The Basics of Football

Football is a team sport in which the ball is kicked between two opposing teams and into a goal area or over a line. It is the world’s most popular game in terms of participation and spectators. It can be played almost anywhere from official football fields (pitches) to gymnasiums, streets, school playgrounds and parks. The game is simple in its principal rules and requires little equipment.

The earliest evidence of football-type games dates back more than 2,000 years, to ancient China, Greece and Rome, where the ‘ball’ was made of rock or animal hide stuffed with hair. Eventually, the game evolved into what is now called soccer, or association football. During the 19th century, schools adopted it to encourage team activities and discipline among pupils after classes. The emergence of industrialization caused working-class communities to form and allowed larger groups to gather together in teams that competed against one another.

In the beginning, public school teams dominated the leagues, but eventually private clubs and colleges would take over. At the same time, railroads would make it easier for these teams to travel to different cities and compete against other public and private schools. This would be a major factor in the growth of football to a professional level.

Until the middle of the 19th century, the game was played almost exclusively by hand. Walter Camp, who is considered the father of American football, radically changed the game by allowing forward passing. He also created the guidelines fans are familiar with today such as the line of scrimmage, the center-to-quarterback snap and a system of downs.

There are more than 200 members in the Federation Internationale de Football Association, or FIFA, which is the sport’s global governing body. It is estimated that there are more than 250 million football players worldwide and over 1.3 billion people interested in watching the quadrennial month-long World Cup finals.

A game of football consists of two teams, each consisting of up to 11 players. A player cannot enter the field without a referee’s permission. There are also rules on how many substitutions can be made during a game. More than eleven players on the field results in a penalty.

The game is played on a 100-yard-long field with 10-yard end zones for each team. There are white lines running the length of the field, and shorter lines, called hash marks, marking each single yard interval down the field. A foul committed near a hash mark will usually result in a penalty.

The game is scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team’s end zone for a touchdown or over the opponent’s goal posts for a field goal. The team with the most points wins. It used to be that a quarterback was protected after he threw the ball, but the rules committee realized this was not in the best interests of the game. Hence, the Roughing the Passer penalty was put into place.