Venus Trapped in Mars Sports and Lifestyle Blog Dallas

21 June 2013

Fan Friday: What do All Those Hand Motions Mean?

Hi I'm Sarah and this is me waiting for football season to hurry up and get here:

So you are sitting in front of your television with your man watching football, and by that I mean you are glued there Thursday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday because it is on 57% of the week come September! 

So you think to yourself, Venus, WHAT ON EARTH DO ALL THOSE HAND MOTIONS MEAN? The refs throw up their arms, wave them around in circles, point different directions like a wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tubeman up in this joint.

Well, I'm here to help with this.
Please allow me to proudly introduce the all new...
"I'm so lost, this is dumb, change it to Bravo" series! 

Let's first start with how we know a penalty has been committed. The refs will throw this little yellow flag. Wherever the flag has been thrown on the field is where the foul/penalty took place.

This is part one of the post. See, easy right? For the most part, all penalty calls have to do with where you can or cannot touch someone, where you have to stay on the field and how long you can stay there. So many rules, so play nicely boys!

Holding: When a player holds on to the jersey of another player. How would you feel if you just got a super cute new going out top and someone was pulling on it all night trying to keep you from getting away?

Result: 5 yard penalty.

Clipping: Do you remember when you were a kid on the playground and some dork would be standing up and you would go and push in the back of their knee to make them lose balance. And everyone would laugh at them and you were the funniest person in the world for doing that? Well, that is similar to clipping. It is when a player comes from behind and tackles below the waist level. No one laughs in football though, they just get mad because you got the team a penalty.

Penalty: 15 yard penalty.

Delay of Game: The team on offense only gets 25 seconds from the time the referee puts the ball down on the ground (spotted) until the ball has to be snapped from the center to the quarterback. Taking your sweet time results in a delay of game call.

Penalty: Offense has to move backwards 5 yards.

Offsides or Encroachment

Offsides: This is a defensive call. A player may not cross the line of scrimmage (aka the blue line on your t.v.--- and no that blue line is not really on the field it is just on your t.v.) before the ball is snapped. Flag is thrown but play continues.

Encroachment: This call is for the defense. When the defense makes contact with an offensive player before the ball is snapped. They are just so excited they can't keep their hands to themselves. Flag is thrown and play actually stops. Refs don't allow any play to continue, this is one of the very few times when they actually do this.

I remember this one because the referee has his hands on his hips and I can picture him tapping his foot like my mom would do if she told me not to move until she said so, but then I move anyway. The refs are annoyed because their kids on the field are acting out of line. Just picture the refs shaking their finger too!

Penalty: 5 yard penalty.

False Start: This is an offensive penalty. When I see this I always think the refs motion looks like he should be singing, "The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round." The linemen have to take a set stance. They can't move at all, cant even scratch their nose. The only one who can is the center (if it really itches (hah!)). If anyone else moves one muscle before the ball is snapped, you get the false start call.

Penalty: 5 yard penalty.

Illegal hands to the face: When you intentionally block another player by putting your hands on their face or neck. I mean, think about what happens on Jerry Springer when someone puts their hands in someone elses face. They get the crap beat outta them or a chair thrown in their direction. In an effort to keep flying chairs off their field, the NFL has decided to penalize this type of behavior.

Penalty: 5 yard penalty

Facemask: You can't tackle someone by grabbing onto their facemask to bring them down. That is just a recipe for a broken neck. To be fair, there are two different types of these calls. When a player accidentally grabs the persons facemask then lets go. I'm kinda not sure how this works because how do you accidentally grab their facemask? No one holds the ball like a sissy up by their face, so the, "I was just going for the ball" excuse is null and void. Anyways, the other call is an intentional facemask where they grab on and hold on for good.

Apparently, the guy committing the facemask penalty heard that the guy with the ball was talking crap about his outfit he wore last week to Alex's party.
"Did you see his shoes, terrible decision with that plaid shirt."
"Whachu sayy guuurl? Don't no one talk bad about me behind my back and get away with it!"

Penalty: unintentional- 5 yards
intentional- 15 yards.

So that is just a sampling of hand motions, I'll be back another week with more for you. I don't want to overwhelm you before football season even starts!!

