American football game rules – how to play american football

By: Dennis B. B. Taylor

Welcome to the World of American Football!

Did you know that American football is the most popular sport in the United States? It’s a thrilling contact sport that requires plenty of strategy, and some people even compare it to a game of chess! In fact, the Superbowl, one of the biggest events in American sports, had a whopping 112 million viewers in 2022. I wonder how many of them were just watching for the halftime show!

Let’s Get Started! The Setup

The Football Field

Let me tell you about an American football field. It’s a pretty spacious place, measuring 100 yards in length. And to add a little extra excitement, there are two end zones at each end, each with a length of 10 yards. Just imagine all the action happening within this space!

Now, to keep things fair, the field is 53 yards wide. That’s quite a wide space for players to run, dodge, and make those amazing catches. And don’t forget about the sidelines! They mark the out-of-bounds zone, so if a player steps on them, it’s no good.

But wait, there’s more! An NFL field has something really special – yard lines. These lines divide the field into sections, with the 50-yard line right in the middle. It’s like the heart of the field, beating with anticipation. And from the 50-yard line, the yard lines count down towards the end zones. So, as the players make their way towards the goal, they pass each yard line, getting closer and closer.

Speaking of getting closer, the end zone is the ultimate target for both teams. You’ll find the 10-yard line closest to each end zone on the field. It’s like a barrier, teasing players with the excitement of a touchdown just beyond reach. Can they make it? It’s a thrilling challenge!

And let’s not forget about the field goal post. Behind each end zone stands this tall structure, 30 feet high. It has a solid base that starts at 10 feet high, and then two poles shoot up to a height of 20 feet. These poles are about 18 feet and 6 inches apart, giving the field goal post its iconic look. When the players kick the ball through the uprights, it’s a moment of victory and celebration!

Team Positions

Now, let’s talk about the players on the field. It’s a team effort, with 22 players in total – 11 on each team. They all have different positions on the field, and each position plays a unique role in the game.

First, we have the defensive team. Their primary job is to protect their end zone and stop the opposing team from scoring. They’re like the mighty shield, ready to tackle anyone who comes their way. It’s a tough and challenging position, but someone’s got to do it!

Then we have the offensive team. Their mission is to score points by getting the ball into the opposing team’s end zone. They’re the ones who make those epic runs, powerful passes, and crafty plays. They’re like the unstoppable force, always pushing forward towards victory.

Lastly, we have the special teams. They handle kickoffs, punts, and field goals. These players have the important role of executing precise kicks and strategically placing the ball to give their team an advantage. Their contributions may not always be in the headlines, but they play a crucial part in the game.

So, you see, every player has their place on the field, working together towards a common goal. It’s a thrilling and dynamic game where each position has its own set of skills and responsibilities. Are you ready to dive into the exciting world of American football? Step onto the field, and let the game begin!


In football, offense is all about scoring points and advancing the ball towards the opponent’s end zone. It’s a team effort, with each player having a specific role to play. Let’s take a closer look at some key positions on the offensive side of the field.

First up, we have the quarterback. Considered the most important offensive player, the quarterback takes charge of the play. With the ball in their hands, they make decisions on the spot, either throwing it to wide receivers or handing it off to running backs. They’re like the leader of the offense, guiding the team towards victory.

Next, we have the offensive linemen. These five players form a wall of protection around the quarterback. Their job is to keep the defensive players at bay, preventing them from breaching the line and tackling the quarterback. They’re the unsung heroes of the offense, quietly doing their job to keep the play alive.

Wide receivers are the speedsters of the offense. They sprint down the field, looking to catch a pass from the quarterback. Their main goal is to score touchdowns, making them an exciting and essential part of the offense. With their agility and speed, they can leave the defense in the dust.

Last but not least, we have the running backs. Positioned behind the quarterback, these players can be real game-changers. Sometimes they’re used in trick plays to confuse the defense, and sometimes they’re simply handed the ball to run down the field. Regardless, they’re a force to be reckoned with, adding variety to the offense.

