How to play American football as a beginner

American football is one of the team sports played on rectangular fields. The objective of each team is to get the football (an oval-shaped ball) down the pitch, by either passing it or running with it. Each team aims to get the ball into the end zone of the opponents. However, the players have to observe all set rules.

Rules of American Football

Here are the basics of football games:

  • The offense team does the scoring. Their main goal is to take the football to the end zone of the defense team. They do that by passing or running the football down the pitch.

  • The offense team has only four downs. A down refers to the attempt to move the football forward 10 yards. If the offensive team fails to advance the football 10 yards after the four downs, the ball goes to the opposing team.

  • During the fourth down, the offense team has the chance to try a punt or a field goal. After choosing a field goal, they have to attempt it within 40 yards.

  • Each game is divided into four 15-minute quarters. The teams have to go for halftime break once – before the third quarter.

  • The team captains have to flip a coin to know the team that will start. The team that wins the coin flip selects a kickoff or receives the opening kickoff. At the start of the second half, the other team gets the choice.

The Time of Play

As mentioned above, each game is divided into four quarters. However, the clock does not run throughout. It stops between certain plays and for timeouts. In NFL and college games, each quarter has to be of 15 minutes but for high school, it is only 12 minutes long. Players have to be careful to avoid penalties.