Football is a team sport that requires a lot of stamina, speed, and agility. It also builds muscle mass, helps to improve cardiovascular health and bone strength, and it can even boost your mood. Despite all this, many people feel intimidated by the game or think it is too complicated to get involved in. However, with a little time and effort you can learn all about this popular sport.
The main goal of the game is to advance the ball downfield toward the opponent’s end zone in order to score. This is done by either running with the ball or throwing it to a teammate. The other team (also with 11 players) tries to stop the offensive play and force them to give up possession of the ball.
When a team has the ball, they are given four chances, called downs, to advance the ball 10 yards or more toward the opponent’s end zone. A down ends when the ball goes down on the ground or if a player runs out of bounds. The offensive team is then given another set of four downs to advance the ball or else the defense takes possession of the ball.
If a team cannot advance the ball by their last down, they must kick it back to the other team. The team who kicked the ball is determined by a coin toss at the beginning of each quarter. The game also has a halftime break during which the teams switch ends of the field.
One of the most important rules in football is avoiding contact with any opposing player. This is called a foul and it results in the player being penalized. The penalty may result in the player losing a down or even being removed from the game.
Another rule in football is preventing players from going out of bounds on the sidelines. This is done by making sure that no part of the player’s body (except his hands and feet) is touching anything other than the ground or the sidelines when he is carrying the ball. The player is also out of bounds if he runs over the sidelines and onto the grass in the field.
The football field is 100 yards long and has a 10-yard end zone at each end where the teams score touchdowns. The sides of the field have stripes at 5-yard intervals and short lines, called hash marks, which mark each single yard increment down the field. There is also a line in the middle of the field that divides the two halves of the football pitch. The first team to reach the opposite end zone wins the game. In addition to scoring touchdowns, teams can earn extra points by kicking a field goal or scoring a safety. The latter is awarded if a player causes the ball to go dead in his own team’s end zone, such as by being downed or intercepting a pass, or by fumbling the ball into his own end zone while carrying it.