Football is a team sport that involves running and passing the ball. It is played on a rectangular field with goal lines and a set of goals at either end. There are two teams of 11 players, who compete against each other to advance the ball in running or passing plays across the opponent’s goal line or through the air between the opponent’s goal posts.
Football matches are usually played over four 15-minute quarters, and each team has the opportunity to score points during each quarter. A game is won by the team that scores more points in total after completing a full four quarters of play. The game is intense and physically demanding, and it takes many hours of preparation and strategizing by both players and coaches between games.
Players on each team wear a uniform that distinguishes them from other players on the opposing team. The jerseys feature the team’s name and a player number. In addition, each player must wear a helmet and a pair of padded shoulder pads to protect against head, knee, rib, back, and elbow injuries. In addition, players may wear other protective gear including a mouthguard and thigh pads.
The most important element of a winning football team is talent. Ideally, a team has talent in all positions on the field, and it should be able to make both defensive and offensive plays. A good team also must be able to move the ball quickly and make strategic passes to open up holes in the defense.
In modern American football, the team that is given possession of the ball first has four attempts (called downs) to advance it 10 yards towards the opponent’s end zone. If the team fails to advance the ball on these four downs, it must punt the ball to the other team. Punts are nearly always made on fourth down, when the offense does not want to risk giving up possession of the ball to the other team at its current spot on the field or is too far from the opposing team’s goal posts to attempt a field goal.
A fumble occurs when the ball is knocked out of a player’s hands by another player or the ground. The ball is then recovered by the player who originally had it. The recovering player may run with the ball until tackled or forced out of bounds. A fumble that is recovered by the defense is called an interception.
The game of football evolved from unorganized and informal street games in early 19th century Britain. Public school boys, who had some time away from work, were credited with four key innovations in the development of the game: they took it out of its mob form and organized it into a formal code of rules; introduced the scrimmage; established the system of downs; and codified rules to enable matches between schools. The game has since spread around the world. Today, organized teams of males of all ages participate in the sport, and it is commonly known as American football or gridiron football.