The Basics of Football

Football is a team sport that involves players running with a ball and passing it to each other. It is a popular sport around the world and has become the second most popular team sport behind baseball.

The game is played on a rectangular field with two parallel sidelines and an end line. There are also two pylons that run across the front of the field.

To start a football play, the offensive team lines up, facing defensive players at the line of scrimmage. One of the offensive players, called a center, then passes or “snaps” the ball between his legs to a quarterback (usually the center’s teammate). The quarterback then throws, hands the ball off, or runs with it.

In addition to a centre, there are several other positions on the offensive team. The quarterback is the head of the offense and is a key player, because he determines what plays are being run. He also dictates the style of play for the whole team.

When the quarterback releases the ball, the receivers (usually a group of five or six players) rush to cover him. This is done to prevent him from throwing the ball. They may also rush to stop a runner.

The receivers must be able to catch the ball and run with it, or else they will be tackled by the defensive team. They also need to be able to receive the ball without it being intercepted by the defense.

Once a player catches the ball, he is then called a “passer”. He must pass the ball to a teammate downfield. The goal is to move the ball to the opponent’s “end zone” (the area in the end zone where the goal is scored), either by running with it or by passing it.

There are usually two or three players on the field in the position of defensive backs (also known as safeties or cornerbacks). The defense tries to intercept the ball and return it for a score.

Another unit on the defense is the linemen, who try to stop the ball carrier before he can get to the other side of the field. There are typically three or four linemen on the field, each in a different position: ends (LE/RE), nose tackles and tackles.

If the ball is fumbled before the player is tackled, it is recovered by the defensive team. This is called a “fumble recovery.”

A fumble is recoverable by diving on it, running with it or catching the ball and then running with it. The defender who recovers it retains possession of the ball, while the player who fumbled it loses it.

On an offensive play, a player is deemed to have “fumbled” the ball when any part of his body other than his feet or hands touches the ground. If he fumbles again, the team that recovered the fumble loses possession of the ball and the other team gets it.

The ball is placed in play on a special line called the “line of scrimmage.” A series of officials determine how far the team has advanced, or “lost” yards, after each play. The team that has lost the most yards after a play is given a “first down.” A first down is worth a point and a team must advance at least 10 yards to get a first down.