The early origins of football, then called harpaston, date back to the time of ancient Greece. The game developed into rugby in England in the 12th century. In the United States, the first organized football game was in 1869 between Princeton University and Rutgers University. In 1931, 10 teams were part of the NFL. Football has become the most popular sport in America, with millions of fans cheering on their favorite of 32 Nflteams every season.
The number one rule of football is safety. Always wear safety gear like helmets, face guards, mouth guards, shoulder pads, hip pads, thigh pads, knee pads and proper shoes. Never use your head to block or tackle. Never grab another player’s face guard.
Traditionally, football occurs on a field 100-yards long, which is broken into 10 yard increments. At each end of the field is an end zone and a goal post. The game is 60 minutes long, broken into four quarters, each being 15-minutes long.
On the field, each team has 11 players at a time. Each team tries to get the ball into the opponent’s end zone. The team with the ball plays offense. The offense makes four plays (called downs) to gain 10 yards toward the end zone. With every 10 yards gained, the team earns another
play. A team can pass the ball or run the ball. The team that does not have the ball plays defense. The defense team can steal the ball from the offensive team by forcing a fumble or getting an interception (catching the quarterback’s throw).
To start the game, the center of the offense team “snaps” the ball to the quarterback. The quarterback runs with it, throws it to the receiver or gives the ball to the running back who will carry it. The linemen’s job is to block the opposing team. A lineman can only block using his/her hands in a pushing motion; no grabbing or holding is allowed.
The defense team tries to stop the offense team by tackling the player with the ball. A proper tackle is made using your shoulder (not your head!) to push into the center of the ball carrier’s body wrapping both arms around the ball carrier, resulting in a tackle. The defense player cannot grab the ball carrier’s face mask or clothing.
When a player breaks a rule, such as grabbing someone’s face mask, it is called a penalty. Usually a penalty causes the team to lose some of the yards it has gained towards the end zone. A touchdown is worth six points. It occurs when a player carries the ball into the end zone, a pass is caught in the end zone or a fumble is recovered in the end zone. The defense team can score a touchdown.
Extra points can be earned after scoring a touchdown. For one point, the kicker may kick the ball through the goal post from the two-yard line. For two points, the team can try to run or throw the ball into the end zone.
A field goal for three points occurs when the offense team does not make a touchdown or first down when near the end zone.
Whichever team has the most points at the end of the game wins!