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Rules Of American Football – Derived From Other Popular Versions Of The Traditional Game
Although derived from other popular versions of the traditional game played in other countries, American football can be very confusing, especially for non-Americans. If this intrigues you, here are the basic rules for you to enjoy this exciting game.
As usual, there are two teams of eleven players each, called “defense” and “attack”, playing on a field 160 meters long and 100 meters wide, which is divided into strips by white lines, marked every 10 meters.
You must understand that the game is based on the rule that the offensive team must attempt to cover a 10-yard section of the field in four (or less) “downs” (or “plays”). If they fail in their attempt, the ball will be possessed by the other team who will then have a chance on the other team. On the other hand, if their attempt is successful, the down is reset to 1, and they attempt to move another 10 yards and continue in this way to the end zone.
The attacker can run the ball or throw it, in his attempts to reach the end zone while it is up to the defense to engage the players with the ball on the ground to prevent them from reaching the desired area.
Like any other game, the team that scores the most points is the winner, but in the case of American football, the final score can be reached in different ways:
A touchdown carries six points and is awarded when a player from either team successfully carries the ball into the opposing team’s end zone. When scoring a touchdown, a player has a choice: throw the ball over the crossbar positioned between the goal posts, for an extra point or try to get two extra points by trying to advance the ball in the end zone (the ball is initially kept on the 2-yard line when taking this option).
A three-point field goal is awarded if the ball is kicked over the crossbar from the field. Field goals are not as frequent as touchdowns because teams prefer to score touchdowns, carrying more points. Usually a player only decides to attempt a field goal when he is close enough to the goal posts and has a good chance of succeeding, or when a touchdown seems infeasible due to time constraints. Sometimes a field goal can be attempted when a team needs to cover a lot of ground in one or two tries, and it seems unrealistic to continue to hold onto the ball.
A safety scores two points for the opponent when he knocks down a player, or when the player knocks the ball out of bounds, while standing in his own end zone. The ball is then awarded to the opposing team.
The game, which consists of 2 halves of 30 minutes each, lasts one hour. Each half is divided into 2 quarters of 15 minutes each. Teams change sides after the conclusion of the first quarter and the third, to level the advantages or disadvantages on each side of the field. Each team is allowed three “time outs” for each half to give the team a rest and discuss their strategy for their next games.
If a team decides not to use their time-outs in the first half, they are not carried over to the second half. In the event of a tie, there is an overtime period of 15 minutes. The team that scores the first point in overtime wins the game. If either team fails to score, the game ends in a tie.
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