As well as being the most popular sport in the United States, football's popularity is growing quickly in other countries around the globe. Whether you're going to your first football game in the stadium, or maybe just attending a friend's Super Bowl party; you'll want to understand the basic rules and dynamics of the game in order to have fun and understand what is going on. This tutorial teaches you the most basic content for non-football watchers (yet) who are looking to see the game as more than just a bunch of guys tackling each other for the ball.
All football quarters are divided into four quarters with breaks between them. Two quarters represent half of the game, and there is a bigger break at half time. The time on each quarter varies according to the level of the football game. In high school football, each quarter is 12 minutes long, and in College Football and the pros (the National Football League), each quarter is 15 minutes long. If you have watched any football, you may have noticed that football games extend a lot over the playing time. That is because the clock stops a lot, and coaches have many time outs to call. That way, although the playing time of a game is between 48 minutes to one hour, a whole football game from beginning to end lasts on average around three hours.
The goal in football is to have scored more points than the opponent by the end of all four quarters. There are four different ways that a team can score. The main way of scoring is by entering the opponent's end zone with the ball, which is worth 6 points. If the team scores a touchdown, they have the opportunity to add some extra points by attempting an extra-point kick or a two-point conversion. Ultimately, teams seek to score a touchdown, however, teams can get close to the end zone and still can't score one. In that case, teams can attempt a field goal to add three points to the score. The fourth and least common way of scoring is the safety, which is worth two points.
Football has what is called a "down system". That is, they have four attempts to travel four yards along the field and towards the end zone. Those attempts are called downs, and whenever a team is able to travel the ten yards, a first down is called, and the "chances" are restored.
In football there are 11 players from each team on the field; however, unlike other sports where players can both attack and defend, football has three different units of teams that focus on three different situations of the game: the offense, the defense, and the special teams. Check out some more about each of the teams below:
The offense is the unit that looks to score; they come onto the field whenever the team possesses the ball. The offense's most important player is the quarterback. Quarterbacks are the coach's representation in the field, and every offensive play will go through the quarterback. The offense tries to score either by running with the ball towards the end zone or passing it. Whichever way they choose to try to advance, the quarterback will be involved.
The defense's goal is to defend and stop the offense from scoring touchdowns and from getting close enough to attempt a field goal. That is done by trying to sack the quarterback and whoever may be carrying the ball. The defense also seeks to intercept passes and force a fumble, both ways to recuperate the ball.
The Special Teams
Funny enough in football players use their hands more than their feet during the game. But still, there are moments in a football game where feet are used and the ball is kicked. The unit that comes into the field in those situations is the special teams. They will focus on punting the ball, attempting field goals. But truly only one player will be kicking the ball, while others protect him from being sacked and the ball from being deflected.
Besides traditional jerseys, there is a lot of equipment that players need to play football. To begin with, the game is played on grass, so players must wear cleats with spikes that will give them tracking and balance when executing athletic moves on the field. Also, football is a pretty physical game, and there is a long list of protection equipment that includes:
- Shoulder Pads
- Thigh pads
- Knee pads
- Protective cup
- Elbow pads
- Hip pads
- Tailbone pads
- Rib pads
Most of that equipment will be under a player's shirt and pants, but you can be certain that they are there.
These are the very basics of football dynamics, the true football 101, and you now know enough to watch a football game and understand what is going on. However, we only scratched the surface of the football content, and if you want to learn even more about football, you can check many more tutorials that Rookie Road has.