How Football Is Played

Football is a team sport played between two teams of eleven players on a field with either a goal or line at one end and the opposing teams end zone at the other. The ball used must be between 58 and 61 cm in diameter and players can not touch it with anything other than their hands. Each team has a captain that calls the plays on the field for their side whilst the referees sort out any other issues. The game can stop for a number of reasons including if a player runs out of bounds, if a penalty is called or if a pass is not caught by a player (an incomplete pass).

A play in football lasts until the ball goes down on the ground or a member of the defence touches the ball. The team that owns the ball then gets four chances, or downs, to try and advance the ball ten yards further. Once they fail to do so the count resets and they must hand over the ball to the defending team.

The defending team then attempts to stop the attacking team from scoring. This can be done by tackling the attackers within their own end zone which is worth 2 points. It can also be done by intercepting a pass or recovering a fumble that the offensive team has dropped. A defensive touchdown is worth 6 points and can only be scored when the attacking team manages to carry or catch the ball in the opponent’s end zone.

In between the downs of a game, both teams can choose to punt the ball which is kicked downfield over a series of yard markers known as hash marks. The field is 160-feet wide and the yard markers are marked with stripes that run in 5-yard intervals. A line of scrimmage is drawn across the center of the field and the quarterback is guarded by his team’s offensive line. Each player on the offensive line has a specific job and they are known as the left and right tackle, the left and right guards and the center.

If a penalty is committed by a team, the referee will throw a yellow flag onto the field to let the other players know that a violation has been committed. If a player commits a penalty, they may lose between 5 and 15 yards of field position.

The game normally ends after four quarters of play. If the game is tied after that, overtime is played. In overtime, the coin toss decides which team will get the first possession of the ball. Then a series of four plays is played where the team that makes the most points wins. If the game is still tied after overtime, a second period of play is played in which the first team to score wins. The most common way to score is by a touchdown, which is worth six points and can be achieved by running with the ball or throwing it into the opposition’s end zone.