Football 101: A Few Tips to Enjoy the Game

As the Super Bowl approaches, even those who are not big fans of football get sucked into the excitement.

Here’s a beginner’s guide to football so anyone can enjoy watching the game!

Time: A football game is made up of four 15-minute quarters, with a break in play at halftime.

How the game starts: Teams flip a coin and call heads or tails. The team that wins can choose to either keep the ball, or kick off to the other team.

How to score: Each team has an end zone at the end of the field. Players move down the field in increments to get the ball into the end zone to score. This is called a touchdown and is worth 6 points. After a touchdown, teams can kick the ball through the goalposts, called a point after kick and worth 1 point. If a team decides not to kick the ball after a touchdown, they can run it into the end zone for a 2-point conversion, worth 2 points. A team can kick the ball through the goal posts without scoring first from anywhere on the field, which is called a field goal and is worth 3 points.

How to play: Football is measured by downs. Each team has four chances to move the ball 10 yards total. If the players can do this, they get another four chances to go another 10 yards. If they don’t, they kick the ball to the other team. So, when the announcers say “first and 10” that means that it is the team’s first chance to move the ball 10 yards. If they move 3 yards in that try, the next play will be “second and 7,” because it is their second try and they have 7 more yards to go.

Basic plays: Quarterbacks are the players that call every offensive play, whether it’s running, where he hands off the ball to a running back, or passing, where he throws it to a receiver. If the quarterback is tackled while trying to throw the ball, it’s called a sack.

Penalties: In football, penalties are punished by loss of yards.  So, if a team is trying to go 10 yards and they get a 5-yard penalty, they will then be trying to move the ball 15 yards.

Choosing a team: We’ll leave that one up to you! If the Bears aren’t in the game, you can cheer for whichever team strikes your fancy.

Here’s a few plays in action:

Touchdown:

Sack: