5 For Friday: Go Ask Daddy About NFL Matchups, Mascot-Gender Checks and the Perks of Hotel Living

photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc
photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc

When the kids watch football with me, questions are inevitable.

Almost certainly one will be, “what’s for dinner?”

(That’s my girls.)

But when I plop a platter of wings or burgers in front of their hungry faces, they actually turn their attention to the game on the screen.

And ask questions.

Luckily, the question “is Tony Romo single?” hasn’t been asked. Or, “why do they wear such tight pants?”

So long as the questions remain about rivalries and mascot genders, I’m still doing OK.

The day they ask about Tony Romo? Or his pants?

That’ll be a different blog post entirely.

1. Have any NFL teams not haven’t played each other?

photo credit: AJ Guel Photography via photopin cc
photo credit: AJ Guel Photography via photopin cc

Not in the NFL. On Jan. 1, 2006, the Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers met, signifying the last unfulfilled match-up among the NFL’s 32 teams.

The NFL is divided into two conferences – American and National – and each conference has four four-team divisions: East, North, South and West.

Each team plays a home-and-away series with other divisional teams, and each division plays each team in a different division in the opposite conference each year.

This interconference play changes each season, so it would take only four seasons for a team to play every team in the league, because every division plays all teams in another division in its conference each year, too, on a three-year rotating basis.

Each team also plays the two other teams who finished in the same place they did for the previous season, minus the team that finished in that position in the division that their division was scheduled to play.

Confused yet?

The Buffalo Bills lost, like, 20 consecutive games to the division rival Miami Dolphins in the 1970s. It’s kind of like those two teams didn’t play for a while.

2. Why do guys on the sidelines wear Ks on their vests?

photo credit: Keith Allison via photopin cc
photo credit: Keith Allison via photopin cc

It stands for “Klutzenhoftzen,” which is German for “young skinny white kid who runs up and down the sideline toting footballs.”

Actually, did you notice another couple of cats wearing vests with Xs on them? No, they’re not target practice for backup quarterbacks. These guys are in charge of all footballs during a game. The K dude just minds the footballs the kickers use – they’re not the same balls as are used in regular play.

They’re shiny and new. This irks many kickers. They’d rather have a worn-in ball for better performance. This is why they squish and squeeze the ball the minute they get their hands on it.

The X dudes are responsible for all other balls, so they are more active. If a ball flies into the stands after a kick, you’ll see a K man try to negotiate with the fan to swap it out for a beat-up ball. Most fans comply. I guess you just don’t mess around with a guy with a K on his back.

3. Is the Denver Broncos mascot a boy or a girl?

His name is Miles, in honor of the Mile High City. Legend has it he was born during a Rocky Mountain thunderstorm during the Broncos’ second-straight Super Bowl victory, against the Atlanta Falcons, in 1999. He lived in the mountains for two years before venturing down to Denver, where he actually eats the grass at Sports Authority Field.

(Straight from the horse’s mouth – the Broncos’ official Web site.)

Miles is the Broncos mascot. They also have a huge statue of a bronco on the scoreboard, and I can tell you from first-person experience (when I was in a marching band that played at the old Mile High Stadium) that he’s a boy. David Elder, one of our trombone players, pointed into the sky right at the horse’s nether regions and declared “the bronco’s got nads!”

(On a sad note, Thunder, the Broncos’ real-life horse mascot, is a gelding. The same has been unfairly said for nearly every quarterback to play for Denver after John Elway and Peyton Manning.)

4. Are braces made of metal? Then why don’t they rust?

If Elise, the brace-face of the family, had asked, I’d have told her braces will rust if she doesn’t do her homework, put away her laundry and make dad a scrambled egg burrito every morning. But since Grace asked …

Braces are made of stainless steel or nickel-titanium, which makes them, presumably, stellar not only for sticking around on a teenager’s grill for about a year, but also for cookware and probably golf clubs, too. Now they have those invisible porcelain or composite braces, which make sense.

What doesn’t make sense is that kids are now wearing fake braces so they get in on the fun of having braces without having to get them tightened.

What’s next? Fake acne for the teen cursed with clear skin?

5. If you live in a hotel, do you have to pay for breakfast?

Do Zack and Cody pay for anything?

It depends on the hotel you live in. The funny thing is, the Hampton Inns and Residence Inns of the world – you know, the places we’d likely stay in – offer a free breakfast every day. More expensive places serve a mediocre breakfast and charge, like, $19.

I suppose the logic is that if you’re staying in a Hilton or a Marriott, you can afford a simple thing like a 20 spot to cover your previously frozen biscuit and coffee.

It’d be cool to live in a hotel, though, wouldn’t it? For a while, anyway. Then, it’d feel like the same thing, over and over, with no change. Every. Day.

Kind of like Ground Hog Day.

Or playing for the Buffalo Bills in the 1970s.


  1. Chris Carter says:

    Oh the things I learn from your 5 for Friday posts!!! I feel all in the “know” about the K and X dudes now!!! But why are they just dudes? Any girls on the field? Is that illegal or something?

    1. That’s a good question. You have good questions, Chris.

      I couldn’t find a single item about any female ball boys – I mean, ball girls – in the NFL. I know a lot of college coaches have their daughters on the sideline helping out, but that’s not the vest crew.

      Maybe it IS illegal.

  2. ilene says:

    I had no idea the kids were wearing fake braces! No idea at all! I may have had a vague idea about the different ball used for kicking but not a clue about the x boys and the y boys. And do Zack and Cody pay for anything????? That’s a question that begs to be answered…

    1. Crazy kids, eh? Hopefully, they’ll be a dead fad by the time your girl is old enough to be mixed up in it. I wonder which is more prestigious, an X boy or a k boy? I’d guest the k boys are the higher ranking. Remember when they had kids run out and get the kicking tee off the field? No vests there.

      Zack and Cody don’t pay for a thing – discipline-wise, anyway. That’s another blog. Every time my kids act up, I blame Disney. Those twins can bilk people and sabotage beauty pageants and run rampant harassing guests and Ashley Tisdale, and all they get in the end is a stern look from mom.

      And a good laugh track for their antics.

      Don’t get me started …

  3. I lived in Buffalo for 4 horrible years. You just reminded me that I have never blogged about how I caused the Bills to lose a Super Bowl. I’m writing it down now because it’s totally true. Also, you can tell your girls that, yes, living in Buffalo is one of the circles of Hell.

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