The first and ten is a situation in football when the team earns possession of the ball. Each team has four chances, also called four downs, to move the ball ten yards down the field. The first time the team is given this chance is called the "first and ten" meaning this is the first down and there are still ten yards to cover. Each time the team makes progress down the field, the yards to go will get smaller. Once they reach ten yards, the downs restart and it is the first and ten again. Each time a team gets a new possession, it is a first and ten situation.
For at home viewers, the down and number of yards to complete is displayed on the screen for each play.
Where the ball goes at the beginning of each down is up to the quarterback. Strategies for the first and ten can vary depending on the different types of players on the field. Some quarterbacks opt to run the ball ten yards if they see an open lane, whereas other quarterbacks look for the open pass to a receiver.
Sometimes the goal line is fewer than ten yards away, so these situations are called "first and goal." This means that the team's goal is the endzone, not ten yards. If they do not make it to the end zone, then it goes to second and goal, and so on.
1st and 10 in football refers to the down and yardage needed for a first down. In this case, it is first down and 10 yards are needed to gain another first down. The offense only has four attempts to gain a first down before the ball is given to the opposing team. To gain a first down, the offense must gain 10 total yards of offense. After 10 yards of offense has been achieved, the down is reset to first down and the offense gets four more attempts to gain a first down. The yards needed for a first down are cumulative, so if the offense gained six yards on first down, the next down would be '2nd and 4', meaning it is the second down and they need four yards to get a first down.