Each position on the offense plays a crucial role in moving the ball closer to the end zone. From the quarterback leading the charge to the offensive linemen providing protection, the offense is a team effort where everyone has a part to play. So, whether you’re a quarterback, a wide receiver, or a running back, remember the importance of communication, teamwork, and giving it your all on the field.

Football Positions Explained

Hey there! Today, I want to talk to you about the different positions in football. It can get a little confusing, but don’t worry, I’m here to help you make sense of it all.


Let’s start with the offense. These are the players who try to score points for their team. First up, we have the quarterback.

  • QUARTERBACK: The quarterback is like the team’s leader on the field. They are responsible for throwing the ball to their teammates and making sure the plays go smoothly. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it!
  • RUNNING BACK: Running backs are speedy and agile players. Their main job is to run with the ball and try to get as many yards as possible. They can also catch passes if needed.
  • WIDE RECEIVER: Wide receivers are the fast and nimble players who catch passes from the quarterback. They have to be quick on their feet to outrun the defense and make those spectacular catches.
  • TIGHT END: Tight ends are like the Swiss Army knives of football. They can block for the quarterback and also run downfield to catch passes. They need to be strong and fast to excel in both roles.


Now, let’s switch gears and talk about defense. These are the players who try to stop the offense from scoring.

  • DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Defensive linemen are the tough guys who go head-to-head with the offensive line. Their goal is to break through and tackle the quarterback before he can make a play. Talk about a job that requires strength and speed!
  • LINEBACKERS: Linebackers are the brains of the defense. They stand behind the defensive line and are responsible for calling out plays and making tackles. They have to be quick on their feet and have great instincts to be successful.

So, there you have it – a breakdown of some of the key positions in football. It’s a complex game with lots of moving parts, but understanding these positions is a great place to start. Whether you’re on offense or defense, each position plays a vital role in the game. So, next time you watch a football game, you’ll know exactly what’s going on!

I’m sure you’ve seen them on the field – the fastest players out there, racing across the turf with lightning speed. I’m talking about the cornerbacks! These defensive stars have a crucial role in the game of football. Picture this – two cornerbacks strategically lining up across from the wide receivers, ready to pounce on any opportunity to prevent them from catching those passes. It’s all about shutting down the offense and protecting the goal line. Cornerbacks are like the gatekeepers of the defense, using their quickness and agility to keep the opposing team from making big plays.

Now, let’s talk about the safeties. There are two safeties on a football team, and they play a vital role in keeping the defense strong. The strong safety is like a faster version of a linebacker. They have the strength to hold back and prevent receivers from catching the ball. The free safety, on the other hand, is like a lightning bolt on the field. They react swiftly to the current play, using their speed to tackle receivers and running backs, or block far passes. You can count on these guys to be there when the team needs them the most.

Special teams is another important aspect of the game. It’s where the unexpected can happen and the game can change in an instant. Whether it’s a perfectly executed punt, a game-winning field goal, or a high-flying kickoff return, special teams play a crucial role in determining the outcome of a game. So, let’s not forget about these unsung heroes who make the game even more exciting!

In summary, cornerbacks, safeties, and special teams are all key players in the game of football. They bring their own unique set of skills and contribute to the overall strategy of the team. So, the next time you’re watching a game, pay close attention to these players and appreciate the important role they play in every play.

In American football, there are special teams that come onto the field for kickoffs, punts, and field goals. Each team has its own special team for kicking and receiving. The kicker is in charge of kicking field goals and booting the ball to the other side of the field during each quarter or after the team scores a touchdown. The punter is responsible for punting the ball to the opposing team when the offensive team can’t make a first down. The other players on the special team have different jobs, like blocking, catching the ball, or tackling the player who catches it.


American football game rules - how to play american football

American football games are divided into four 15-minute quarters. However, the clock stops after each play and only starts again when the ball is snapped to the quarterback. There’s also a 15-minute break between the 2nd and 3rd quarters, as well as a short break when transitioning from offense to defense.

To determine which team kicks off first, a coin toss is conducted at the start of the game.

Now, let’s talk about the kick-off itself.

