Life in the United States

American Football Simplified

A football field is 100 yards long. The line dividing the field in the center is the 50 Yard Line. There are other lines marking the field off into 5 yard sections. There is a Goal Post at each end of the field, in the End Zone, one for each team.

Each team has an Offense and a Defense. When the Offense of one team is on the field, the Defense of the other team is on the field. The Offense has the ball and tries to score by getting it across the Goal Line - the line where the playing field and the End Zone meet. The Defense tries to stop them.

The Offense gets four tries to move the ball 10 yards toward their own goal post. These are called Downs. If they make the 10 yards or more, they get another four tries to move the ball another 10 yards. If they don't move the ball 10 yards in four tries, the ball goes to the other team, or the team “loses the ball.”

When a team loses the ball, their Offense leaves the field and is replaced by their Defense. The other team's Defense leaves the field and is replaced by their Offense.

Play is started by the Offense and Defense lining up facing each other. The Offense faces the direction of their Goal Post. The Quarterback passes (throws) the ball to one of his team mates. If he catches it, he runs toward the End Zone. If he makes it across the Goal Line, his team scores a Touchdown and gets six points. The team then gets a chance to earn an extra point by kicking the ball through the Goal Posts or two points by passing or running the ball into the End Zone.

If the team mate catches the ball, the Defense runs after him and tries to tackle him (grabbing him and causing him to fall to the ground). If he is tackled, play starts again at that point where the ball is. If the team mate doesn't catch the pass, the ball is dead and goes back to the previous starting place.

Sometimes a player of the Defense catches the pass. That's called an Interception. He then runs toward his team's goal and may score a Touchdown for his team. If he intercepts the ball, the other team's players will try to tackle him. Even if he is tackled, his team now has possession of the ball. His team's Defense leaves the field, replaced by their Offense. The other teams Offense leaves the field, replaced by their Defense.

A Football Game is made up of 60 minutes of play time. The 60 minutes is divided into four Quarters of 15 minutes each. At the end of two Quarters, there is a break called Half Time. On the Scoreboard you can see the minutes and seconds running out. The team with the most points at the end of four Quarters wins.

The Super Bowl is the final game of the Football season when two teams play each other for the championship. The game takes place in late January or early February. For some people the TV commercials are the best part of the Super Bowl.

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