The Rules of Football

Football is a team sport in which two teams compete to win by advancing the ball downfield towards their opponent’s goal line. The game is played on a 100-yard long field with a 10-yard end zone at either end. The field is divided by an imaginary line running through the center of the ball called the “line of scrimmage” and into each sideline. There are also yard lines marked on the field every five yards, and a set of goal posts at each end.

Each team has a group of players who play offense and defense. The offensive players try to advance the ball by passing or running it, while the defensive players try to stop them from scoring or advancing.

A player with the ball must touch the opposing team’s goal line in order to score a touchdown. This can be done by rushing the ball into the end zone or throwing it to a receiver who catches it in the end zone. A touchdown is worth six points. The game may also be won by kicking a field goal, which is worth three points. When a team scores a touchdown, they can choose to either kick a conversion through the posts for one extra point or attempt another touchdown from their own two-yard line for two points (a two-point conversion).

The rules of football are complex and vary by league. However, there are some fundamental principles that all games must follow. First, the game starts with a coin toss. The team that wins the toss chooses whether to start on offense or defense. The other team must start on their own five-yard line. The starting team has four attempts – known as downs – to get 10 or more yards up the field. If they cannot do this in four plays, they must turn the ball over to the other team.

When a player is tackled, their feet must be completely off the ground. They can spin and maneuver to avoid defenders, but they are not allowed to leap or dive. The ball is considered dead when: the ball-carrier steps out of bounds, a safety is scored, a fumble is recovered by a member of the opposing team, or their flag falls off.

The most important rule is the line of scrimmage, an imaginary line that separates the two sides of the field. When an offensive play is underway, the ball is snapped (passed between the legs) from a center to a quarterback. The quarterback can then pass or run with the ball. In some plays, the quarterback will hand off the ball to a running back.

Offensive penalties include grabbing or holding a defender and blocking below the waistline. Defensive penalties include tackling a player while the ball is being held, unnecessary roughness, and failing to line up properly. A penalty flag is thrown by the referee when a violation occurs. The game is officiated by a referee and two line judges.