The Basics of Football


Football is a sport that involves 11 players on one team (the offensive team). The aim of the game is to score points. To do this, the offense must carry the ball across the goal line, or pass it into the end zone. The defending team, which also has 11 players, tries to stop the offensive team’s progress or to make it give up possession of the ball.

The game begins with a kickoff. A special player called a placekicker places an ovoid ball on a tee at the defence’s 35-yard line and kicks it to the offense.

Downs: On every down, the offensive team is given four attempts to gain 10 yards, or a “first down,” from their starting point (the line of scrimmage). If the team does not achieve a first down within those four downs, it loses control of the ball and the defence takes possession of it.

Punt: On the third down of the fourth quarter, if a team fails to reach a first down or if the ball is touched by a defender before it goes to the next play, the defense elects to “punt” the ball. The ball is then kicked to the other team, or if it is caught by the opponent, the ball is returned for a touchback and the game restarts.

Extra Points: If a team scores a touchdown, it can try to add a point by running or passing the ball into the end zone in the manner of a field goal for 1 point, or kicking it over the crossbar and through the goal posts in the manner of a point after touchdown (PAT). A two-point conversion attempt is made by the same team.