The Basics of Football


In football, players attempt to advance the ball toward the goal of their opponents by dribbling it, passing it to teammates, and taking shots at the goal. In some cases, opponents attempt to regain control of the ball, but the number of physical contact between players is minimal. The game is fast-paced, and play is interrupted only when the ball leaves the field of play or when a referee specifies a restart. If an offensive team scores a goal, it gets an automatic first down, and the next play restarts.

Football has a long history. The earliest known version was played in China in the 2nd and third centuries B.C., according to FIFA. Other games such as Harpastum, played in Rome, may have been distant relatives of modern football. Medieval football rules varied greatly based on location and period. In the 18th century, a football tournament was held between two schools. The game was banned during World War I because of its violent nature.

The offensive team must cross the goal line to score a touchdown. The kicker will try to touch the ball between the goalpost and the crossbar during a fourth-down play. During the first two downs, a safety can be scored if the opponent travels backward into its own end zone, fumbles the ball out of bounds, or steps out of bounds. While an offensive safety is rare, it can occur.