But I Don't Know Jack: Pro Football Edition

nfl football

NFL Football is bound to be a huge topic of conversation in your business circles for the rest of the year. The problem is you know NOTHING about the game and don’t have the time or desire to dig a whole lot deeper. Here’s your quick-hit guide to getting in the huddle (that’s a football metaphor but you just found that out now).

We get it; you know nothing about and care nothing for the most popular sport in the land.

But with NFL football about to take over pop culture this Fall, there’s a pretty solid chance your client, co-worker or business acquaintance is a fan of some team. And wouldn't it be great if you had a little ammo to get your colleague talking about something -- chances are -- he or she is passionate about? Case in point:

You’re at a business conference in Wherever, USA. There, you meet a potentially valuable contact who happens to be from Detroit.

Sure, you could wax poetic about Motown, Cadillac or Little Caesars pizza. But you’ll likely make a better connection by saying:

So you’re from Detroit. Are you a Lions fan? How do you think they’ll fare without Megatron this year?

The text above might have you thinking anything from:

Wait, Detroit has a football team? [The answer is “Barely.”]


Why the hell am I name-checking a Transformer? [“Megatron” is the nickname of Calvin Johnson, one of the great players in Lions history who just retired].

The purpose of this article is not to turn you into a football fan (but hey, it's great if that happens). 

Nor is it an attempt to teach you the basics of the game, which you can score (metaphor!) by watching this short video:



We’re actually going to do something far more valuable; we’re giving you a list of pro teams (and cities) along with conversation starters for each squad for the upcoming season.

Headed to Jacksonville, Buffalo or Milwaukee for business? Covered! On a call with someone from Pittsburgh or Cincy? You’re a pro. 

Even better; when you cop to not knowing a lot about football (“I’m learning.”), your colleague will be excited to kick some knowledge your way – and feel even more of a bond with you. And don’t be surprised if they try to convince you to be a fan of their team.

John Lavallo57 Posts

John is Columbia Business School MBA with expertise in marketing, business leadership, and law. John is a successful entrepreneur who took his first company public. He currently resides in New York City.