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Football Basics: Learn How to Play

Rahul Thadani Aug 8, 2020

American football is a very popular contact sport in the United States of America, and its popularity is unmatched. This game is a derived concept from the soccer and rugby gaming rules.
Delving into history, the concept of American football was first witnessed in actuality with a game materializing between Rutgers and Princeton University on November 6, 1869. Representatives of some prominent universities formed the standard precepts to be followed in the game at all levels.
The university of Harvard maintained a digressed view and abiding more of a rugby tailored game play, which allows a player to advance into the opponent's territory running with the ball in hand.
The National Football League (NFL) is the most widely broadcasted, watched, and followed sporting series in the United States of America. You can enjoy it even more if you have some in-depth knowledge about the game.
American football (or gridiron football) is a game that has become synonymous with American culture, along with baseball, and has millions of fans within the country itself. The game is quite elementary by nature; all one needs to do is make the ball cross over the opponents end zone, and thus, outscore them.

The Basics of the Game

The basic aim of the game is to simply score more points than the opponent within the stipulated time period. Whichever team scores the most points by the game's end, is the winning team.
There are 4 ways in which a team can score points - a running play (by running over the end line with the ball in hand), a passing play (by receiving a pass from a teammate after you have crossed the end line), by tackling an opposition player over his own end line, or by kicking the ball between the two goal posts.
The game is divided into 4 quarters of 15 minutes each. In reality though, there are many pauses and timeouts in the game, so an actual match can go on for as much as 3 hours.
The game rules state that if the scores are tied at the end of the 4th quarter, then an extra 15 minutes are played out. This carries on until one team has more points than the other team, at the end of those 15 minutes.


The field of play is a rectangular sized area that is 360 feet × 160 feet. The length of the field on both sides are the side lines, and the boundaries of the width are the end lines. The end lines are the final boundary of the field, and they house the end zone, an area that lies between the end and goal lines. A player has to reach this end zone to score.
There are lines parallel to the end lines that run the entire length of the field, and the distance between each of these lines is 5 yards. The basics of the game states that each yard line must be covered with a subsequent move and strategy, while inching closer to the end lines.
Each team gets a total of 4 attempts to advance the ball by 10 yards (that is, 2 yard lines). This carries on till the team scores, or loses possession of the football. If the opposing team can force a turnover and gain possession, then the same principle of getting 4 attempts to advance by 10 yards applies to them as well.
The line in the center is known as the line of scrimmage, and this is where the game begins when the starting team's quarterback 'snaps' the ball back to a teammate, and thus, sets a strategic piece of play into motion.
The number of players in each side that are on the field at any given time are 11, but a football squad consists of almost 50 players. Each player has different attributes and a different role to fulfill, so it's not uncommon that all 50 players play a part during one game.
Some players are more adept at offense, some at defense, whereas some others are specialty players. Since the number of substitutions that can be made in a game has no limits, it is possible for all the squad members to get a few minutes in the game.
The basics of football are not hard to understand. The best way to learn the game though, is to simply play it, as experience is the best teacher.