The Basics of American Football


American football is a team sport that uses a ball that is a pointed oval in shape. A player’s goal is to advance the ball into his opponent’s end zone. This is done by running, passing, or kicking the ball. It has been played in the Summer Games since 1908 and is played by 22 players on a rectangular pitch.

Each team has four downs to move the ball 10 yards from its own line of scrimmage. If the ball is moved successfully, the offensive team gets a first down. The play ends when the ball is in the hands of a player and is tackled. Normally, the offensive team receives the ball at the spot where the previous play began.

When a team fails to get a first down, it has the option of kicking or punting. Punting is a way to force the opposing team to start farther up the field. Similarly, a kick is used to move the ball into the defense’s end zone. In the NFL, a kicking tee is set up at the team’s 30-yard line. After a successful kick, the team is allowed to attempt extra points.

In NCAA football, the kick returner tries to catch the ball. On the other hand, the defense tries to stop the quarterback from throwing the ball. Usually, the defense aims to tackle the quarterback and take possession of the ball. Depending on the situation, the defensive team can either run with the ball or blitz the quarterback. Alternatively, if the defense catches the pass, it can then run with the ball until it is tackled or forced out of the end zone.

An incomplete pass is when the ball is returned to the original line of scrimmage. A forward pass that is caught but touches the ground before it is passed is called a fumble.

A fumble is when the offensive team is in possession of the ball but the player is tackled or fumbles the ball. Once the fumble is recovered, the player can run with the ball until it is tackled.

During certain possessions, the defense may blitz the quarterback or defensive back. They can also defend the receivers or try to stop the running plays. Often, the defensive backs are also called safeties. Other times, the linebackers are used to scout and cover the wide receivers or quarterback.

The offensive team can rely on its tight ends to help protect the quarterback and create space for the runners. Unlike the offensive line, the tight ends are not positioned directly in front of the quarterback. However, they can still run with the ball and be a runner themselves.

In some cases, the offensive player fumbles the ball out of the end zone. This gives the defense the opportunity to recover the ball and score a safety. Safety is scored when the offensive player is tackled in the end zone, but does not fumble the ball.