Ah, football season. A unique time of year set aside for eating lots of chips and dips, drinking a few beers, wearing ridiculous clothing, and losing your voice every Sunday.

Sounds great, right? Well, maybe. For those of us who don’t have the sport of football ingrained in our DNA, letting loose and fully enjoying the big game isn’t all that easy.

We don’t think you should have to have watched football your entire life in order to participate in Sunday tradition. Instead, follow these tips for faking it ‘til you make it. In other words, here are five secret methods to pretend you understand football.

1. Pick a team

The first step in pretending you know what you’re talking about when it comes to football is choosing a team.

Study and memorize the names of a few key players. The quarterback, wide receivers, and kickers are a good place to start. Throw in a few linebackers, too, if you’re up for it. Google the lowdown on the latest with a few players on your team and the opposing team. The more you can contribute to a conversation about players’ lives, on and off the field, the better. Pro tip: talking about Tom Brady wearing Uggs will never get old.

2. Dress the part

Now that you know the players, it’s time to look like you’re the twelfth man out there (there are 11 players on the field for each team). If watching football in public places is going to be a trend for you this season, consider investing in a jersey, or at least a team-branded shirt of some kind.

If this is event is an anomaly and you plan to never watch football ever again, wearing a shirt (or something) that matches your team’s colors should suffice.

3. Adopt a few key phrases

There are a few key phrases you can say throughout the game that will boost your authority and perceived football knowledge. Here are a few to try out.

“Wow, what a read by [insert quarterback’s name here].”

Complimenting a quarterback’s “read” rather than just his “pass” shows you know your stuff.

“We’ve got to do something about head injuries.”

In recent years, there’s been more and more talk and controversy on concussions and head injuries in professional football. Make this comment with caution (you don’t want to provoke questions) when someone gets hit just a little too hard.

“Nice.”

Cool and casual. That’s you. When good things happen for your team but you’re not exactly sure what, it’s best to just play it cool. Phrases like that’s it” and “nice” go a long way in these situations.

4. Ask rhetorical questions

If you’ve ever watched football with a group of people, it seems like all anyone does is yell ridiculous questions at the TV. Here are some classics no one will question you for. Just don’t get too overly excited.

  • What are we DOING?!
  • What was THAT?!
  • Was that a pass?!
  • Where’s the penalty?
  • WHY?!

5. Don’t overdo it

It’s important to not get too emotionally wrapped up in your role on game day. If you’re not engaged enough, people will know you’re faking it. But if you overdo it and are the most enthusiastic fan in the room, people will still know you’re faking it.

Toe the line between number one fan and unamused house guest. If you follow these rules and overall, keep it cool, you’ll have everyone fooled you know exactly what you’re talking about.

And if you’re prepping for an epic pre-game, we’ve got a checklist to help you out. That way, you at least look like you know what you’re doing.