All About American Football Rules

American football is, along with baseball, the most popular sport in the United States, but although we all know the Super Bowl well, in Spain and other countries this discipline is not very widespread, so it is normal that we do not know for sure which are the rules of NFL football.

To understand what American football is, you have to think about other ball sports that originated mainly in the United Kingdom during the 19th century, such as rugby and soccer, where the idea is to kick the ball towards a goal. In the case of American football, it emerged a little over 100 years ago in the United States and is closely related to rugby, which is why it consists of 22 players on the field: 11 offensive and 11 defensive.

In this sense, the attacking team must move the soccer ball by making passes and running towards the goal area, while the defense must block the passage to prevent the rival from advancing, thus preventing him from scoring points. The accumulated score depends largely on the form of scoring. Basically, there are 4 ways to do it.

How to score points in American football?

If you’re looking for information on American football, you probably want to know about scoring. The so-called touchdown is the most desired way of scoring, which consists of taking the ball until it crosses the opponent’s limit zone or simply capturing a pass from inside the area. This contributes 6 points to the scoreboard, so many times it can define a game at the last moment.

Another way to score is through the Field Goal, called a field goal in Spanish, which is about hitting the ball with your foot to make it pass through the goal post. It is also considered a great play, as it is worth 3 points. This is why kicker is considered one of the most valuable positions in football. Currently, we can mention some relevant players like Adam Vinatieri and Justin Tucker, who have played in important American football teams.

It is also necessary to mention the extra point, which can occur if the team that has just scored a touchdown manages to kick the ball and make it pass between the posts. In this case, he earns 1 extra point, for a total of 7. Now, if he gets the ball back into the end zone, either on a ground or air play, he earns 2 extra points, which is known as a conversion play, which is not easy to achieve, but would add a total of 9 points to the offense.

A fourth option is the so-called safety, a play that results from tackling the offense that brings the ball into one’s end zone. In addition, it is considered a safety when the ball is not reached in a punt and goes out of the field through the sides or the area behind the goal. In this case, if the kicker has the ball in his hand and steps on the white line between the out and the end zone, he is also a safety, so the opposing team scores 2 points.

basic rules of american football

An important difference between rugby and American football is the duration of the matches. If you are wondering how long a football game lasts, you should know that it is 60 minutes, divided into 4 quarters of 15 minutes. The team that has reached the highest score in that playing time is the winner of the match. This is the main rule in American football regulations, while in rugby it is 80 minutes divided into two halves of 40 minutes each.

According to the rules of American football accepted by the National Football League (NFL), games are divided into downs or attempts, that is, a down corresponds to the time a play lasts. It all starts with an initial pass or kick and ends when the football player with the ball touches the ground with any part of his body except his feet and hands. This is why the opposing team will try to take him down.

At each opportunity, the team has 4 attempts to move forward 10 yards, which in meters is 9.1. If on the second attempt he advances 13.7 m, then he wins another 4 new attempts of 9.1 m and continues with the ball in his possession. In case the team fails on the fourth attempt to reach 9.1m, the opponent wins the chance to start the next rally from the point where the failed attempt was made.

Players and their teams in American football

In a game, we can find 3 categories of players: defenders, who prevent the other group from advancing towards the end zone, attackers, who try to score while in possession of the ball, and thirdly, a special team, who It is mainly responsible for performing the kicks during the match. 

One of the most relevant positions in American football is that of quarterback, since he is in charge of making the team’s decisions regarding offense. Therefore, he must maintain a direct dialogue with the team coach, to order plays to his teammates and say when to pass the ball. This is the player we heard screaming for much of the match.

On offense we can highlight two groups of American football players: the running backs, who start from behind and wait for the quarterback to give them the ball in hand, always trying to cross the rival team’s barrier to advance as many meters as possible. On the other hand, there are the receivers, who move around the field without the ball, attentive to receive a pass.

Before continuing, it is good to clarify that, although Quidditch has some similarities with this sport, it is actually very different, mainly because American football equipment does not include a broom. But if you’re wondering how many players there are on a Quidditch team, we can tell you there are 7: 3 Chasers, 2 Beaters, 1 Keeper and 1 Seeker.

Other Important Considerations

The football field must be 109.7m long, including 9.1m in each end zone, as well as 48.4m wide. In this sense, there is a line before the goal area that is called the Goal Line. It is the limit that the player in possession of the ball must reach to score a touchdown. In addition, in the center of each end zone there are posts that serve as goals for field goals and extra points.

To finish, it is worth mentioning the American football, which is very easy to recognize, since it has a particular ovoid shape. It is an inflated rubber tube that weighs between 397 and 425 g.

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