Sports are full of rules, more rules in fact, than my last long-distance open-relationship. It’s complicated and exhausting. In order to help break it down, let’s just stick to one rule a week. Since baseball season is on its last swing, (pun intended) let’s start with football and we can weave in the NBA and college hoops when those tip off (see what I did there, again?). So each Friday, check out our “Rule of the Week” and before you know it, you’ll be calling plays like the pros.
Rule 1: False Start/Offsides
In football, both sides are lined up at the line of scrimmage when they’re ready and waiting for the quarterback to snap the ball to start the play. Now, if any offensive player moves to simulate the start of play, prior to the ball being snapped, it is called a “false start” and this will result in a 5-yard penalty for the offense. The end result is the ball being moved back 5 yards before the next play is run.
The ref will make the above motion to signal “false start”.
Now if both teams are again, at the line of scrimmage, and any defensive player moves to simulate the start of play before the ball is snapped it is called “offsides” and the defense will be penalized 5 yards (the offense will now have the ball moved five yards forward).
The ref will make this motion above if the call is “offsides”.
This may sound repetitive but think of it this way, when they’re getting ready to open the doors to Bloomingdales on Black Friday, the store employee (defense) will be penalized if she opens the door before the manager permits. And conversely, the shoppers (offense) will be penalized for trying to enter the store while it is still locked.