Picture of referees hudled together

Rules of the Game

There are some general rules that pertain to American football, all of which you should know if you intend on playing football. Some rules vary by the type of football being played, for example college football has different rules than the National Football League. However, there are generalities between all types of football. This section emphasizes these overlaps while also distinguishing between the differences in each separate form of football.It is important to understand the rules of this sport as they will be your foundation for learning the sport.


The Basics

Source: http://reference.allrefer.com/encyclopedia/F/football-american-football.html

One of the most important rules of football is that the sport is played with a football. Now that we've covered that, lets move on to some more stimulating information.

There are two sides involved when playing football, or two opposing teams- each comprised of 11 players. Each team generally must have 11 players on the field for any given play.

"The football field is level, measures 100 by 53 1/3 yd (91.4 by 48.8 m), is marked off by latitudinal stripes every 5 yd (4.57 m) and has at each end an end zone 10 yd (9.14 m) deep. In the center of each end zone stand goal posts not exceeding 20 ft (6.10 m) in height, with a crossbar 10 ft (3.05 m) from the ground and with the uprights on either end 24 ft (73.2 m) apart.

Play is directed toward moving the ball across the opponent's goal line, thereby scoring a touchdown, worth six points. In advancing the ball a team may run with it or pass it (forward or laterally), but the team must gain 10 yd (9 m) in four plays (downs) or yield possession of the ball to the opponent.

A picture of a field goal

The defending team tries to stop the ball carrier by tackling him, i.e., forcing him to the ground : thus causing the team with the ball to use up one of its downs. The defending team can gain possession of the ball before the end of four downs by recovering a dropped ball (fumble), or by intercepting a pass.

The game is divided into two halves, each consisting of two quarters, periods of 15 minutes playing time. At the end of each of the first three quarters, the teams exchange goals. Each half begins with a kickoff, which also initiates play after every score (except a safety).

In addition to the touchdown, points are scored by kicking the ball (which is held on the ground by a teammate of the kicker) over the crossbar between the goal posts (a field goal), for three points; and by downing a player in possession of the ball behind his own goal line (a safety), for two points.

Additional points, known as conversions, may be scored after the scoring of a touchdown. In professional play the conversion is earned by kicking the ball over the crossbar of the goal post (worth one point) or by running or passing the ball over the goal line from 2 yd (1.83 m) away (worth two points). In amateur (high school and college) football, the conversion play is begun 3 yd (2.74 m) from the end zone.

When a team is not likely to gain 10 yards in four downs, it often kicks, or punts, the ball downfield, usually on the fourth down. After each down, before resuming play, the opposing teams face each other along an imaginary line, called the line of scrimmage, determined by the position of the ball relative to the goals." (Taken fromhttp://reference.allrefer.com/encyclopedia/F/football-american-football.html)

These are general structures of the game of football which are consistent in the different forms of football. Another common-point is that play in football is broken up into 3 main parts: special teams, offense, and defense.

Special Teams

I begin with special teams because a football game begins with special teams. At the beginning of each game, after a coin toss, the winner is asked what they want to do. The winner can choose to receive the ball first, kick to the opposing team first, or defer. After this, the loser then decides which side of the field they want to defend. A kickoff ensues then ensues to start the game. During a kickoff the special teams unit occupies the field, normally comprised of second-string players whose purpose is to defend the opening and proceeding kickoffs, punts and punt returns,point after attempts, and field goal attempts. See video for further explanation.

Offense & Defense

For information click