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WEEKLY WHINE

Stump Edvard regarding the NFL

The NFL has never been more popular. Viewers have tuned into television broadcasts of NFL games in their millions to witness Joe Buck describe the proceedings while his voice is at an intensity level that is continually changing, yet always wrong. Fans have telephoned in to talk radio programmes in enormous quantities in order to debate when rushing the kicker becomes running into the kicker, and when running into the kicker becomes roughing the kicker.

But one person who has not come down with helmetball fever is our very own “Dynamite Eating” Edvard van de Kamp. We have heard from many of you who have recently begun following the NFL and who are puzzled about many of its stranger aspects [eg, why wife beating warrants a lighter penalty than allowing a bit of air to escape from some of the game balls]. So we thought it might be fun to let Edvard tackle your questions about the NFL.

We have just received word from Edvard that he is throwing a flag at that pun. He also notifies us that that word does not mean what we think it means.

Dear Edvard: I am watching today’s NFL game between the Cleveland Browns and the Seattle Seahawks. Both teams have their names on their uniforms: the Seahawks on the shoulder, and the Browns have “Cleveland” on the jersey and “Browns” on the pants. Why don’t more teams put their names on their uniforms?

– Mary Eschington
Akron, OH, USA

Dear Mary: I don’t know, but I would like to see more team names on jerseys. In fact, I think the numbers on the front of the jerseys should be smaller, so that the team name could be larger.

Dear Edvard: I went to an NFL game for the first time today. A couple of times during the game, I heard the referee announce that a certain number had reported as eligible. What does that mean?

– Laishelle Hart
Providence, RI, USA

Dear Laishelle: An ineligible receiver is a player who is not allowed to touch a forward pass. In the NFL, at least seven players on offense must line up on the line of scrimmage at the start of the play. All of these players, except the outermost ones, are ineligible receivers. If a player whose number is between 50 and 79 lines up in an eligible position, he must report to the referee before the play in order to become an eligible receiver.

Figure 1: Eligible receivers

Dear Edvard: Why are the Jacksonville Jaguars still a thing?

– CJ Backley
Commerce, CA, USA

Dear CJ: Because they are actually fairly popular in Florida. They have averaged more than 59,000 fans per home game for six consecutive years, in a stadium with a nominal capacity of 66,851.

Dear Edvard: What is a tight end?

– Ofelia Marguerite
San Mateo, CA, USA

Dear Ofelia: A tight end is an offensive player who lines up as one of the outermost players on the line of scrimmage, adjacent to another lineman. As one of the outermost players, the tight end is an eligible receiver. Tight ends are normally versatile players, able to either block or receive passes.

Dear Edvard: Wait, hang on. Can we go over the ineligible receiver thing again?

– Jemita Harbasz
Racine, WI, USA

Dear Jemita: Sure. Players who are allowed to touch a forward pass are called eligible receivers. The other players are called ineligible receivers.

  • Defensive players are always eligible receivers.
  • Offensive players on the line of scrimmage:
    • The outermost ones are eligible receivers.
    • The others are ineligible receivers.
  • Offensive players in the backfield:
    • The player who receives the snap [normally the quarterback] is an ineligible receiver until another eligible receiver touches the ball. At that time, he becomes an eligible receiver.
    • The others are eligible receivers.
  • Before the play, an offensive player wearing an ineligible number [50-79] who lines up in an eligible position must report to the referee that he is lining up in an eligible position. Otherwise, he will be an ineligible receiver.
  • When a forward pass is touched by an eligible receiver, all offensive players become eligible receivers.

Dear Edvard: My friends were watching a bunch of NFL games today. In one of the games, the field had yellow 50s in the middle. They said that was because the 50th Super Bowl is being played this season. Is the NFL really 50 years old?

– Miko Amibale
St Paul, MN, USA

Dear Miko: No. The NFL is currently playing its 95th season. The Super Bowl has only been played since 1967.

Dear Edvard: Wait, they’re not celebrating the 95th season? Wouldn’t it be awesome if they did? I mean, it would mean you’d have to make the field twice as long so that there would be a 95 yard line. But who wouldn’t want to watch an NFL game on a 200 yard field?

– Jacqueline McVavvert
Madison, WI, USA

Dear Jacqueline: That would be so awesome. Make it happen, NFL.

Dear Edvard: I have just come to America, and I attended my first gridiron game today. However, I was sad to learn about the controversy about the Washington Redskins’ name. I heard that the team owner says that the name honours indigenous people. But that seems silly. Even if they are trying to honour people, if some of those people say that they do not feel honoured, why would they not simply change the name? Why would they alienate a portion of their potential customers?

– Silvia Khabiniova
Bethesda, MD, USA

Dear Silvia: Because they’re dumb.

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