The Basics of Football


Originally a mix of rugby and soccer, football is played on an oval field. The object is to advance the ball into the opposing team’s end zone. The team with the most points when time is up wins. Football is played around the world, with billions of people watching it on television.

The rules of football vary from country to country. Some countries have professional leagues while others play amateur soccer. The highest levels of play feature superstars. Most countries organize cup competitions throughout the season. In the NFL, teams hold open tryouts. Some players may be contracted free agents. Some leagues also feature part-time players.

Players are grouped into offensive and defensive positions. The offensive unit includes a quarterback, an offensive lineman, and a wide receiver. The defensive unit includes a halfback, a linebacker, and a defensive back. The ball is then passed from the offensive team to its teammate. The offensive team advances the ball by passing it, dribbling it, or throwing it. The defensive team tries to block the pass and intercept the ball. The quarterback then throws the ball to an offensive player who runs into the end zone. The player then fumbles the ball and the ball is recovered by a defensive player. The offensive team may try to advance the ball again. The defensive team may try to stop the play by tackling the player. In some situations, the offensive team may be forced to punt.

The kicker attempts to kick the ball through the goal posts, resulting in extra points. The ball can also be kicked out of the field of play. The offensive team may run or dribble the ball into the end zone, called rushing. The defensive team may tackle the ball carrier in the end zone or force it out of the end zone. In the NFL, the offensive ball carrier commits certain penalties in the end zone. The offensive team may be penalized for offsides, pass interference, a false start, or an illegal block in the back.

An incomplete pass is one in which the ball does not cross the goal line. In the NFL, a forward pass that flies out of the end zone or is caught by an opponent is called an incomplete pass. It is worth two points. Similarly, a safety is scored when the offensive player is tackled in the end zone.

A player may also advance the ball by throwing it or carrying it. In some cases, the ball is handed from one teammate to another. Other plays may involve long gains or turnovers.

There are 17 Laws of the Game that are designed to apply at all levels of play. Some of these Laws are framed in broad terms, such as “the offensive player carries the ball.” Other rules apply to specific groups, such as female players. There are also complicated penalties for various types of contact.

A false start is a play in which the offensive player changes positions after the snap. Some plays have the potential for long gains, turnovers, or loss of yardage. Other plays are deemed safe. Several IFAB decisions and directives also contribute to the regulation of the game.