Sports Snobbery, Vol 4: When fumbles aren’t fumbles, touchdowns aren’t touchdowns and that magical moment when the uneducated sports fan becomes insufferable

Oh goodness, I haven’t ragged on anybody in a while.  I mean I’m generally a nice guy.  Just ask anyone who knows me.  But there comes a time and a place where sports snobbery must rear its ugly head.  Blatant sports sins simply cannot go unpunished.

snob2Welcome to episode three of Sports Snobbery.

Let’s just say I was at a certain sports bar watching a certain football game recently.  Let’s also say there were, as one would think, a number of people interested in this particular game.  Furthermore, let’s just say there was a person at said bar who wasn’t exactly knowledgeable in all things football, which is perfectly fine, except for that fact that he overtly professed to be.

At that point, all bets are off, as you will soon see.

Trust me when I tell you I wasn’t the only one in the bar correcting what soon became the most annoyingly, clueless gentleman you’d ever have the displeasure of meeting.

Please allow me to share with you the painful moments that can occur at a sports bar when you’re unlucky enough to sit next to the wrong person.

There were two points during the game in question – and his corresponding comments – that nearly made my ears bleed.  The plays which prompted these comments were otherwise forgettable.  They were standard, run-of-the-mill football plays that became extraordinary when our antagonist blurted out statements that would make even the average sports fan cringe.

Play one: One of the players from one of the teams was in possession of the football; which player and which team are unimportant.  During the play in question, at first glance, the player had coughed up the football.  The ruling on the field was a fumble.  The only problem was the player’s knee was down.  Television replay immediately showed evidence that the call would be overturned.

Now, the rule in both college and professional football, and pretty much all football in general, is that the ground cannot cause a fumble.  So if the player in possession of the football has his knee down on the turf and afterwards the ball is stripped, the player is considered down.  No change in possession.

Knee downAs has become customary in both college and pro ball, the officials went to the booth to confirm that the ball had not been fumbled.  Again, multiple video replays showed the player was down.


That’s when our sports fan went off.  “Fumble!  Fumble!” he shouted.  “That’s clearly a fumble!”


The gentlemen who happened to be sitting next to him explained, as I just did above, that the runner was already down when the ball came loose.  Our sports fan then proceeded with an “Oh, that’s in college when it’s a fumble” line, as if further ignorance on his part would get us to agree with him.

Somebody shoot me.  Or better yet, him.

The call was overturned, the team regained possession and our antagonist continued to rant intolerably.

The game continued as did his priceless words of wisdom.

Play Two: One of the teams was driving with a player scoring a touchdown… or so it seemed.  The team was inches from the goal line with the player carrying the football, about to cross it… but he didn’t.

Once again, similar to the play we just discussed, his knee was down before the ball crossed the goal line or to use the proper vernacular “broke the plane.”

football breaking planeOur antagonist shouted “Touchdown!  That’s clearly a touchdown!”


I don’t know how much this gentleman had to drink but I do know he didn’t know much about football.  That much was obvious.  I chose to leave this one alone.  Knowing that I’d be able to vent about him later on a website near you was ample substitute.

The gentlemen next to him, slowly beginning to lose their patience but still having fun with his toolishness, explained that the ball needed to cross the plane before the runner was ruled down, which has been pretty standard procedure ever since the game was invented.

“What a stupid rule,” our antagonist argued.  I swear this actually happened.

So, by this poor sap’s logic, a ball doesn’t need to actually swoosh through the rim to count as a basket?  Nah, don’t worry about it.  That shot was close enough.  Or how about a home run reaching the warning track but landing feet short and comfortably in an outfielder’s mitt?  It’s okay, ump, wave him home, that ball was almost out of the park.

To be clear, the football must cross the goal line for it to count as a touchdown, in college, pro ball, high school, Pop Warner and basically every league except for the one this buffoon watches.

After a few more pops, I went on to overhear this gentleman mention that his girlfriend chose not to watch the football games with him.  The more shocking anecdote was that he even had a girlfriend in the first place.

Football For DummiesHey, I’m only here to help.  I’m sure there are books like “Football for Dummies” that you can pick up at your local Barnes and Noble.

But from now on, here’s what I’m gonna do.