Now, let's #backthatazzup with Whitney with this gem made for me.
No, really, Jaz-Z made it for me. He is so sweet. XOXO Jay, say hi to B and Blue Ivy for me! 
Can't wait to see that little rascal again very soon!
Venus Trapped in Mars

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  • You have to #backthatazzup with Whitney

Venus Trapped


  1. my mind exploded with all of this info - but it was helpful! (though i will likely immediately forget it all.) every year my fiance has to start all over again trying to explain stuff to me but maaaaaybe this year i'll attempt to retain a shred of knowledge. my fan friday post was about shopping, hope that is ok haha.
    -- jackie @ jade and oak

  2. Do you have any idea how much I love this post?!?!? Consider yourself hugged!

    1. Also, I'd like to see some horse collar next time

  3. Loved this! I also always thought the false start looked like "Wheels on the Bus". I can't wait for football and one of the best parts, fantasy football!

  4. I still hate fooseball. but this is very cute...and I might understand things a tad bit better.

  5. I've already read this post.
    Because I seriously stalk your blog.
    Your secret is safe with me. Except not really because this comment kinda calls you out... but I figured you should really know how long I spent reading your blog the other day. And the other day before that.

  6. I'm going to have to participate in this next Friday. Who doesn't love hockey & booze?! ;)

  7. Yay footballlllllllllll! Can't wait! Gives me a reason to look forward to Sundays

  8. Linked up! Never did I ever think I would be linking up to a post about football! Again, we have to thank my husband for my connection to you.

  9. I CANNOT wait until football season! Love your family guy GIF :)

  10. I never knew the meaning of all these signs or motions, whatever they are called exactly. Thanks for sharing. Now I know what is the penalty sign that makes my dad and guys move!

  11. I knew some of this so thanks for the info on what I didn't know! But what I'm loving is that you used gifs to show examples. So hilarious!

  12. I was a cheerleader in high school and our sponsor was the football coach's wife. She forced us to learn the basics. There were a lot of squads before us that would do touchdown cheers when our team was on defense. Embarrassing! Have you ever watched 6-man football? If I can ever get a post together I'll link up for Fan Friday!

  13. So great and funny, I love how you incorporate real life examples :)

  14. Hahaha I love the girl version of your examples. Holding in particular!!

  15. HAHA! Great explanations. This post brought me back to my days of cocktail waitressing Monday Night games. We joked with the bartenders about our own penalty calls, like bad tipping, rushing the bartender, encroachment, excessive drunkeness, etc. One of the bartenders kept a flag in his pocket and threw it on a couple of occasions with patrons he knew could take the joke. :)

  16. here's the thing... this was actually really really helpful. thank you for that!

  17. totally favoriting this so i can remember to reference come the end of august. i don't know how many games i have watched in my lifetime but still can be clueless to what the hell the refs are doing.

  18. I am going to be referring back to this post many times I'm sure! I'm still a novice and trying to grasp the basics of football so this will be very useful!

  19. Great Post! You are so informative, I love it!

  20. Damn it. Now I'll have to stop watching Bravo and pay attention to you instead since you make this so easy.

  21. Hall of Fame game Dolphins vs Cowboys.

  22. I already know the signals, but this post is genius for those who don't. The Bravo pics are hilarious!

  23. The SEC girl in me just freaked out. I LOVE this post. Luckily, most of my girl friends are die hard SEC ladies like me, so we know the rules. But I love this when trying to explain it to others!

  24. Back when I was in college I told a guy at a party that I'm a Bears fan and really enjoy watching football, to which he responded, "Oh yeah? Then tell me, what's the hand signal for holding?" I was sooo mad at him. I think I responded with "are you f-ing kidding me? Do you ask your guy friends that when they say they follow a team?!" So I'm just thinking that everyone should print out this post and keep it in their pocket as a reference.

  25. aka the blue line on your t.v.--- and no that blue line is not really on the field it is just on your t.v. ----love that you actually have to put that in there, because you know there are girls that think the line is real and just vanishes into thin air.

  26. Your comparisons are hilarious. I remember when my roommate... whom I had been watching foot ball with FOR FOREVER told me she didn't even know what was going on. I was floored. And yes the blue line is not for reals.

  27. I knew most of these, I think clipping was the only one I hadn't heard of, but I just love your descriptions!! Too funny!

  28. although I knew all of this already....I appreciate the analogies haha. and this post must have taken you awhile

  29. Omg thank you for this! I am sick of being "that girl" haha

  30. I'm a huge football fan and countdown until football season starts every year, but I never knew what the hand signals for each call was. So informative - I loved it!

  31. I'm a huge football fan and countdown until football season starts every year, but I never knew what the hand signals for each call was. So informative - I loved it!


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