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American Football: "The Rules of American Football: Understanding the Basics to Enjoy the Game" ?

American football’s history

American Football was invented in the United States. It was inspired by the European sports of rugby and football, which were brought to America by settlers in the 19th century.

The first American football game was played in 1869 between Rutgers University and Princeton University. At that time the rules were more similar to rugby than to the American football we know today.

Ball of American Football on a field
American Football Ball

In 1920 the American Professional Football Association was created. Today it is known as the National Football League. This league is the most important and most followed in the world.

In 1930 the Super Bowl arrived and took its place as the most watched sporting event in the United States.

Teams and equipment needed to play

First of all, American football requires equipment to protect the players. A football helmet, shoulder pads, mouth guards, gloves and cleats are essential. Some players also add thigh guards, knee guards, elbow guards and a lap belt.

Regarding the number of players. A team can have up to 53 players in its squad but only 46 active players for each match. During the match, 11 players are present on the field.

2 teams of American Football, looking at each other
2 teams during an American Football game

American football’s Rules

The rules of American football are numerous and can vary from one continent to another and from the level of play between amateur and professional. As far as the basic rules are concerned, here they are:

An American football player is running with the ball in his arms
Player of American Football

  • An American football match is divided into 4 quarters of 15 minutes each. In the event of a tie, extra time may be added.

  • To win, as in rugby, the goal is to score the most points in the opponent's end zone. These are called touchdowns.

  • The team that has the ball, can keep it if they don't commit any fouls or have the ball stolen by the opposing team

Now let's talk about the different phases of the game.

  • Each team has four downs to move forward on the field of about 9 meters. If they succeed, they are given four more downs.

  • After a touchdown, the team can convert. Either 2 points, by trying to score in the opponent's zone. Or 1 point, by successfully throwing the ball between the opposing team's posts.

  • Finally, penalties may be awarded for illegal contact, blocking or delay of game. When a penalty is given to a team, they may either lose possession of the ball or have to retreat to their goal.

Now that you know the rules, why not give the sport a try by signing up for a Sport Society event?

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