Football is a sport played between two teams of eleven players each, who are called “the offense” and the “defense.” The team with possession of the ball (called the “offense”) tries to move the ball down the field for a score. The other team, the “defense,” tries to prevent the opposing team from advancing the ball by defending their goal and using other tactics.
The offense consists of three basic units: the quarterback, the running backs, and the wide receivers. The quarterback, who carries the ball and directs the running plays, usually starts most plays. The running backs try to get as many yards as possible by escaping the defense. The wide receivers, who run the routes and catch the passes, can also gain yards by catching the pass or running through the defense.
In the United States, the game is often played under the name American football. In other countries, the game is known as gridiron football or simply “football.”
Each team has a set number of players in each position on the field. These players are usually organized in the same way, but can be switched at any time.
A team can score points by passing the ball to one of its teammates, or by kicking the ball into the other team’s goal. The goal is to score a touchdown, which is worth six points. A team can also earn extra points by attempting to kick the ball into the end zone.
The defense tries to stop the offense from moving the ball down the field by tackling the player who has the ball, or by blocking the offensive line. They may also use their special teams units, which are specialized to do certain tasks.
During play, the offense has four attempts to move the ball at least 10 yards, or “downs.” The defense can “punt” the ball to the other team. When the offense fails to reach a first down in four tries, it is called a turnover on downs and the defense takes over possession of the ball at its own 10-yard line.
At the start of a down, the center or long snapper hands or tosses the ball to the quarterback or holder. The quarterback can then hand it off to a running back or throw it to a wide receiver.
If the quarterback throws the ball in an incorrect direction, the receiver who receives it cannot return it to the point where it was thrown. If the receiver does not catch the ball, it is called an incomplete pass and the offensive team is given a new chance to advance the ball.
A fumble is a mishandled or tipped ball that is picked up by a member of the opposing team and flies out of bounds. If the ball is recovered by the opponent’s defenders, it is considered a safety and is worth 2 points.
There are also rules that govern how the ball is handled in the air and on the ground. Injuries are common, and a number of high school football players die from injuries related to the game every year.