A Guide to American Football Basic for Beginners

A Guide to American Football Basic for Beginners

A Guide to American Football Basic for Beginners


American football is undoubtedly the most popular sport in the US, with millions of Americans converging to watch the NFL Super Bowl annually. Besides the massive fan base in its country of origin, it also has millions of fans worldwide.

Despite its global appeal, many people still find American football quite confusing. This could be because the game looks quite different from other popular sports such as soccer, basketball, and hockey. That is especially the case for international fans and beginners, as they might find the game’s rules quite complex including the meaning of sacked.

Because of its popularity, the NFL, the pro league, is one of the most contested leagues, with avid pundits placing millions of dollars worth of bets by taking advantage of promotions like the Everyday casino welcome bonus. If you’re one of those who findS American football confusing, this article is for you. Here is a breakdown of the NFL matches.

1. The aim of the game

In American Football, the aim is to score points by getting the ball into the other team’s end zone. This can be done by either running with the ball there, kicking it through the goalposts, or catching a pass here, a move worth 3 points.

Each team has four downs, or chances, to move the ball 10 yards forward. If they don’t manage to do so, then the other team gets a chance to play. In the end, the team that scores the most points wins the match.

2. Positions and players

American Football is played between two teams, and each side has 11 players. Team players are divided to serve different positions. Those posts include:

  • Quarterback: The quarterback position is perhaps the most popular position in this league. He is the one who leads the offense and is also tasked with passing or running the ball. 
  • Running backs: The running back is the player who runs with the ball behind the quarterbacks.
  • Wide receivers: A wide receiver’s job entails catching passes from the quarterback.
  • Tight ends: The primary responsibility of tight ends in the team is to block defenders from their opponent. They also catch passes.

3. Downs

As mentioned, each team in American Football gets four downs to move the ball 10 yards. If the team in possession fails to do that, it is considered a turnover. As a result, the other team gets a chance to play offense.

The first down is registered when the offense gains possession of the ball for the first time. They get four opportunities to cover the 10 yards. The second down is called when the first down has been made, which continues during the game.

4. Scoring

In American Football, there are different ways to score points. These include:

  • Touchdown: The go-to way to score in the NFL is by getting a touchdown, a move worth 6 points. Players can score by carrying the ball into the end zone, catching a pass in the end zone, or recovering a fumble in the end zone.
  • Extra point: An extra point is scored after a touchdown. It is worth 1 point. The team that has just scored the touchdown can kick the ball through the goalpost for one additional point or try and score another touchdown from the 2-yard line, which would be worth 2 points.
  • Safety: Safety is scored when the defending team tackles the offensive in their own end zone. This type of scoring adds two extra points to the defense and a change of possession.

5. Fouls and penalties

Similar to other sports like soccer and basketball, American Football has different fouls and penalties. These are:

  • Offensive fouls: An offensive foul is a foul committed by the offensive team during the game. They can include things such as false starts, ineligible man downfield, as well as a delay of game.
  • Defensive fouls: As the name suggests, defensive fouls are committed by the defensive team. They can include pass interference as well as roughing the passer.
  • Special teams fouls: Special teams fouls are committed by either team during special team plays such as field goal attempts and punts. They may include too many players on the field or delay of game.

6. The American football field

The playing surface in an American Football game is called the field. It measures 100 yards long and 53.3 yards wide. You’ll see goalposts at both ends of the field, and teams score points by kicking the ball through them.

The field is divided into two main sections:

  • Offensive side: The offensive side is the side the team in possession is trying to score on.
  • Defensive side: The defensive side is, as its name suggests, the side where the defending team is positioned.

There are also end zones at each end of the field. These are 10 yards deep, and the game’s main aim is to score a touchdown by carrying the ball into this area.

There are also yard line markings on the field, used to measure distance and progress during the game.


American Football is a sport enjoyed by millions of people worldwide. It’s a fast-paced and exciting game that has a massive following. If you’re new to the sport, you will hopefully find this guide helpful as an excellent introduction to the basics of American Football.


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