Football is a team sport that involves 11 to 18 players on each side. Teams of both men and women play the game, though it is mostly played by men in the NFL and college football. Men and boys may begin playing the sport as young as elementary school, while girls can start at the junior high level. A player may continue to play the sport all through high school and college, and some of these players go on to professional football careers.
The sport has both short term and long term health benefits for participants. It builds stamina, which enables the body to move for longer periods of time without getting tired. It also builds muscle and burns calories, which helps maintain a healthy weight. In addition, it promotes teamwork and socialization skills. The physical activity in the sport releases endorphins, which help to improve mood and alleviate stress.
During the course of a game, a team will attempt to advance the ball downfield toward the opponent’s end zone. This is done by running the ball or passing it to a teammate. The defense must stop the offense from advancing the ball to avoid a penalty, and when the defense stops the offense in its own end zone it gets a “safety” and two points.
If a team fails to gain ten yards in four downs, the officials will blow the whistle and signal the end of the first half of the game. The teams change ends of the field at the end of the first and third quarters, but otherwise the current situation on the field (as to downs remaining and distance-to-goal) remains unchanged.
Each game begins with a kickoff. The kicking team chooses which end of the field it wants to use for its kickoff, and then places a marker or kicking tee at that point. The non-kicking team then waits behind a line 10 yards further downfield — the 45-yard line in the NFL and 50-yard line in college and high school football.
The kicking team then kicks the ball using its specialized kicking equipment. The non-kicking team then attempts to catch the ball and return it downfield for a series of offensive plays.
If the kicking team makes a successful kickoff, the non-kicking team will then have possession of the ball at its own 20-yard line. The team will then try to move the ball toward the opponent’s end zone on its next set of offensive plays.
If the offensive team reaches the opponent’s end zone by running into it or receiving a pass while in the end zone, the team scores six points. The attacking team can also kick the ball through a goal post for an extra point. Alternatively, the team can attempt a field goal, which is worth three points.