The 32 rules of Thanksgiving Touch Football

Dad with son playing American football
It's two-hand touch. One-hand touch is for lazy people who buy turkey sandwiches out of vending machines.

If you have a healthy relationship with your family and speak to them all the time, you’re playing touch. If you see your family only once a year, it’s tackle. …

A Nerf ball is OK but you should own a leather football. A leather football is one of the things every home must have, like a dishwasher and a bourbon distillery in the garage. …

It’s two-hand touch. One-hand touch is for lazy people who buy turkey sandwiches out of vending machines. …

Two completions is a first down. Not as simple as it sounds, just ask the 2011 Indianapolis Colts. …

Unless you live in California, Hawaii or Florida or some fancy place like that, the ground is probably going to be squishy with cold mud, and someone in your family is going to fall down face-first and ruin his or her Thanksgiving outfit. This is not cause for alarm. This is the highlight of the game.

… It’s OK to play with kids but don’t baby them. Just because your 7-year-old niece is playing quarterback doesn’t mean you can’t intercept her screen pass and run it back for a touchdown. She’s got to learn sometime not to throw into triple coverage. …

“The count is five ‘Mississippi.’ And it’s a full four syllables-not a rushed ‘MISS-IPPI’ and knocking grandpa to the ground. …

Keep the Tebowing to a minimum. The fad is already old. …

No showoff football lingo. No screaming ‘trips left’ or ‘zone blitz.’ Uncle Dale doesn’t want to play the ‘nickel package.’ He wants to get this stupid game over with, have a vodka, and stand in the kitchen eating stuffing with his hands. …

But there’s always one control freak who wants to diagram elaborate plays. Just listen to whatever they say, and forget it immediately. … There are only two plays you need for touch football: ‘Everybody Go Out’ and ‘Everybody Go Deep.’ …

No, that running play never works. Ever. …

If you throw six interceptions in a row, let someone else play quarterback, or sign with the Washington football team. …

Three-minute halftime. Don’t kill the momentum. Anything longer, and aging muscles seize up.

Remember: if Daddy sits, Daddy is d-o-n-e. …

If you’re a random guest at Thanksgiving, it’s your job to be good at touch football. Lie and say you ‘played a little’ at Alabama and pray you don’t completely embarrass yourself. …

[I]f it snows, it’s a classic. …

Take your shoes off before going into the house, or Mom is going to kill you.

Via The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay.

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