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Friends Central
The One With The Football
Season 3, episode 9
57th overall episode of Friends
"Let go, I'm a tiny little woman!"
Episode Information

November 21, 1996

Written by

Ira Ungerleider

Directed by

Kevin S. Bright

Alternate titles
Episode Guide

The One With The Giant Poking Device


The One Where Rachel Quits


"The One With The Football" is the ninth episode of the third season of Friends. It aired on November 21, 1996, serving as the Thanksgiving episode of the year. It was written by Ira Ungerleider and directed by Kevin S. Bright.


It is Thanksgiving Day and after watching a football game on television, the gang decides to play their own game of football. Monica and Ross are reluctant and tell the others that when they were kids, they would play football on Thanksgiving in what they called the Geller Bowl competing for the Geller Cup. However the two would get so competitive that during Geller Bowl VI Monica ended up breaking Ross' nose, leading their parents to throw the Geller Cup into the lake and forbid them from playing football again. With the gang egging them on, they decide to play anyway. Monica picks Joey and Phoebe, Ross picks Chandler and ultimately, Rachel, who is upset about being last picked. The guys refuse to include Rachel on any plays, as she is terrible at football. She gets so bored, she wanders off for a snack. Things get heated between Monica and Ross, and the competition becomes even more fierce when it's revealed Monica has the Geller Cup (revealed to be a troll doll glued to a lump of wood), having retrieved it from the lake by swimming while Ross was taken to the hospital.

As they play, Joey and Chandler meet a Dutch girl, Margha. They both try to impress her. She finally picks Chandler once Ross forces her to choose between the two guys. Once Chandler does a victory dance, Margha changes her mind and picks neither of them; however, Chandler continues to gloat about his "victory".

After Monica's team has the lead, Ross is upset. They orchestrate a trade: Rachel for Joey, turning the game into a Battle of the Sexes. The girls try to beat the men by using their femininity, including making Phoebe repeatedly show off her breasts to Chandler. During the last 30 seconds, Monica has no choice but to throw to Rachel, who finally catches the ball, then seemingly scores and spikes the ball. However, Chandler points out that she was actually short of the goal line, and Phoebe realizes that since no one tackled Rachel, the ball is still live. Ross and Monica dive for the ball and get into a jump ball situation. Several hours later, the rest of the gang has retreated upstairs to have Thanksgiving dinner, while Ross and Monica continue to fight over the ball in the dark, only momentarily paused by the realization it is starting to snow.

Cast and Crew

Main Cast

Jennifer Aniston - Rachel Greene
Courteney Cox - Monica Geller
Lisa Kudrow - Phoebe Buffay
Matt LeBlanc - Joey Tribbiani
Matthew Perry - Chandler Bing
David Schwimmer - Ross Geller

Supporting Cast

Suzanna Voltaire - Margha


Directed By:
Kevin S. Bright

Produced By:
Ira Ungerleider

Written By:
Ira Ungerleider


Chandler: Guys, guys, come on, it's Thanksgiving! It's not important who wins or loses. The important thing is the Dutch girl picked me! [To Joey] Me, not you! Holland loves Chandler! Thank you Amsterdam! Good night!


  • Suzanna Voltaire is from America, and does not have a Dutch accent. She added the accent while auditioning for Margha. When they found out she was American, the crew were shocked. According to the commentary, she did a Swedish accent when auditioning.
  • Number 1 in "UK's 6 Favorite Friends Episodes Countdown"
  • The two children on the swings in this episode are Marta Kauffman's children.
  • It isn't possible to tell whether the snap that no one could agree on occurred before or after the buzzer because of the cut to the timer as Monica yells "Hike!".
  • The uncut DVD version of the episode has a different ending. Monica and Ross decide to toss the Geller Cup down the garbage chute. Phoebe is at the bottom, catching it for Monica, but as she's about to leave, Ross walks in to claim it for himself.
    • Also, in the uncut DVD version, when Phoebe asks Margha to set the timer, she calls Phoebe 'Beefy', and when Monica trades Joey for Rachel, she says "That's great, there goes my last shred of self esteem."
  • Phoebe is wearing a "That Girl" T-Shirt. The star of "That Girl" is Marlo Thomas, who plays Rachel's mom.
  • Chandler doesn't like football but in this episode he is seen watching and playing it. (In the future episode "The One With Chandler In A Box" Chandler pretends to want to watch "the big game" and Phoebe says "You don't have to do that, Ross and Joey aren't here, you can watch the parade if you want." to which Chandler replies "Thanks.").
  • The game that Joey, Chandler and Ross were watching was between the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings.
  • Joey's jersey is supposed to be Doug Flutie's, 1984 Heisman trophy winner from Boston College. BC and Matt LeBlanc share a hometown of Newton, MA.
  • Rachel alludes to this episode in "The One With The Lottery" when Joey says he'd pick her for the Knicks if he won the lottery and bought the team.
  • The football scenes were shot on Stage 25, the entire audience and crew transferred over after filming all the apartment scenes. The only segment shot without an audience is the slow-motion throw to Rachel as slow-motion sequences needed a special camera.
  • The football moves were worked out almost entirely by the cast including Rachel bouncing the ball off Ross' head.
  • In an attempt to impress Emily (his second wife), Ross attempts to play rugby when they're dating which is a similar game in some respects. (The One With All The Rugby)
  • The music which plays during the second part of the game is "Get Ready For This" by 2 Unlimited from the Dutch group's 1991 album of the same name.
  • The announcer heard saying "are you ready to rumble" is Michael Buffer. He is currently (2019) ring announcer for major boxing bouts but has also worked in NFL and UFC. He has a half-brother Bruce Buffer who makes the announcement for Pete Becker 's UFC fight later in the season.
  • The singing duo Captain and Tennille mentioned here is referenced again after Joey buys a boat in The One With The Proposal, Part 1.
  • While it was true at the time of this episode being broadcast that there were no active women's football leagues, the first women's league was founded in 1965. A new league was founded in 1999, three years after this episode called the Women's Professional American Football League and operated until 2008. As of 2021, there are nine active football leagues for women in the USA.


  • When they are holding Phoebe to prevent Monica throwing her the ball, Chandler and Joey switch sides between long-shots of the three and medium shots.
  • At one point Margha calls Phoebe what sounds like "Beefy".
  • Margha's accent doesn't sound like anything a native Dutch speaker would have. It sounds more like the actress is trying to imitate a stereotypical Eastern European accent.
  • When Ross asks Margha to choose between Joey and Chandler, he calls her "Heidi".
    • Perhaps an allusion to the blonde female European character from the novel Heidi , showing Ross didn't care and/or wasn't paying attention to figure out Margha's real name.
  • Courteney Cox is noticeably smiling/laughing while being tackled by Ross during the slow-motion sequence.
  • In the first huddle of the football game, Joey can be seen mouthing along with Phoebe when she asks, "So, what do you guys really think of Chandler?"
  • Rachel asks if there is a National League they could join. She ought to know this already since the boys are avid fans. Joey even watched one after the funeral of Ross and Monica's grandmother in The One Where Nana Dies Twice.


The Ending of the Uncut DVD Version

External links

Episode Navigation

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Preceded by
"The One With The Giant Poking Device"
Series Three Episodes Followed by
"The One Where Rachel Quits"