The necessity of football knowledge, or lack thereof

  So I'm working on knocking out another piece for the Playbook Projector on 2-TE sets and Lance Kendricks and all that good stuff.  I should have it up soon (depending on video editing and conversion and all that stuff...), but as I was waiting for an mp4 conversion to finish up I started thinking about the purpose of the piece.  Well, it really wasn't the purpose, but the significance of football knowledge.

  All my boys growing up are Cowboys fans, having been weaned on the teat of the Cowboys of the 1990s.  Growing up in Texas, we watched football at all three levels as often as we could: high school, college and professional.  And yet, how many of my old crew understand a trips right whiz 24 belly?  How many understand the intents of various formations and balances and substitutions and blocking schemes and positional technicalities and...I could drop another two dozen items to that list, and it still wouldn't be complete.  In short, football is really effing complex.  Which begs the question: how much do you really need to know to be a real fan?

  Thoughts on football knowledge, my old crew of lethargic football fans and Dirk Nowitzki after the jump.

  Actually, let's start with Dirk.  At this point, if you care about basketball you know about the Mavs-Thunder game from last night.  If you don't, you don't, and you probably don't care.  One of the most interesting quotes I may have ever heard though, came from the Squirmin' German after the game in reference to the Mavericks push through last couple minutes of regulation:

We just ran [up and] down, we free-flowed. I don't even remember calling a play the last couple of minutes. We just ran down and pick-and-rolled and free-flowed it.

  When I heard this, I thought to myself, "WHAT THE F?"  It was an obvious reality, but one I had avoided dealing with.  In basketball, you can literally win the most important game of a season by freestyling.  The need for scripted plays is lessened by the ability of a single player to run a play basketball, to act as a quarterback, wide receiver and offensive line by himself.

  Can you imagine the Rams in a tight conference championship with Bradford drawing plays on his palm like you used to do when you were 11 years old?  Or how about not even drawing up a play?

Sam Bradford: "Hey Donnie, just run a direction, and I'll throw you the ball.  And Danario, you run a different direction.  And Greg and Austin, you guys are rookies so you run shorter directions and stuff.  Now let's go make shit up on the fly in the most important game any of us have ever played."

  I'm not saying basketball lacks complexity.  But when you have 22 people on a football field all of whom have incredibly intricate responsibilities and assignments, it can be very hard to know what the hell is going on.  It's actually damn near impossible.  Which begs the question, "How much should I know as a football fan?"

  Spencer touched on this at EDSBS in April of last year, but he focused on what fans "should" know, on the required knowledge.  I'm just interested in what you guys think.  What level of football knowledge do you want to have?  Do you already have it?  Does accepting and investigating the subtleties of football make it less enjoyable to just watch?

  I honestly think that's part of it for my boys back in the D.  It's not that they couldn't "learn" football.  It's not that they don't have the intellectual capacity to digest sites like Smart Football or brophy; they just don't want to.  And IMO, it's because they enjoy the blissful ignorance.  Sure, it's hard sometimes to watch football with them now.  A running back is gifted a giant lane, and they talk about the running back's talents without giving an ounce of credit to the offensive line.  They talk about touchdowns and tackles without recognizing that those are entirely relative statistics to conditions that are out of a player's control.  But so what?

  It's a question I have my own answer for, but I lack the ego to promote my own opinion above that of the community.  So I'll throw it at you guys.  How much football knowledge do you want?  Does it take away from the simple enjoyment of yards and hits and points?  Does the Playbook Projector get in the way of lockout news which we all love so much?!

  Holler.

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