NFL Draft Countdown

What Are the Fundamentals of American Football?


Understanding the Basics of American Football

To the untrained eye, American football is complicated and appears too skewed to be understood. However, when you understand the basic rules and gameplay of American football, you will discover it is simpler than it looks.

The secret to understanding American football is getting familiar with the basics – understanding the basic rules. The fundamentals of the sport are very easy to understand, and this guide will show you the basic rules and play flow.

The Game Play and Objective

American football is made with cowhide or rubber and is oval-shaped. The team controlling the ball must understand the gameplay or pattern and how everyone in the team can work collectively to achieve it. The opposing team must know how to predict the advancement of other teams and how to counter it. If they succeed, they get a new set of four downs; otherwise, they will lose control of the ball to the opposing team.

The goal of each team is to outscore the other, which they accomplish by advancing the ball down the field. The football game runs for sixty minutes, although the average duration is three hours. The sixty-minute game is divided into two halves of thirty minutes each and four quarters of fifteen minutes. Interestingly, what you learn from here can be applied when playing online Black jack.

The Team

Two teams play against each other in an American football game with up to forty-five players in each team. However, a team can only have eleven players on the field at a time. There is a penalty for the team that has more than eleven players on the field at a time. Nevertheless, teams can substitute players as many times as they want, but players can only enter when play is stopped.

In each team, there are offense players, defense players, and special teams, also called specialized players. The team in possession of the ball is on the offense; its offense players attempt to run with or pass the ball. The goal is to run toward the opponent’s end zone. The offense needs to move the ball forward at least ten yards, which is why the pitch has marked yardage lines.

The other team is the defense and they will use their defense players to stop the advancement. Both teams will use their specialized players when a kickback play is expected.

The offense team has four chances, also known as downs, to gain the required ten yards. If they succeed, the count resets and the team gets another four downs to go another layer of ten yards. If they fail to get the ten yards within the four downs, the defense team becomes the offense and vice versa. 

The Scoring System in American Football

The scoring system in American football is not complicated; the ultimate aim is like other sports – outscoring the other team. The scoring system in the football game is as follows:

  • Field Goal

A field goal in American football is equal to three points. During the game, a team will attempt to score a field goal on the fourth attempt, depending on the proximity to the end zone. The kicker scores a field goal if they succeed in kicking the ball through the upright posts.

  • Extra Points

There are one to two extra points in American football, depending on the circumstance. The team scores an extra point if they kick the ball through the uprights after a touchdown. On the other hand, they score two points if they take the ball into the end zone. Most teams opt for one extra point because it is much harder to take the ball to the end zone.

  • Safety

A defensive player scores two safety points if they tackle an offensive player with the ball in the latter’s end zone.

How the Game Starts

The American football game starts when one team kicks off the ball to the other team. The referee will meet with the team’s captains at the center of the field and toss a coin. The coin toss determines which team will start the game where the winner of the toss starts the game.

The winner can either start by kicking the ball to the other team or receiving a kickoff from them. In other words, the winner of the coin toss decides if they want to be the offense or defense first.

The other team must catch the ball and attempt to advance with it toward the starting team’s end zone. The play (down) ends when the ball goes out of bounds or down to the ground. The point on the ground where the ball falls is called the line of scrimmage; this is also where the next play starts.


We have attempted to make the American football game as simple as possible; we hope you now understand better. American football is like any other sport with other elements and rules aside from the ones listed here. However, these are the basics and are enough to get you started with enjoying each game.


Related posts

Merry Christmas!

Brian Bosarge

Mobile Gaming Apps for the 2022 NFL season


Betting on the NFL Draft: What You Need to Know