American football is one of the most popular sports in the United States. It is also the 9th most followed sport around the world, with a fan base of 400+ million people.
On an average, the broadcast of an NFL game goes on for 3 hours, though the actual game is played for 60 minutes, divided into 4 quarters each. Around 1 hour is dedicated to commercials, while the remaining is all about replays and crowd clippings.
With events such as the Super Bowl and several movies made on the game, American football has well and truly entered the American psyche, and has become one of the most popular sports in the United States of America.
This is a game played passionately at NFL, college, and high school levels across the whole country, and has the ability to attract the largest audiences as well. In fact, it is claimed that the Super Bowl has been one of the most watched programs on television for several years now.
Getting away from the glamour and big bucks aspect, we'll have a closer look at the field on which the game is played.
Football Field Diagram
Basic Pitch Size
American football is typically played on a rectangular field, which has a length of 360 ft and breadth of 160 ft. The longer lines are known as the sidelines and the shorter ones are called the end lines. The game has to be played within this playing area itself. The point of the game is to score points by advancing the ball into the opposition's end zone.
The sport is also knows as gridiron, because the various markings on the pitch make it look like a grid. There are horizontal lines across the breadth of the pitch every 5 yards, and the numbering is given every 10 yards to denote the distance from the end zone.
There are also hash marks within the 5 yard lines, each one a yard away from the other. 2 sets of hash marks run down the pitch, each one 53 ft 4 inches away from the sidelines.
The numbering starts from the goal line (G), and continues over every yard, i.e., 10, 20, 30, 40, 50. When the numbers reach 50, they go backwards again, as 50, 40, 30, 20, 10, denoting the distance left till the end zone.
The end zones are located 30 ft from the end line on either side. A touchdown is said to be scored (which gets a team 6 points) when a player breaks through the opposition defense and enters the end zone with the ball in his hand.
Restraining lines are 6 ft behind the sidelines, and are the closest that non-playing members of the team can come, while the game is in progress.
The goal is pitchfork-shaped bars at the end of each end zone. The structure in total, is 20 ft tall and 18 ft 6 inches wide (23' 4" for high school). But the goal can be scored only when the ball is kicked through the top 10 ft of the goal, 'through' the pitchfork.
Both teams have a designated area for their coaches at the opposite sides of the field, which is called the coaching box.