Football is our nation’s most watched, most celebrated, and most complex team sport. It combines cunning strategy and raw statistical analysis, motivation and desire, quick decisions and blazing speed, brute force and disguised misdirections, elegant moves and vicious hits. It’s simply an amazing game—but only when you understand what’s happening. Here’s a short guide to taking the first step towards learning what the game is all about.

The NFL has put together a very brief overview of the rules of football. It’s a good summary that you should take a look at first. Once you’re done with that, it’s time for some videos.

For a very basic overview, watch this short video and then come back to dive in a bit deeper.

49ers fan “FootballWife” runs a youtube channel with several useful videos that I’ve posted below.

First, she’ll review some more of the basics, including some additional information on time.

Second, we’ll review the key concept of “down and distance” that guides the game.

Next, we’ll review the offense in a bit more detail.

Then it’s on to learning about more the defense.

Once you’ll done here, you should have the basics down. But don’t stop there——go out and watch some games. Listen to the commentators and try to pick up on what’s going on, and in particular, the strategies the teams seem to be employing. Football is an amazing complex sport, and there’s a world class chess match going on between opposing players and coaches on every single play. The more you understand, the more enticing and interesting the game gets.

…and…if you still want some more videos to watch, here are a couple of other “Betches Luv Football” videos, also from San Francisco. These are closer to the AbFab style, but worth a watch if you’ve already been drinking.

Special teams:

And finally, check out what an actual NFL playcall can sound like in the huddle.