The team that wins the coin toss gets the ball first. In the second half of the game (3rd quarter), the other team will have the opportunity to receive the ball first. During a kick-off, the kick-off team lines up in a straight line across the width of the field, with the kicker positioned in the middle. When the kicker kicks the ball down the field, the kick-off team sprints to stop the receiving team. It’s important to note that the ball must travel a minimum of 10 yards during a kick-off.

After each touchdown or field goal, the team that scored has to kick off to the other team. It’s a way to reset the game and give the other team a chance to play.

Tries to Move the Ball

When the offensive team has possession of the ball, they have four chances, called downs, to do something with it. They can either score a touchdown, kick a field goal, or move the ball at least 10 yards. If they move the ball 10 yards, they get a first down.

A first down means they get to keep trying to score or get another first down. It’s like getting a fresh set of downs to keep playing.

However, the defensive team doesn’t want the offense to succeed. They try to stop them from moving the ball by sacking the quarterback, blocking passes, or tackling the running backs. If the defense stops the offense from scoring or getting a first down on all four downs, they get possession of the ball and become the offensive team.

Hey there! So, here’s something interesting. Did you know that in American football, when a team reaches a fourth down, they have a decision to make? They can either hand the ball over to the other team at the same line of scrimmage, or they can punt the ball downfield to give the other team possession. It’s like a strategic choice, you know?

Let’s Talk About Punting

Okay, so imagine this: it’s fourth down, and the offensive team doesn’t want to take any risks. So what do they do? They punt the ball! Basically, they kick it downfield from where they are, giving the other team the ball instead of trying to score. It’s a way for them to play it safe and keep the game going.

Scoring Points

Now, let’s talk about what really matters: scoring! There are two main ways to score in American football: touchdowns and field goals.


A touchdown is a big deal in football. It happens when a player from the offensive team catches the ball or runs it into the end zone. And guess what? It’s worth a whopping 6 points! Talk about a game-changer!

Extra Points

Let me break it down for you. After a team scores a touchdown in football, they get a chance to earn extra points. They have two options: they can either kick the ball through the field goalpost from 33 yards away for one extra point, or they can try to score a two-point conversion by running or throwing the ball into the end zone from the two-yard line.


If the offensive team can’t manage to score a touchdown, they can still try to earn points by kicking a field goal. A field goal is worth three points. There isn’t a specific rule about how far away they can be from the goalpost when attempting a field goal, but most teams won’t try it from further than 55 yards away.


Even though American football is a rough sport, there are still rules that players must follow. These rules determine how players should behave on the field and what they can and cannot do. If a player breaks the rules, they will receive a penalty. When the offense commits a foul, the referee will give them a penalty of 5-15 yards, moving the line of scrimmage backward. On the other hand, if the defense commits a foul, the offense will receive a first down and be allowed to move forward 5-15 yards.

Let me give you some examples of fouls in American football:

  • Holding
  • Having 12 players on the field
  • Offsides (crossing the line of scrimmage before the play starts)
  • Performing an illegal pass or handoff
  • Interfering with a pass
  • Making illegal contact with an opponent
  • Interfering with a fair catch


So here’s how it goes: when it comes to football, the team with the highest score at the end of the fourth quarter is the winner. Simple, right? But what if the game is tied? Well, things get a bit more interesting then. In that case, a 10-minute overtime period starts. It’s like a bonus round, you know? But if the game is still tied after that, well, it’s a tie. No winners, no losers, just a stalemate.

Now, let me tell you a bit about myself. I’m a writer with a knack for getting people excited about games and having a good time. For three whole years, I organized a pub crawl where we played drinking games almost every day. It was a blast! And you know what? Games are just a part of who I am. I come from a family that’s crazy about games, so you could say I’ve got it in my blood.

But that’s not all. I’m also a big fan of travel and music. So much so that I’ve started my own personal blogs about these two awesome things. Want to know more about my adventures? Or maybe discover some cool tunes? Well, I’ve got you covered! Just stick around and you’ll have a blast.

Leave a Comment