Amer­i­can Foot­ball

Who’s Who and What the Fuck’s Go­ing On in

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QUAR­TER­BACK: The most im­por­tant mem­ber of the team, and one of only two play­ers who ever get to touch the ball. It is his job to catch the ball and hop back­wards while ner­vously try­ing to de­cide when to throw it to the Wide Re­ceiver. WIDE RE­CEIVER: It is this player’s job to run up to the end and catch the ball while every­one else is fight­ing. Then he has to hurl it to the ground in cel­e­bra­tion and per­form a se­ries of well-re­hearsed dance moves that can last up to fif­teen min­utes. Dur­ing this time, both teams go off and two com­pletely new teams come on. REF­ER­EES: With 22 ag­gres­sive, testos­terone­fu­elled gi­ants on the field at any one time, it is im­por­tant to keep or­der. For this rea­son, an Amer­i­can Foot­ball match has not just one, but more than a dozen ref­er­ees. Eas­ily spot­ted thanks to their hum­bug-striped tops, black caps and Ber­tie Wooster-style white plus-fours, it is their job to throw a yel­low flag in the air and halt the game ev­ery fif­teen sec­onds to al­low the TV to show 5 min­utes of ad­verts while a brass band made up of peo­ple dressed like nut­crack­ers marches up and down the pitch play­ing the theme from Monty Python. COACH: A 60-year-old man with sky-high blood pres­sure and an astro­naut’s buz­z­cut. It is his job to draw ar­rows on a white­board and scream at his play­ers ev­ery time they come off the field while try­ing not to burst the bulging wig­gly vein in his tem­ple. CHEER­LEAD­ERS: It is the job of these at­trac­tive, nu­bile and flex­i­ble women to whip the crowd up into a frenzy by do­ing the splits and wav­ing pom­poms while ex­plain­ing to the crowd how to spell the team’s name. Af­ter their cheer­lead­ing days are over, many of them ac­tu­ally go on to marry the play­ers. Those who don’t, of­ten pur­sue suc­cess­ful ca­reers in the adult en­ter­tain­ment busi­ness. SCRIM­MAGE: A hud­dle of play­ers who are dis­cussing the next play. Af­ter shout­ing a se­ries of tac­ti­cal, coded num­bers and the words “Hut! Hut!” at each other and nut­ting each other’s hel­mets, the quar­ter­back will catch the ball, run back­wards a bit, and then lob it to the wide re­ceiver, just like ev­ery other fuck­ing time. MAS­COT: A pro­fes­sional ac­tor who has spent five years at drama school, and the last ten years in­side a foam suit at 150˚F, dressed as a cross be­tween a bald ea­gle and a hip­popota­mus, and who is still dream­ing of the day when that lon­gawaited call from Hol­ly­wood will come.

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