Posted by: Bonnie Anderson | January 17, 2012

Ineligible Receivers and Barbies – More in Common Than You’d Think

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Football – what a weird game!  I’ve learned just enough about it to keep me from being totally lost while watching, though it messes with me big time when the uniforms are close in color.  There really should be some kind of rule about that.  Anyway, I can’t wait to tell you what I learned.

Bob loves football, so yesterday I decided to sit down and watch the playoff games with him.  We watched the Giants vs. Packers and for some strange reason I was actually paying attention to the game.  We have no allegiance to either team but I decided I wanted New York to win because I saw my friend Eric with his young son at church yesterday.  They were dressed in their Giant jerseys and it was just cute.  Also, Eli Manning is the quarterback – Manning is my maiden name and the name of my first grandson, so there you go – lots of good reasons.

Back to what I learned.  Did you know that out of the ten players on the field with the quarterback, only half of them are allowed to have the ball thrown or handed to them?  This blew my mind.  “So that’s what they mean when they say ineligible receiver down field?” The lights started going on.

Bob is never happier than when he is explaining something and I am getting it, so he was elated right about then.  It’s like he was Eli Manning and I was Hakeem Nicks (that’s right, that’s a real name and he is a wide receiver).  I was “catching” on; I received knowledge!

But this offensive line thing was confusing.  “So, they are just there for their bodies?” I asked.

“Sort of,” Bob explained.  “They protect the quarterback when he’s passing and open holes for the running back to run through when the quarterback hands the ball off to him.”

“But they are not allowed to have the ball given to them.”

“Right.  They are ineligible receivers.”

I continued, “So the center is only allowed to hold the ball to hike it to the quarterback.  That’s it.”

“Pretty much – unless there’s a fumble then everyone goes for it.”

So now I’m picturing this poor offensive lineman trying to explain to his mama why he is not allowed to catch the ball.  He plays football, but for all practical purposes, is not allowed to touch the ball.  God forbid any of them catch a pass.  Whistles blow and penalties are assessed.  Bad Lineman!!!

So this is how I picture a conversation between a member of the offensive line and his mama:

Mama – “So son, did you have a good game?  Did you make a touchdown?”

Lineman – “Remember Mom, they don’t let me run for touchdowns.  I’m protecting the quarterback.”

Mama – “Oh yes – the precious quarterback.  Everybody’s all worried about the quarterback.  They just want you because you’re big and strong.  Yes, they just want you for your body.  That’s wrong – I taught you better.  Next game you get out there and catch that ball.  You can do it.”

Lineman – “Mom!!!!”

The only thing to which I can relate this is when my daughter Dena was young, I collected Barbie dolls.  I collected the Holiday Barbies and a few others.  Dolls are meant to be played with, but I would never allow these to be removed from the box (NRFB).  “That’s right, Dena, you may play with the Barbies, but you may not physically touch them or whistles will blow and penalties will be assessed.”  You gotta look for understanding where it can be found – that’s what I say.


  1. Thanks for the football lesson, Bonnie. Now I can pretend to understand the game like you. 🙂

    • Ha, ha, Debi. You do pretty well, too. It was a great day with Bob.

  2. Bonnie, this is a GENIUS post because it’s so true – awesome insight!

  3. Great post, Bonnie! Three of my boys played Pop Warner football–same virtues as NFL. Two of them were centers, and one was there for his sheer brute strength–on the line. While my husband and I were happy not to have had any of them in ‘pressure’ or ‘skill’ positions (as the coaches call them), my sweet Aaron sure was proud of the fact that–even when they double-teamed him–they STILL couldn’t get past him to the QB or the RB 🙂

    • Thanks for commenting, Jenny. I never had any of my boys in football, they were basketball players (my daughter, too). I love your comment about your boys, especially Aaron. Sweet memories.

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