Football is a sport that is played all over the world. Millions of people watch the game on television, and millions more regularly go to a football stadium to follow their favorite team.
The game is officiated by a referee who has full authority to enforce the Laws of the Game. He is assisted by two assistant referees. In high-level competitions, there may be a fourth official.
A referee announces the rules of the game and gives signals that indicate when a rule has been broken, such as an illegal hit or tackle. He also throws yellow flags onto the field to let everyone on the field know when a penalty has been called.
When a play begins, the ball is placed in the air by an offensive player (called the center) who aims to pass it between his legs to a receiver. The receiver can either run with the ball or pass it to another teammate, known as a “handoff”.
After receiving the ball, the receiver must run towards his team’s end zone. When he is caught, the play ends and the other team takes over possession of the ball.
The team that has the ball gets four attempts to move it 10 yards. If they do not do so in those four downs, the other team gets the ball back at their own starting point.
On each attempt, the receiver can run with the ball or pass it to a teammate, known as a “handoff”. Each time a player catches the ball in the end zone, it is scored a touchdown and added to the score.
In addition, the offense may elect to try to kick a field goal for three points and then a point after a touchdown for one or two additional points. A field goal requires a member of the offense to kick the ball through the yellow goal posts in the end zone, which are situated behind the end zone’s thick white line.
If the defense is able to tackle an offensive player in their own end zone, they are awarded two points. This occurs in situations that are rare and only happen when a defender can prevent an offensive player from reaching their own end zone.
During each half of the game, each team gets a 15-minute break. During this time, the opposing team can call a timeout to change formation or receive a ball.
Once the players on both teams have been allowed to take their 15 minutes of rest, the game resumes. The clock stops if the player runs out of bounds, a penalty is called, a flag is thrown, or the player fails to catch a forward pass (an incomplete pass).
After the half, the kicking team is given a kickoff by the other team. This kickoff can be a long one, with the kicking team rushing to catch the ball before it is run back a long way by the receiving team.