Cheese and Burger Summer Series: A Game Day Game Plan

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by Beka Watts from Football for Normal Girls

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This summer, The Cheese & Burger Society is sponsoring a series of weekly guest posts bringing you lots of great backyard barbeque and grilling tips from around the country to celebrate the return of the Green Bay Packers Football Sweepstakes! Be sure to enter at for your chance to score the MVP prize package worth $8,500. Also, enter the weekly Football Fanatic Giveaway on The Cheese & Burger Facebook Page for your chance to win multiple prizes, including an authentic Packers helmet or elite jersey.

Some of us are likely feeling a sense of impending dread about football season, due to a lack of thorough understanding of what exactly happens on the field. If that is how you feel, don’t fear; I’m going to equip you with all of the basics you need to successfully navigate a football game and also give you an awesome game plan for your next tailgating party.

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1st Quarter Food:

  • Good dip is a game day requirement. Try combining several of your favorite semi-hard and soft Wisconsin Cheeses – like Cheddar, Colby, Cream Cheese and Feta – with complementary seasonings to create a winning starter dish.

Football Basics: Game Timing

The game is played in quarters, and each quarter is 15 minutes long. The quarters are separated by halves – the first half and the second half – and the halves are separated by halftime, a 12-minute break. There’s also a break at the 2-minute warning (when there are 2 minutes remaining) of each half. The game clock is the clock that keeps the total time remaining in each quarter; the play clock is the clock that keeps the total time remaining for each play. The offense has 40 seconds from the end of one play to start the next play (in most cases), and if it doesn’t get the ball snapped in time, it’ll receive a penalty.

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2nd Quarter Food:

  • As halftime nears, so does mealtime. Lessen your workload with a make-your-own slider bar featuring a spread of all-star ingredients. Think Wisconsin Blue Cheese, bacon and onions for beef sliders or Wisconsin Baby Swiss, arugula and roasted red peppers for turkey sliders. The possibilities are endless!

Football Basics: The Players

Every team has three components: offense, defense and special teams. The offense is the unit trying to move the ball down the field to score a touchdown in the defense’s end zone. The defense is the unit trying to stop the offense from scoring. Special teams is the unit on the field during kicking and punting plays. Each team has a roster of 53 players, and only 11 players from each team are allowed to be on the field at one time.

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3rd Quarter Food:

  • Kick your snack food up a notch by pouring garlic-infused oil (as simple as microwaving a crushed clove of garlic in 1/4 cup of oil for 15-30 seconds) over plain white popcorn and topping it with grated Wisconsin Parmesan and Asiago.

Football Basics: Down and Distance

You’ve probably heard the term “1st and 10” – that’s referring to the down and distance. A team has four chances, called downs, to move the ball 10 yards. The first number refers to the down (chance), and the second number is the number of yards to go (distance) until the team reaches 10 total yards and a new set of downs. So if a team has a “1st and 10,” it means it is on its first down (first chance) and still has to move the ball 10 yards from the line of scrimmage (the imaginary starting line) to get a new set of downs. You’ll know how much farther a team has to go thanks to the magic of television: It’s the electronic yellow line superimposed onto the field. If the offense doesn’t reach 10 total yards in 4 downs, it turns the ball over to the other team, right where they are. This is why a team will usually choose to use its first 3 downs to move the ball 10 yards and its final down to punt the ball away or kick a field goal, if it’s close enough to the end zone.


4th Quarter Food:

  • Plan a sweet ending (just in case the game doesn’t end quite as sweetly) by mixing Wisconsin Mascarpone with chocolate hazelnut spread for a fuss-free dessert dip. It shines best when accompanied by fresh crusty bread, pretzels, dried fruit and jam.

Football Basics: Scoring

The goal of the offense is to score. Guide to offensive scoring: A touchdown = 6 points. An extra point (or PAT, point after touchdown) = 1 point. A field goal = 3 points. A 2-point conversion (when a team lines up at the 2-yard line and tries to get the ball in the end zone after a touchdown instead of kicking the extra point) = 2 points.

The defense can also score. Guide to defensive scoring: A safety (when the ball carrier is tackled in the offense’s end zone) = 2 points. A pick 6 (when a defensive player intercepts the ball and runs it into the end zone for a touchdown) = 6 points (and the scoring team will also kick the extra point afterward, making for a total of 7 points if the kick is good, or 8 points if they complete a 2-point conversion).