American football is much loved right around the world, but as the name suggests, it is most popular in America. Americans are crazy about the sport, it only takes one look at the crowd at an NFL game to see that. Or even going into a local sports bar – it is sure to be filled with all the local team’s merchandise. There are also heaps of people that will be desperate to offer you their picks for the games, looking for NFL picks today is certainly not hard!
American football can be played at a number of levels, at the highest level we have the NFL, then we have college football, where a number of players will work towards their goal of getting into the NFL – most likely through the NFL Draft, and finally we have high school football.
There is so much to love and learn about American football, so if you don’t know anything about this great sport, then you have come to the right place. Have a read on below at some of the key things you should know about American football:
As was explained before, the NFL is the top tier of American football, and there are currently 32 teams that play in the NFL. Each team is then split into one of two conferences, which are either the American Football Conference (AFC) or the National Football Conference (NFC). The teams are then further divided into divisions, each division holding four teams, and are called North, South, East or West.
The field is 120 yard long and also exactly 53.3 yards wide. The field has multiple lines across it, with each line representing ten yards. What you are looking for with the field are the end zones, which are the ten yard zones at each end of the field. If a team gets into the opponent’s end zone, it is a touchdown.
The team as a whole is made up of a number of different players, either from the offence, deference or special teams. However, all the players from the same team will not be on the field at the same time, for example you will only have the offence players on the field when the opponent’s defence players are on. When it comes to the NFL, there are a maximum of 46 active players that are allowed on a game day, so this is why you see so many players standing on the sideline!
In American football, the offensive team has four “downs” to get the ball forward 10 yards. If the offensive team succeeds continually then they can have a long period of possession, make their way successfully down the field and into their opponent’s end zone for a touchdown. There are a couple ways you can get the ball moving forward, either running or throwing. However, only one forward pass is permitted in a single play, and if the catch is not taken at the other end, the pass is deemed incomplete, that is a “down” and the offensive team has to try again.
The thing teams are looking for when scoring is touchdowns. When a team gets the ball into the end zone it is worth a total of six points. After a touchdown is scored, the team can either go for one point conversion (similar to a conversion in rugby – where they try to kick the ball between the two posts), or a two point conversion – which is done by throwing or running the ball back again into the end zone.
Officially, the game has four quarters that are 15 minutes each, but with the amount of stoppages throughout the game, it can cause the game to take three hours or more from start to finish. The clock only starts counting down when the play is active, so all the time between plays is not counted. Each team has 40 seconds after the end of the play to start the next one, otherwise they will be penalized. Both teams also have three timeout periods they can choose to use whenever they want.