The Rules of Football


Football is a team sport, played with between 11 and 18 players on two opposing teams. It is played in four quarters of 15 minutes each, and the game is won by the team that scores the most points during the course of the match. There are many different ways to score in football, including touchdowns, field goals, sacks and safeties. The rules of football are complex, and teams must adhere to a strict set of guidelines in order to play fair.

The game of football is played on a field that is 100 yards long and 30 yards wide, divided into eight equal playing zones by a set of small lines known as hash marks. The hash marks are spaced a set distance apart from each other, and they get closer together as the game progresses. Each team starts the game with the ball on its own side of the field, and they must try to advance the ball across the opponent’s goal line in order to score a touchdown.

In order to advance the ball, each team has a series of four attempts, called downs, to make it a minimum of 10 yards upfield. If they can’t reach this point in the allotted time, they must punt the ball to the other team. However, if they make it to the first down, they get another four downs to continue trying to advance the ball. This process continues until the team either scores a touchdown or they surrender the ball to the defensive team.

After each down, the officials determine how far the team has advanced or lost (a team can lose yards if their player is tackled behind the line of scrimmage). The ball is then placed at the point where the team ended up, and they will have a new set of downs to attempt to advance the ball.

After a touchdown is scored, the winning team can choose to go for one or two points. If they choose to go for one point, they must kick a field goal from a set distance, usually 15 yards in the NFL and high school, or 30 yards in college. If they choose to go for two points, they must run a single play from the two-yard line, and they must get the ball into the end zone in order to be awarded the points.

If the scoring team does not make it into the end zone on their second or third down, a safety is awarded to the defending team. This is an uncommon occurrence, and it happens only when the ball carrier is either downed or knocked out of bounds while carrying the ball in their own end zone. The defending team then receives two points for the safety. If a team is unable to advance the ball in their next possession, they will lose the game. In overtime, a coin toss is used to decide which team will possess the ball first.