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How To Understand Football

by Kevin 2 years ago in football
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Here's how to learn a bit about how the game is played by the National Football League.

The NFL Superbowl each January is a major event with people throwing viewing parties and advertising spots selling for an average of $5 million each year. When you want to get in on the fun, it can be intimidating to watch your first couple of games with people who have been fans for years because football can be difficult to understand. To help you prepare for your big game day celebration, it is a good idea to have plenty of snacks, some fan gear and know a bit about how the game is played by the National Football League.

Rules and Fundamentals

Most of the rules and fundamentals of football are standard across the NFL, school and university level sports and even local youth leagues. Two teams of eleven players use a 120-yard field which is marked off in ten-yard increments. Points are scored with a touchdown or a field goal and the teams take turns playing offense and defense. Professional and educational level teams will have specialty teams whose players only take the field at specific times. For instance, the field goal kicker is usually on a specialty team and takes the field when the team is in a position to get a field goal. Local, informal or youth level teams will usually have a smaller number of players with up to eleven players on the field at a time.

Informal betting can take place during almost any sports game at various levels and some sports’ bars offer formal betting for those inclined. You can even use a promissory note for betting between friends at parties or in Fantasy Football Leagues.

Team Dynamics and Numbers

There are over two dozen positions for players to take in football including the quarterback and tight end on the offense, linebacker and safety on the defense, and punter and long snapper on specialty teams. Each position has unique responsibilities and there may be more than one on the field at a time. For instance, there are two wide receivers on the offensive team whose goal is to get clear of the defense and catch passes, and two cornerbacks on the defensive team whose goal is to cover the receivers and prevent the passes from connecting.

Each team has their own color and design of jerseys and you can usually buy ones designed for fans in the team’s shop. The numbers on the back of the jerseys allow for quick identification of what is going on for both fans and sports casters. Within each league, the numbers have their own significance with the NFL having a range of numbers available for each position such as a punter having a number less than 19 and a safety having a number between 20-49.

Downs and Scoring

Offensive teams need to advance the ball towards the opposing end zone, the marked off ends of the field which are painted with team logos, by either passing the ball or running it. They have four chances, or “downs” to advance the ball ten yards before turning the ball over to the other team and will usually punt the ball if they are close to another first down.

Getting the football into the end zone gives the team six points with a chance to kick a field goal for an extra point or run it in again for a conversion worth two more points. The team can also opt to kick a field goal between the goal posts and above the crossbar without getting to the end zone, usually within 40 yards, for 3 points, the cross bar is ten feet above the ground. Sometimes a team can score what is called a “safety” when an opponent with the ball travels backwards into their own goal and is tackled.

A lot of understanding football is about watching games being played and asking questions when they come up. However, you can find blogs and videos online to help you spot and breakdown various types of plays, understand the lingo and determine the stats for various famous players.


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