(Woody, trying very hard not to go over your head)

The Denver Post’s Dana Coffield
is either a masterful satirist or a specialist in condescension, with her Tuesday tips for aspiring female football fans who wish to “learn to talk the talk”.

The National Football League and major sporting goods manufacturers have figured that out, offering all kinds of girly team gear, like the recently released line of Reebok-brand logo wear, proportioned for women and with a little sparkle. But if you’re going to wear a shirt declaring your allegiance to a team, you’d better be prepared to talk sports, says Paula Duffy, who coaches women to be informed fans at incidentalcontact.com.

Duffy, who learned football from her dad (he was a rabid New York sports- team fanatic when she was a girl), says it’s never too late to take up the game, even if it takes some work to learn the playbook.

Don’t fake it. “We all know where faking gets us on other fields of play. With sports, it’s the same thing,” Duffy says wryly.

Start with the basics. A good first stop? Ivette Ricco’s femmefan.com. Click on “Talk the talk” and page through Football 101. Duffy also likes Denver Post sports columnist Woody Paige for his ability to distill the important parts of the game without writing in language that can be decoded only by someone with a lifetime of football knowledge. “He has a strong feminine side,” Duffy says.

Learn some basics. Duffy advises scanning the sports headlines and looking for articles that are less about the “grunt work of X’s and O’s,” and more about the human interest. “You’ll find a way to connect.”

Ask someone like Woody. Learning the ins and outs of football is like “getting on a merry-go-round that’s been spinning for 100 years,” so you’ll have to find someone open to teaching you the nuances, Duffy says. “Fans who have never played the game are more open to including women, and men who have daughters are usually OK with it, too.”