Archive for the ‘TWIRS’ Category

TWIRS: Football

October 22, 2008
An American football player.

An American football player.

It’s been a little while since we’ve hit you with an installment of This Week In Random Sports.  Too long in fact.  In the past we’ve examined cricket, combaton, and even rifle shooting.  This week; however, we’ll jump back to the shores of America and educate you fine folks on the sport known there as “football.”

As with every TWIRS entry we need to set a base line by providing the rules of the game and dimension.  You can wiki American football, but there are few particulars you really need to know.  Football in the US is basically just a game that takes place between two teams of 11 players upon a grass (sometimes turf) field of dimesions 300 feet by 160 feet.  The basic object of the game is to get an oblong ball (the football) across a white chalk line for a score (a touchdown).  The scoring area itself is a 30 feet extension on either end of the playing field, brining the entire field of play to a 360 foot by 160 foot rectangle.

Turn structure in football is based upon possession of the ball (the offensive team) and a set of structured events referred to as “downs.”  A team has four events “plays” to achieve the goalline or a secondary goal known as a “first down”, so named because a teams’ down count returns to one after achieving this goal (ex: a team on their third down achieves a first down, their next play will be “on first down” again).  A play, or down, is ended when the offensive team’s player with the ball is “tackled” (wrestled to the ground) by a defensive player or the offensive player runs out of the boundaries of the playing field (“out of bounds.”)  Also, a thrown ball (explained later) that is not caught results in the end of a play.  Traditionally, a first down is earned by the offensive team moving their starting position (“field position”) 10 yards from their starting point.  Various penalties and plays resulting in their position moving backwards can affect the distance a team needs to move their position to obtain the first down.

The previously stated goal of scoring a touchdown is performed by a player running with the ball across the goalline.  Altenatively, a team can toss the ball (a forward pass or forward ‘lateral’) one time per play.  If a player catches (“receives”) the tossed ball they can continue to advance it toward their goalline after the reception of the football.  In addition, a player receiving a pass in their “end zone” (scoring area) is awarded a touchdown as well.

Touchdown scores are awarded 6 points for the offensive team.  Following the touchdown score teams are awarded an additional scoring opportunity from 2 or 3 yards (depending on league) from their goalline.  In most cases teams will elect to try for one point in this situation via a “field goal.”  A field goal requires a player to kick the football through a set of 10 foot “uprights” which are a set of poles arranged in a U-shape which varies in width depnding upon league and skill level as well.  A team can also elect to try to score a second touchdown via a single play; however, in this case this attempt is only worth 2 points.  It is conventionally known as “going for two” as the traditional field goal is only worth 1 point.

If a team feels they are incapable of scoring a touchdown within their four downs they can elect to do one of two things.  First, they can elect to kick a field goal from any point on the field at any time.  If this is not done immediately following a touchdown score it is worth 3 points regardless of distance from the goalline the kick is attempted.  The field goal is generally attempted on fourth down when a team does not feel they have a high percentage opportunity to either score a touchdown or convert a first down.  A missed field goal opportunity (often known as a “fuck-up”) results in the defensive team gaining possession of the ball at the point the field goal was missed.

Alternatively a team can “punt” or kick the ball to the opposing team if they feel they cannot convert a touchdown, first down, or a field goal attempt.  The strategic advantage of a punt is that the defensive team will receive the ball further from their own goalline than the current field position on the down the punt was attempted.  A punted football is a “live” play and the defensive unit can catch and “return” the football toward their own goalline until downed. 

Two other ways for a defensive team to gain possession of the ball are known as a “fumble” and an “interception.”  A fumble occurs when the ball is jarred loose from the offense player and the defense is the first to take possession of (“recover”) the ball.  On an attempted pass play the defense has the oppotunity to catch the ball (“intercept the pass”) and return it toward their own goalline.  An interception returned for a defensive touchdown is colloquially known as a “pick six” as the defensive player has “picked off” (intecepted) a pass and returned the ball past their own goalline for 6 points.

Many strategies are involved in the basic game play of football.  Offensive strategies consist of various set ups of players before the play starts (the ball is “hiked”) and various goals of moving the ball a short distance or long distance.  Whole systems have developed such as the West Coast Offense which generally consists of a “pass first” mentality based upon replacing running the ball with short pass plays. 

Defensive set ups are just as complicated and varied as offensive strategy.  They vary from sets based to stop the running game of the offense (a “goalline” strategy), sets based to stop the passing game (“nickel” and “dime” sets), to sets designed to stop no plays at all (see Mike Archer).

Football in America is played by most collegiate entities as well as a professional football league known as the National Football League.  In both levels teams play “seasons” of head-to-head matchups immediately followed by playoff systems.  In the NFL the best teams from season play meet one another in a bracket-based system of head-to-head matchups culminating in the Super Bowl.  While their is no Good Bowl or Great Bowl in the NFL, the Super Bowl does indeed crown the champion for that League for the previous season.

American collegiate football has a playoff system characterized by the Bowl Championship Series.  Stephen Hawking himself is mesmerized by the formula used by the BCS committee to decide who plays for the championship of collegiate football; however, there is some known formula which decides that teams who have lost games should contend for the title while teams who have yet to lose a game play one additional meaningless game.  In addition, despite is moniker of “Championship Series” there is in fact only one game played for the national title in college football.

We hope this sums up American football in a nutshell for those of you unfamiliar with the game.  Any questions about this sport, as always, are welcome in the comment section.  Now go out there and take in a game and enjoy watching 300lb. men bruise their way across the “gridiron!”

