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

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 they have not been allowed to play football since Monica broke Ross' nose in the sixth annual Geller Cup on a Thanksgiving long ago. 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.

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. While Chandler does a victory dance, Margha changes her mind and picks neither of them.

After Monica's team has the lead, Ross is upset. They orchestrate a trade: Rachel for Joey. The girls try to beat the men, making Phoebe show off her breasts to Chandler. During the last 30 seconds, Monica has no choice but to throw to Rachel, who seemingly scores and spikes the ball. However, Chandler points out that she was actually short of the goal line and everyone realizes the ball is still live. Ross and Monica dive for the ball and try to take it from each other to win the game. After several minutes, the rest of the gang retreats upstairs to have Thanksgiving dinner, while Ross and Monica continue to fight over the ball in the dark.

Cast and Crew

Main Cast

Jennifer Aniston - Rachel Green
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 football moves were worked out almost entirely by the cast including Rachel bouncing the ball off Ross' head.
  • Rachel suggests they should play every year and asks if there's a National League. Since she's been with the gang for 2 years, she should know this as the guys, especially Chandler and Joey, are avid fans. (Joey even watched one in The One Where Nana Dies Twice).
  • Next season Ross attempts to play rugby when dating Emily (who becomes his second wife) which is a similar game in some respects.


  • 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.


The Ending of the Uncut DVD Version

Courteney Cox and David Schwimmer Friends "TOW The Football" Deleted Scene

Courteney Cox and David Schwimmer Friends "TOW The Football" Deleted Scene

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"