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American Football Rules | How To Play American Football

  • Sep 17, 2019
  • pitchhigh
  • 7723

America is in a realm of its own and so are its sports. Playing American football is considered one of the toughest sports of all time in the country and the players who play for the game are a huge deal in there. Often this game seems too far fetched for a commoner who is so used to the conventional football that the Americans call soccer. And it is understandable; given the complexity of the game it is hard to grasp the rules and the flow of the game as soon as the game is introduced to you.

Here are how the game is played and some basic things that you need to know if you wish to play the game or simply watch the sport for the experience of.

The important factor that you need to understand about American football is that it is not just a game of speed and tactics like conventional football. This is a game that involves a lot of mind games, strategies, strength and most importantly teamwork. No one person can win this game on his or her own efforts so the entire team has to know what the other player is thinking in order to successfully complete the manure that they intended to do.

Field of play

The total field is 100 yards in length and 53 yards wide. The center of the field is where the game is started. The far end of both sides of the field is called as the end zone where the team can score points for their team. At the end of the end zone is a goal post at each side of play where players can kick the ball into the goal for extra points. 

The flow of the game

After the toss, the captain of the toss winning team can choose if they want to kick the ball or get the ball on kicked to them by the other team. The team that gets the ball must move a minimum of 10 yards before 4 downs. A down is when the ball touches the ground or the player holding the ball is tackled. If the offense fails to make the 10 yards before 4 downs the ball is handed over to the opponent team for them to start their offensive game. However, if the offensive team covers the required 10 yards in the 4 downs they get the downs to reset where they get 4 more downs to cover the next 10 yards. This continues until the offense team reaches the opponent's end zone.

The game is played in 4 quarters with each quarter going for 15 minutes. There is a 12 minutes half-time in-between the 2nd and 3rd quarter. In addition to this each team gets 6 time outs for discussion during the playtime that lasts for 60 seconds each.

How to score points

The aim of the game is to take the ball across the opponents end zone, by doing so the offensive team scores 6 touchdown points. After which they can either choose to kick the ball into the goal post for 1 extra point or toss it can catch inside the end zone for 2 extra points. If the defense team tackles the offense team player who has the ball in to the offense teams end zone then the defense team gets 2 points. At any point of the game during the 4th down the offense team can choose to kick the ball onto the field for 3 points.

Team composition

On a normal day an American football team consists of 53 members. When only 11 players are allowed on the field why do they need 53 members? A team normally contains 3 sections of players the defense team the offense team and the special team. The defense team is used when the team is defending their end zone and the offense team is used when they are trying for the touchdown. The special team consists of players of both offense and defense disciplines. The special team is also trained in kicks as that are what they are most used for.


Illegal procedure: when the player moves before the ball is thrown, Penalty of 5 yards.

 Ineligible receiver: when the receiver is over the line of scrimmage or the 10 yard line, penalty of 5 yards.

Delay of game: when offence takes more than 25 seconds to start the play, 5 yards penalty.

Grounding the ball: when the quarterback throws the ball away instead of throwing it to a receiver, 5 yards and loss of down.

Offside: when the receiver is ahead of the ball, 5 yards penalty.

Holding: offence using his hands while blocking, 10 yards penalty.

Illegal block: holding a player from the back, 10 yards advance for the offense team.

Pass interference: tackling a player while the ball is in the air, 15 yards 0r 1st down without covering the 10 yards.

Un-necessary tackle: tackling a player when he no longer has the ball, 15 yards advance for the offense team. 

Face masking: grabbing a players mask while tackling, 15 yards advance if intended and 5 yards advance if accidental.

Unsportsmanlike contact: 15 yards depending on the side of penalty.

American football can be a tricky game of if you are not able to understand the game on your first few games it is nothing to be ashamed about give it some time and you will get the hang of it in no time. If you are intending to play the game on a serious level practice a lot, make sure you watch more games to understand the game even better and prepare yourself for a hit of two.

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