Don't be a Football Fool: Know the Rules of the American Game
Updated: Feb 15
So, you're heading to a fun Super Bowl LVII party. Lucky you! When you see the big screen causing all the shouts and cheers.
You know there is something happening on the big screen causing all of the shouts and cheers.
Now, you wonder, whatever is happening? Here is a brief last-minute explanation in a nutshell that hopefully helps you understand what all those big helmeted men are doing as they jump on top of each other.
Football is also known as American football. It is a popular sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at either end. The object of the game is to score points by carrying the football across the opponent's goal line. Either catching a pass thrown over the goal line or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts means there is a score of 6 points! Next, if that team kicks a field goal they score 3 points.
The team with possession of the ball is known as the offense and attempts to advance down the field by running with the ball or passing it. The other team, known as the defense, needs to stop the offense and take control of the ball for themselves.
Each team has four downs, or opportunities, to advance the ball 10 yards. If they are successful, they earn another set of four downs. If they fail to advance 10 yards, then the other team will take over possession of the ball. Points can be scored in several ways, including:
Touchdown: Six points are awarded for carrying the ball or catching a pass over the opponent's goal line.
Field goal: Three points are awarded for kicking the ball over the crossbar and between the goalposts.
Extra point: One or two points can be scored after a touchdown by kicking the ball through the goalposts or by carrying it over the goal line.
Football is a physically demanding and rather dangerous sport. Players wear protective gear which includes helmets and padding, to reduce the risk of injury. The sport is played at the high school, college, and professional levels, and is surely one of the most popular and widely watched sports in the United States.
Rules of the football game! Here's a brief overview of the basic rules of American football:
Scoring: The objective of the game is to score points by carrying the ball across the opponent's goal line or catching a pass thrown over the goal line. Points can also be scored by kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts.
Offenses and defenses: There are two teams on the field at any given time, one team on offense and one team on defense. The offense's goal is to advance the ball down the field and score points, while the defense's goal is to stop the offense and prevent them from scoring.
Downs: The offense has four attempts, called downs, to advance the ball 10 yards down the field. If the offense successfully advances the ball 10 yards, they are given another set of four downs to try to advance the ball an additional 10 yards. If the offense fails to advance the ball 10 yards in four downs, the ball is turned over to the defense.
Movement of the ball: The ball can be advanced down the field by running with it or passing it. In order to advance the ball via a pass, the quarterback must throw the ball to a teammate who is eligible to receive it. The ball can also be advanced via a kicking play, such as a punt or field goal attempt.
Fouls and penalties: Fouls are actions that violate the rules of the game, such as holding, illegal contact, and unsportsmanlike conduct. If a player commits a foul, their team may be assessed a penalty, such as loss of yards or an automatic first down for the opposing team.
I hope this gives you a good starting point for understanding the rules of football. Now on to the Super Bowl Party food and fun!