receiver. I’ve learned (most of) the penalty calls, though I still don’t always get what “holding” is, why “illegal motion” is bad and why we can’t have “forward laterals,” at least, occasionally.

Just kidding. I don’t really like any lateral passes.

Anything can happen in football, as the last sixty seconds of the Falcons-Panthers game demonstrated yesterday. In my view, each play is an un-choreographed dance (though I’m sure the coaches and players would say each one is quite well choreographed). But the truth is, it’s unpredictable.

Unfortunately, there’s no football in my novel (coming soon), but there is a very important hockey game. The French don’t have le foot, and I think they’re missing out.

Since I think they just might adore it. That would be a good call, n’est-ce pas?

One thought on “Le football américain, and good calls

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