The next time I hear a poor sap in need of sports schooling, I promise to ask him for his email address and subscribe him to this website myself.  You know, like those guys in the plumbing commercials who magically appear at someone’s doorstep as soon as their pipes burst.

If it makes this world a safer place so that we don’t have to listen to blowhards like this any longer, those who think they know what they’re talking about but sadly do not, I’d consider it my duty.  Remember, gents.  Admitting you don’t know is half the battle.

Oh, and you’re welcome.

For previous episodes of Sports Snobbery, turn here and here

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17 Replies to “Sports Snobbery, Vol 4: When fumbles aren’t fumbles, touchdowns aren’t touchdowns and that magical moment when the uneducated sports fan becomes insufferable”

  1. Mmmmhhhhh, a friend of mine (you might know her) & I had this same problem recently. There is nothing more unattractive than someone spouting out their “knowledge” of sports, when in fact, they have no such “knowledge”. It’s okay to say, “I’m enjoying watching the game but I don’t really understand the rules”. But, please know, after you make this statement, I’m going to ask you to sit somewhere else!

  2. D…

    Had we all been watching the game together, we probably would have made making fun of this guy at least somewhat entertaining.

    It was all I could do to stay quiet, something you already know I’m not accustomed to.

  3. Haha, I’m aware. & I know that you understand how difficult it was for us to also keep quiet. Lish even created a meme for it! “Don’t know football, can’t sit with us”!

  4. Well the act of going to the ground rule needs to be reviewed. Dez Bryant caught the ball, had possession, made a football move by diving and somehow that wasn’t a catch. I saw him catch it with my own two eyes and I hate the Cowboys more than anybody. That rule needs to be looked at very closely because I don’t want to watch that sport much if that stuff is going to be scrutinized that much. Replay is the worst thing that has happened to sports in a long time too. That needs to be looked at as well. Taking, sometimes 10 minutes to watch a replay at a trillion frames per second and still get it wrong most of the time…awful! I have much much more to say but I will have to come back later.

  5. The two examples you gave were, indeed, pretty clear cut. I’m still scratchin’ my head about the PI flag that was picked up in the Detroit/Dallas game, tho. Not a big fan of either team, but I’m of the opinion the Lions got hosed. The officiating in general during the playoffs has made me wonder if I know anything about football, either. I think the refs sometimes use replay as a crutch. Hopefully, the SB will be cleanly officiated and everyone’s balls will be properly inflated. 🙂

  6. D…

    That was a tough call and I don’t have a problem with them taking their time to get the call right… as long as they get it right.

    Replay has done its best to correct judgment calls in the game that are made incorrectly but I gotta tell ya’, I watched that replay a number of times and see both sides of the argument.

    In the end, I see their point. If the ball hits the ground, it’s an incomplete pass..

  7. Yaz…

    If anything, that flag that was picked up was the most controversial call of the playoffs.

    I’m still scratching my head at that one.

    And I had damn money on that game.

  8. Chris

    So how much will the NFL hierarchy seek to impose as a fine upon the New England Patriots ? And if they intend to do so then shouldn’t they also be giving a severe reprimand to the referees who presided over the game between the Colts and the Patriots ? The NFL remains a constant joke but yet fans are always seeking to point to the positives while showing complete apathy to the idiocy of the league’s ongoing inconsistencies among the leadership and the union .

    Deflate-gate , when simple cheating just isn’t enough . The NFL seems to be acting as if this is the first such incident ever to happen . What an absolute crock of ##it . It’s probably the first such incident where someone has been caught and the evidence was on-hand to be seen .

    Tophatal …………….

  9. Two rules should change, Chris. Both the NFL and college game should agree on having two feet in bounds on a catch, and a failed two-point conversion may be returned for two points in the NFL. It would simplify things for everybody.

  10. I have a problem with replay killing momentum of teams. Too many stoppages of play including excessive TV TO’s. We will agree to disagree. By rule the Dez catch wasn’t a catch. I am saying the rule is flawed and needs to be changed.

  11. Sports world and those who cover it are coming down pretty hard on Brady, the hoodie and the Pats, Al. This has to be a distraction for them.

    And as usual, we’re in the middle of a scandal that the NFL doesn’t know how to handle.

  12. Jimmy…

    I don’t have a problem with college keeping the one foot in bounds rule.

    Those guys aren’t as talented.

    I do like your two-point suggestion though.

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