After 3 days of exhaustive study, I call bullshit on the whole "football as art and science" thing. I also call bullshit on the whole "really understanding football takes years of study" thing. Total. Bullshit.
Want to know the rules? Here they are: 4 tries to move the ball 10 yards- failure to do so means the other team gets a turn. 4th down is usually a punt- a kick in the other direction- but "going for it" is a sign that a coach is either an idiot or has balls the size of basketballs. The distinction is largely made by the outcome of the try (and/ or the game). The other stuff like "clipping" and "holding" and "offsides" are technicalities and one can be certain that the officials will call them and be right and wrong an equal number of times- though it's always a bad call when it's on the Home Team. Sounding confident in your assertion that it's a good or bad call is really more important than being right.
Want to be able to talk like you know something about the game? Go here, look up the game about which you want to talk intelligently, and then parrot what you hear. If you are female, just knowing the name of two players makes you seem like a real pro.
I learned all of this by joining a Fantasy Football team. Oy, the sturm and drang that ensued leading up to the draft. I was certain it would be a disaster, that I'd make a fool of myself, that I'd out myself as a total football squib. You know what? I'm kicking ass. I'm leading my division. This has nothing to do with my inherent talent and understanding of the game. It's because the freaking computer does everything for you. It's like taking a test with the instructor standing next to you saying, "Pick A. Now B. Now A again."
Seriously. My squibhood is so behind me.
Badass isn't above making up the rules, taking the short cut, or faking it when necessary. 'Cause just about everyone else is faking it too.