Basic American Football Rules

American football rules, What Are The Rules Of American Football?, NFL rules explained

Basic American Football Rules: American football may appear unnecessarily complicated to a foreigner. The game’s foundations are, nevertheless, incredibly simple to grasp and adhere to. Here is our explanation of the fundamental Basic American Football Rules, including how the action proceeds and how points are awarded.

As you study the more intricate details of the Basic American Football Rules, you should have enough knowledge to enjoy watching or even playing American football.

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Basic American Football Rules

The game

  • Normal play consists of two teams of 11 players on field (one on offence the other on defence) competing during four 15 minute quarters.
  • There are usually three ‘time-outs’ per half for each team, with a 12 minutes half-time interval.
  • The purpose of the game is to move the ball into the opposition’s ‘end zone’, either by running with the ball until tackled, or by passing the ball to a teammate downfield, towards the end zone.
  • Although there are only 11 players from each side on the field at any one time, a team is actually made up of 45 players. The key player on each side is the quarterback who attempts to dictate play.


  • Downs are the part of the game which often needlessly confuses newcomers. They are actually fairly straightforward. In a nutshell, the rule is as follows:
  • The team in possession of the ball (offence) needs to move the ball forward by at least 10 yards while they are on offence. This is why the pitch has clearly marked yardage lines on it.
  • They have four chances, or downs, to gain those 10 yards and if they advance the ball that far, the count resets and the team earns another set of four downs to try go a further 10 yards.
  • If the offensive team fails to move these 10 yards within four downs, possession is then given up and the defensive side gets their turn to play offense. Teams will usually kick for a field goal or downfield to the defending team on the fourth down to try and salvage some points before they lose possession.

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Scoring in American football

The ultimate aim in American football is similar to pretty much every other sport out there − to score more points than the opposition. Scoring is worked out in the Basic American Football Rules as follows:

Touchdown (6 Points)

A touchdown is scored when a team crosses the opposition’s goal line with the ball, or catches or collects the ball in the end zone.

Field Goal (3 Points)

In Basic American Football Rules team will usually attempt these on the fourth down – if the kicker is close enough to the end zone to kick the ball through between the upright posts.

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Extra Point (1 Or 2 Points)

An extra point is earned by kicking the ball through the uprights after a touchdown (it’s similar to a conversion in rugby). Two points are earned by taking the ball into the end zone again, but since it is more difficult, most teams opt to take the 1pt.

Safety (2 Points)

The defensive team can gain 2 pts if they tackle a member of the offensive team with the ball in their own end zone in Basic American Football Rules.

In believe that after reading this tutorial, you will have the tools you need to master the Basic American Football Rules. In addition to the ones listed above, football has a plethora of other components and regulations, but by comprehending how the game progresses and how points are scored, you should be able to at least enjoy and comprehend it as you fill in the blanks.

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Nkai Mongo is the man behind all sports content. He is 23 professional blogger with strong passion. He usually hangs out in Twitter and other social networks to gather latest updates.