Football Basics

football field 2Football is a field game consisting of 45 players on each of two teams, of which only eleven of each team are on the field at any one time.

One team, in possession of the ball is called the offense, while the other team is the defense.

Length Of Field

The football field is 100 yards long and 160 feet wide. At each end of the field is an additional ten yard strip which is called the end zone.

Thus the total length of the field is 120 yards. The point where the end zone meets the beginning of the playing field is called the goal line. From the goal line, a line is marked across the field every ten yards up to the halfway mark of 50 yards, and then every ten yards to the opposite goal line counting down 40, 30, 20 and 10.

football fieldThe object of the game is to score points by carrying the ball into the defense’s end zone or by passing the ball to one of your players who is already in the defense’s end zone, and thus score a goal, also known as a touchdown.

At the beginning of the game the referee and the two team captains go to the center of the field, where the referee tosses a coin. The winning captain has the choice of kicking the ball to the opposing team or receiving the ball kicked by the opposing team.

Offense, Defense, And Special Team

Each team has an offense, a defense, and a special team. Any number of substitutions may be made, but only while the ball is not in play.

playing football 4When play begins the receiving team tries to advance the ball as far towards the other team’s goal line as it can. As soon as the player who is in possession of the ball is tackled and knocked to the ground the play ends. Alternatively, if he makes it all the way to the kicking team’s end zone he will score a touchdown and the play ends there.

If the first team has the ball they will use their offense team to try to advance to the end zone of the opposition, while the opposition will use their defense team to try to prevent this, and of course vice-versa. If a kicking play is anticipated, both teams will field their special team.


Scoring is as follows. If a touchdown occurs, the offense team scores six points. A touchdown occurs if a player carries the ball across the defense teams’ goal line, or alternatively if an offense player is in the defense end zone and catches a pass.

When a touchdown occurs, the scoring team has the option to try for an extra one or two points. If the team decides to attempt two extra points, it will line up at the two yard line (i.e. two yards in front of the goal line) and have one attempt at running with the ball into the end zone or passing it to a player in the end zone.

Alternatively, they can elect to try for one point by kicking the ball between the goal posts after snapping it from the 15 yard for dummies

A team can also score two points by kicking a field goal. Each team must move forward more than ten yards in four attempts. When a player is prevented from doing this by being tackled, this is called a down. After four downs the ball is kicked to the opposing team who receive it.

In order to prevent a fourth down, the team with the ball will often attempt to kick a field goal if they are near enough to do so. If they score a field goal by kicking the ball over the bar on the goalposts they obtain three points.

A team can also score two points by tackling an opponent with the ball in his own end zone. This is known as a safety.

A game consists of four 15 minute quarters, with three time-outs per half for each team. Half time lasts for 12 minutes. If scores are level at the end of the four quarters, there is a further 15 minutes of sudden death extra time.

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