This Week In Random Sports: Cricket

July 2, 2008

Today, This Week In Random Sports brings you cricket.  No, not the shitty $10/month cell phone service that you only see on the North side of your city (or downtown depending on where you live).  We’re talking real, live British/Indian Association cricket.  Why you ask?  Well that’s an excellent question, and one which we have no good answer for.  Yet, we’ll try to formulate one.

It all started last week at a company outing to the local minor league baseball game.  I happened to be sitting in the near vicinity of two Indian folks (think dot com, no birds were harmed) and they began discussing cricket.  I was somewhat intrigued (read, bored and roasting in the 90 degree heat) so I chimed in.  They proceeded to explain how cricket works to me, and just like the old school game of telephone, I’ll relay those rules to you fine readers now after the jump.


We’re 400!!!

June 25, 2008

Well, technically, we’re not 400 days old until tomorrow, but much like 2SL we can’t keep help but bust out a little early.  For those of you who haven’t been here from the start this here web log started back in ought seven on April 22nd.  That parting shot fired over the wall of the Internets at Lexington Herald Leader resident write John Clay was our first foray into this odd world of sports blogging. 

Since that day we knew we’d never be the same again, and if you’ve read this site more than 2 days, we suspect you feel much the same about your own life since discovering us.  We’re sure you’ve never been more horrified.  Where’d we go from there? 

Well it’s hard to say.  A little baseball, a little racin’, a little college football and then it was New Year’s.  Time was flying and our hits were going up.  Soon, with the help of Deadspin, With Leather, and some well-timed Google image searches we were floating at about 1,000 hits per day.  We’re happy to say that’s still the case.  And we’re extremely happy that we’re had over 330,000 hits in a little over a year since we started this.  We’d like to get teary and thank everyone but we’ve still got some time to recap.  Hit the more for recaps of our best and worst ideas around this here blog.


TWIRS: Combaton!

January 30, 2008

combaton.jpgCourtesy of Deadspin via Deuce of Davenport, our weekly look at random sports is Combaton!  Man, it seems so much more interesting with an exclamation point after the word.  We won’t mull over the details of the game since DoD did a good job of explaining.  Mainly, you try to keep the other team from passing a baton all the way down the field by kicking them.

We’ll be honest and blunt:  we dissaprove of this sport.  While literally kicking the shit out of the other team while they run down the field seems like a great idea, we maintain that the creators of this sport just missed out on a winner here.  How could they have made it better?  Easy, football bats.

That’s right, these guys should have let eveyone on the field have one of those damned batons and stiffened them up like With Leather readers when Scar-Jo is mentioned.  They could beat the holy Hell out of one another with them too.  Then the objective could be to kick a ball (possibly a football to make it come full circle?) into some sort of goal.  Now that, my friends, would be a sport that we may be interested in. 

TWIRS: The IWFL, These Chicks Have Got BALLS!

January 16, 2008

iwflball_qvga.jpgSo I’m lying in bed at about 12:30 the other night reading “Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong” and I get a text.  Ladies, get your mind off imagining me lying in your bed, there’s more to this post than that.  What could possibly have happened at 12:30 on a weeknight? 

You see, as I’m getting older it’s not usually my boys or girls giving me a shout about an all-you-can-drink.  It’s usually someone’s car died, my brother’s having a baby, etc.  But this, my friends, was classic.  Thanks to the great BobWicket, I get a message tipping me off to the IWFL.  Yes, friends, it is true.  There is actually a women’s official football league.  This Week In Random Sports, we make some in depth analysis of “The Leauge”, as the ladies call it, and a run-down of all the IWFL ladies, just after the more.


TWIRS: Gettin’ Your Guns Off

August 22, 2007

shootingtehguns.jpgThis Week In Random Sports (TWIRS) is a  column that runs occasionally on some Wednesdays.  Pretty much whenever eDay feels the need to bore sports fans with sports he finds either interesting, stupid, humorous, or just when he has nothing to say and wants to show hot pictures of athletes.

Okay, so technically the University of Kentucky is in the Great American Rifle Conference (GARC for those not in the know) in team rifle competition.  But in the spirit of SEC Week on APIAS we can’t consider any team affiliated with UK as anything but a Southeastern Conference team.

So grab your 12-gauge, a case of beer, and a couple of moon pies and please, please do not say PULL! after the jump.


TWIRS: Men’s Figure Skating

July 11, 2007


Few sports are more manly odd than men’s figure skating.  Just the thought of getting dressed up in tight pants, a frilly top, and enough hair gel to satisfy A.C. Slater sends chills down our spine.  Oh how we miss those days.  But this week in random sports, we’re strapping on our ice skates, getting our female friends to put on skimpy outfits, and doing some couple skating right after the jump.


TWIRS: The PBR, more fun than a barrel full of clowns

July 4, 2007

sweetnectar.jpgFor this most patriotic of holidays we want to wish all of our readers out there a happy Independence Day as this week in random sports, we go out West and venture into the territory of all those whiskey drinkin’, tobacco spittin’, fat girl lovin’ folks. 

That’s right, we’re doing a salute to the Professional Bull Riders Association.  So grab your lariat, pull on those boots, and find yourself a stud to ride because we’re going in depth after this jump. 


TWIRS: If Only It Were Sunday

June 27, 2007


Yesterday, the PBA announced their 2007-2008 tour schedule.  Tour stops this year include the standard Brunswick, NJ; Indianapolis, IN; and both Las Vegas and Reno out in the desert.  One of the more odd places where they will be hosting a tour event this year is Miller Park.  That’s right, the same place where the Brewers are trying desperately comfortably holding off the Cubs for first place in the NL Central will host a PBA tour bowling event. 

I’ll tell you how this thing is going to work after the jump.