The NFL season is nigh upon us, and since women have been so kind (and eager) to explain stuff to the Man Writing a Romance, the Man Writing a Romance offers this primer on football for the ladies.

And a few guys he knows.

And those idiot referees.

• San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Alex Boone is a waist-bender. That means he is unlikely to be balanced enough to fend off defensive players who smash into him. Which would be every defensive player. I’m not sure, though, if this is a moral flaw. He might be a very nice guy, so I’d say we don’t have to hate Alex, but accept him as he is. Especially when the 49ers are playing the Packers.

• Some teams play 2-deep defenses; some play Tampa Cover 2. Don’t worry about it. No one knows what either of these things means. Not the most ardent fans. Not the announcers. Not the coaches who thought them up. Not the players who have to execute them on the field. No one.

• Three-technique defensive lineman is an actual position. For an explanation, see Cover 2, above.

• Some players are said to have “good foot speed.” If you think there is no other kind of speed for someone to have—you are right. In forty-plus years of watching football, I have never seen a player trying to run using any other part of his body.

• You see lots of names like Troy Polamalu and Maa Tanuvasu in the NFL these days. Guys with names like this are from American Samoa. Samoans make great football players because there are no football fields in Samoa, so the high school teams practice on gravel-covered vacant lots, which makes them extra tough. Seriously. It was on 60 Minutes.

• Being from Samoa also makes these guys extra handsome. Seriously. Look at the guys on romance novel covers, then look at Troy Polamalu.

• NFL games are played on Sunday afternoons, except for games played on Sunday nights. And Monday nights. And Saturdays. And Thursdays. And, sometimes, Wednesdays.

• That guy on your team did not commit pass interference. Unless your team is the Bears, in which case he also committed a personal foul and maybe two other penalties.

• The Bears uniforms are so ugly, the entire team should be penalized before the kickoff of each game. Even games they’re not playing in.

• If a play is “under review,” go to the bathroom. You have plenty of time. Sheesh.

• Is anyone else tired of Tim Tebow?

That’s it. All you need to know.

In the final analysis, eleven guys from one team line up against eleven guys from another. The team that has the ball tries to score points. The team that does not have the ball tries to stop them. Kind of like life, really.

Well, maybe not. But if you’re a guy, then yeah. You gotta score, and there are all these enemies trying to stop you. You must hit them harder than they hit you.

Or turn on the TV at noon on Sunday, crack open a beer and scarf down a bowl of really spicy chili with good friends.

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