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Understand American Football – Basic Rules

American Football has been a pastime of American’s for over 100 years. The NFL (National Football League) is the major source of football in the United States and has been so since it merged with the AFL (American Football League) in 1966. The popularity is growing year to year, and before any newcomers can begin to enjoy the sport, they must understand the basic rules and how the game is played.

Object of the Game

There are two teams, with each team protecting one end of the field from their opponents. This area is called the “endzone” and is where a team attempts to get the ball when it is in their possession. There are 11 players from each team on the field at one time and they are separated into “offense” or “defense”.

When a team is on offense, they are given 4 attempts (commonly called “downs”) to attempt to move the ball 10 yards at a time. If they are successful, the downs will reset to 1 and they will attempt to move another 10 yards until they reach the endzone. nfl draft 2020 live stream If the defense is able to stop them from moving 10 yards after 4 attempts, then their team will now get a chance on offense.

The offense is allowed to throw or run the ball to try to move it into the endzone and it is the job of the defense to tackle the player with the ball to the ground in order to stop them from advancing.

Scoring

Similar to most major sports, the object of the game is for one team to score more points than the other team; however, in American Football there are many ways to accumulate the points that make up the final score. Here is a description of each:

Touchdown (6 points) — this occurs when a player from one team is able to cross into their opponent’s endzone with possession of the ball.

Field Goal (3 points) — if a team is unable to get into the endzone, but it close enough to be able to kick the ball between the two goal posts positioned at the back of the endzone, they may attempt to do so.

Extra Point (1 point) — after a touchdown, the scoring team is able to attempt to kick the ball between the opponent’s goal posts to add one point to their score.

2-point conversion (2 points) — after a touchdown, the scoring team can choose to try to get the ball into the endzone again instead of kicking for the extra point. If successful, they are awarded two points.

Safety (2 points) — if an offensive player is tackled into their own endzone by the other’s team’s defense, then the opposing team will be awarded two points and are then given possession of the ball.

Length of Game

The game lasts for 60 minutes and is separated into 2 halves of 30 minutes each. Each half is broken into 2 quarters of 15 minutes each. Each team is awarded 3 timeouts per half which allows them to stop the clock from moving and to give their player’s a rest.

If a team does not use all of their timeouts in the first half, they do not carry over into the second half. If the score is tied at the end of the game, then there will be an overtime period consisting of 15 minutes. The the first team to score any points in overtime will win the game. If nobody scores during this period, the game will be called a tie.

There are many more details which make up the game of American Football, but the above basic rules will be enough to get you started to enjoy and understand the game. Now all you need to do is pick a favorite team and cheer them on!

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