The rules of American football
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American football goal

American football was born more than a hundred years ago in the United States derived from English rugby. It is a ball game played by two teams, that is, 11 offensive players play against 11 defensive players. The attacking team tries to carry the ball, either by running or bypassing into the end zone and thus scoring points. The defense has to try to impede the advance of the rival team towards the score.

Depending on whether you carry the ball to the end of the course, or if you simply kick it between the opponent’s clubs, it will trigger a different number of points for your team. The team with the highest score, after 60 minutes of play, wins the match.

Basic knowledge of American football

  • When a player throws the ball into the opposing team’s end zone, located at each end of the field, we refer to a  touchdown or tryout. This awards 6 points and the opportunity for 1 extra point or a 2 point conversion.
  • The extra point consists of passing the ball through the goalpost with a kick. 1 point is added to the attacking team.
  • The 2-point conversion consists of trying to get the ball back into the end zone in one play, either by running or passing. 2 points are added.
  • A match lasts a total of 60 minutes, divided into four sets of 15 minutes each.
  • In a possession, each team has 4 attempts to advance 10 yards (9.1 m) forward. If on the second attempt it was possible to advance a total of 15 yards from the initial point, the team with possession again has 4 new attempts with 10 yards ahead and continue with the ball in their possession. If a team tries to achieve those 10 yards on the fourth attempt (even if it only has 2 yards to go) and fails, the opponent will start the next play at the point where that play was made.
  • The rules of American football
    The rules of American football
  • down or attempt refers to the time in which a play is made. This begins with a pass or a kickoff and ends when the player in possession of the ball touches the ground with any part of his body (except the hands and feet).

The teams

  • 2 teams each with 11 players on the court for each play.
  • 45 interchangeable players on each team.
  • Players are often divided into 3 different categories. Offense, defense, and special teams.
  • The 11 players on the playing field are determined by what attack and defense decide to establish.
  • The quarterback is the most important position. It’s about who makes all the offensive decisions of the team. He is the only one in the attack that maintains a direct dialogue with the coach, orders the plays to the rest of the team, and decides on which occasion to pass the ball.
  • In attack, there are two types of players. The receivers, who run around the field without the ball, waiting for the quarterback to give them a pass and thus gain yards. And the running backs, who start from behind waiting for the quarterback to give them the ball from hand to hand and trying to penetrate the rival defense with the aim of gaining as many yards as possible.
The rules of American football
football

Field

  • The dimensions of the field are 120 x 53 – 1/3 yards or 109.7 x 48.8 meters.
  • Each end zone is 10 yards deep, leaving a lane 100 yards long.
  • In the center of each end zone, the goalposts are used for additional points and field goals.
  • The line before the end zone is called the “Finish Line”. The attacker attacks this line with the ball, resulting in a touchdown.
  • The last 20 yards to the end zone of the defense are called the “Red Zone.” The red zone has no official meaning for the game but is used as an indicator that the attacker reaches the red zone where they should be able to score points.

The ball

An American football with its iconic white dots and brown leather.

The American football ball is an easily recognizable ovoid, it is a rubber chamber inflated from 12 1/2 to 13 1/2 pounds, covered by a layer of leather and its weight is 397 – 425 gr. When the ovoid is thrown, it flies in a spiral and generally revolves around itself.

Punctuation

Touchdown: 6 points – the ball crosses the line into the opponent’s end zone. After a touchdown, the team has the opportunity to try to make an extra point or a 2-point conversion.

Extra point: 1 point – after a touchdown, the attacker can choose to kick the ball between the two-goal bars in the end zone of the attack. The safest point attempt after a touchdown.

Conversion: 2 points – instead of looking for safer “extra points”, the scoring team can attempt to get the ball across the opponent’s end zone one more time, after successfully scoring a 6-point score.

Safety / Self-scoring: 2 points – An offensive player is tackled within his own end zone while in possession of the ball or the offense commits a penalty within his own end zone.

The rules of American football
The rules of American football

Formations

A formation refers to the players positioned in line before the start of a play. There are both offensive and defensive formations and many derivations in both categories.

The I Formation is perhaps the most used formation of attack. It owes its name to the column-shaped like an “i” that make up the  Center,  Quarterback,  Fullback and  Runningback. Its popularity is due to the fact that it is very balanced and allows a wide variety of both passing and running plays. FB and TE can act as receptors or as blockers and is a difficult formation for defenses to interpret.

The  Shotgun is a pass-oriented formation. The  Quarterback is placed further from the  Center and that forces to make a   long snap. The separation between the ball and the offensive line, in addition to the help in blocking the  Tight End and  Runningback, allows the QB much more time to select the pass without being overwhelmed by the defense. In addition, the presence of two WRs in Flanker position, which allows them to launch at speed. The QB has more time to pitch.

It receives the name of Formation  Ace or  Singleback by the presence of a single player in the  Backfield. It is very pass-oriented but with a   fast Runningback that can run East-West, to provide Play Action maneuvers that end in a running game.

Glossary 

Interception or intercepted pass: It is a specialized move that occurs when a quarterback’s pass is caught by a player from the opposing team. This leads to an immediate change of possession during the play: the defender who catches the ball immediately assumes the role of an offensive player and tries to advance the ball into the opponent’s court as far as possible.

Fumble: a play in which the offensive player drops the ball while it is still in play. A loose ball can also be forced by an opposing defensive player, who can snatch or hit the ball carried by the attacker voluntarily or involuntarily with any part of his body and clothing (including the helmet). It can also be recovered by the defense and these advance with it.

A sack occurs when the quarterback is tackled or leaves the field of play behind the line of scrimmage before throwing a forward pass. This occurs if someone on the defensive line, one or some linebackers or defensive backs can quickly outpace the blocking players of the offensive team, the basic protection of the quarterback; or if the team cannot find an eligible receiver in a reasonable time who can catch the ball, allowing the defensive team a greater opportunity to tackle the quarterback.

Offside: Offside is a minor foul in American football caused when a defender crosses the imaginary line of scrimmage before the ball is struck. The penalty associated with the infraction is the advance of the ball 5 yards.

False start:  When an offensive player makes a move or pretends that he will start his start on the play before the snap occurs (delivery of the ball by the center to the quarterback). It is penalized with 5 yards.

Game delay:  It is when the offensive team does not center the ball before the seconds it has to do so are used up (40 or 25 depending on the circumstances of the game). Another reason delay of play is penalized is when a defensive player obstructs the rapid completion of the next play.

Pass interference:  It is a penalty that occurs when a player interferes with the ability of an eligible receiver to try to catch a pass. Passing interference can include tripping the opposing player, pushing, pulling, or crossing in front of her or pulling her arms. It does not include catching or deflecting the ball before it reaches the receiver.

 

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