▶▶Each team has 11 players on the field.
▶▶The team with the ball has four plays (called downs) to advance 10 yards closer to the end zone.
▶▶If the team drives the ball forward 10 yards or more they get another four downs.
▶▶If a team gets the ball into the other team’s end zone, they score a touchdown (six points) and can choose between attempting to kick an extra point or to run the ball into the end zone from the two-yard line for two extra points.
▶▶A team may score by kicking a field goal. The football must go between the goal posts. Field goals are worth three points and turn the ball over to the other team after the attempt.
▶▶If the defense tackles the offensive player carrying the ball in to the defense’s end zone, they receive two points and possession of the ball.
+1 Extra point/P.A.T. (point after touchdown)
+3 Field goal
+2 Two point conversion (after touchdown)
▶▶The field is 100 yards long and 53⅓ yards wide. The field is labeled with major divisions every five years and minor division every yard.
▶▶Teams alternate which direction they defend each quarter. A game consists of four 12-minute quarters. A coin toss settles the side the teams choose for the initial quarter.
▶▶The clock stops running briefly when a down ends with a first down, an incomplete pass, a penalty or the ball goes out of bounds.
blitz- Linebackers are sent to rush the quarterback.
end zone- The 10-yard-deep area beyond the goal line. Getting the ball into the end zone generally results in scoring points.
false start- The offense moves before the ball is snapped resulting in a penalty.
field goal- The offense kicks the ball though the uprights, scoring three points.
first down- The offense advances the ball more than 10 yards, gaining a new set of four downs to progress 10 yards or into the end zone.
flag on the play- Droll comment from announcer after an official pulls a yellow cloth from his pocket to indicate an infraction of the rules occurred.
fourth and long- The offense has more than 10 yards to progress to the first down marker. Often a team will choose to lose possession and punt the ball in fourth-and-long situations.
fumble- A player holding the ball drops it before he is tackled to the ground. Whichever team recovers the ball gets possession.
Gatorade shower- The winning team of a big game dumps a five-gallon bucket of Gatorade on their coach in the last seconds of the game.
interception- A defensive player catches a ball intended for an offense’s receiver.
lateral pass- The football is passed backward or to the side.
line of scrimmage- Imaginary line teams cannot cross until the ball is snapped at the start of a down.
offsides- The defense moves before the ball is snapped by the offense, resulting in a penalty.
passing- Throwing the ball to a receiver to gain yards.
pass interference- A defender grabs an offender’s arm preventing the offender from catching the ball.
penalty- A rule is broken by an individual or team. Teams are assessed a penalty through the loss of downs, yards or both.
pigskin- Nickname for the football.
possession- The team that has the football and is on offense, moving toward the opponent’s end zone.
punt- A team that cannot make it to the next first down marker kicks the ball down the field on their final down so the opposing team will gain possession of the ball in a worse position.
red zone- The area from the 20-yard line to the end zone.
rushing- Running with the ball to gain yards.
sack- Quarterback gets tackled behind the line of scrimmage.
snap- The center throws the ball between his legs to the quarterback, starting play for the down.
tackle- The player with the ball touches the ground with anything but his hand or feet. Play is stopped when someone is tackled.
third down conversion- The ability of a team to advance at least 10 yards forward after three downs.
touchdown- Getting the ball into the opponent’s end zone.
turnover- The ball changes possession from one team to the other either through downs, an interception or a fumble.
turnover on downs- A team is forced to give up the ball because it could not move the ball 10 yards or score a touchdown in four plays.
two-point conversion- After a touchdown, if a team chooses, it receives one play to get into the end zone from the two-yard line.
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