Football for dummies


courtesy of Nora Henrie ’13

Ever feel lost when watching 22 players run around a field tackling each other? Ever wonder why everyone cheers when one of the players kicks the ball between the yellow posts? Remember these quick facts about the popular American sport and prepare to outsmart every savvy football fan with confidence and expertise.
BASIC FACTS: The point of a football game is to receive as many points as a team can. There are 11 players for each team on the field at once. One set of 11 players are on the offensive line, and the other set are on the defensive line. The offensive line attempts to pass the ball to other players to move their team down the field and score. A team must move the ball ten yards, and if they fail to do so after three tries, they must punt the ball off to the other team so they can try.
PLAYERS: The first player you should be able to identify on the field is the quarterback. He is the one who steps back and receives the ball from the player in front of him on the offensive line. Watch for the way he moves the ball to get his team down the field to score. He will either throw the ball to a wide receiver to gain yardage or pass it off to a running back, who runs forward as far as he can. Several players block the other team’s players from tackling their quarterback and losing yards.
SCORING: A team can score by a touchdown, field goal, or safety. When a player enters the opposing team’s end zone (the areas on the very ends of the field), the team will receive six points, and an additional point if the kicker kicks the ball through the yellow posts. If a team travels down the field to a point close to the end zone, but does not get a first down, they can try to get a field goal. This means their kicker can attempt to kick the ball through the yellow posts, and if they make it, the team gets three points. Finally, a team can get two points from a safety if they tackle the opposing quarterback in the quarterback’s own end zone.
– Clare Geithner, Sports & Health Editor