New to American Football and want to get an idea of how it’s played?
Here is a basic guide to the game and scoring.
The purpose of the game is to move the ball towards, and ultimately into, the opposition’s end zone.
This is achieved by either running with the ball until tackled, or throwing the ball downfield to a team-mate.
Downs are the most fundamental, and confusing, part of the NFL rulebook.
The attacking team, or offence, needs to move the ball forward in chunks of at least 10 yards, which is why the pitch has yardage markings.
They have four chances, or downs, to gain those 10 yards.
When the ball has advanced that far another first down is earned, with four more chances to go a further 10 yards.
If the offensive team fails to move 10 yards within four downs, possession is surrendered, although the ball is usually kicked, or punted, to the defending team on fourth down.
While most scoring comes from near the defending team’s end zone, a touchdown can be scored from anywhere on the field, and on any down.
These are the complicated movements involving all 11 players teams use to move the ball downfield.
Plays are called by the head coach or quarterback, who is the attacking lynchpin of any team.
While the term usually refers to attacking teams, defending teams also use set plays to stop their opponents’ forward movement.
The offensive team has 30 seconds to get the ball in play or kick a field goal.
Touchdown (six points)
A touchdown is scored when a team crosses the opposition’s goal line with the ball, or catches or collects the ball in the end zone.
Field goal (three points)
These are usually attempted on fourth down if the kicker is close enough to the end zone to kick the ball through the posts, or uprights.
Extra point (one or two points)
A point is earned by kicking the ball through the uprights after a touchdown (similar to a rugby conversion). Two points are earned by taking the ball into the end zone again.
Safety (two points)
Awarded to the defensive team when a member of the offensive team is tackled with the ball in his own end zone.
These are just the basics and there’s more to learn but why not come down to see how easy it is to learn this exciting sport!