Football is one of the most popular sports in the United States, and it is growing rapidly in popularity in other countries. Whether you are an avid fan or planning to attend your first game, it is important to understand the basic rules and dynamics of football in order to have a great time.
The rules of football are designed to ensure the safety and fairness of all participants. They regulate the amount of contact allowed, the way players can handle and throw the ball, and how to play defense. The rules are constantly being adjusted as officials and players look for ways to improve the game while maintaining a balance between the safety of all participants.
In addition to regulating the amount of contact, there are also rules in place that prevent tackling players who have the ball. A player is considered out of bounds if any part of his body, other than his hands or feet, touches the ground or a sideline or end zone during a play. This is to protect the safety of players who are not in a position to receive a blow that could result in a serious injury.
A player can score a touchdown by running or passing the ball across the opposing team’s goal line. The scoring team then earns six points for the touchdown. In addition to this, the team that scored a touchdown has the option of trying to add an extra two points by kicking the ball through the goal post.
There are seven teams in each conference that compete for a championship. The top four teams in each conference, plus the three wild card teams from the other conferences, advance to the playoffs. In the playoffs, each team plays a single-elimination match against another. The team with the most points wins the game.
The game is played on a field that is 100 yards long and has a 10-yard end zone for each team. The field is marked with stripes that run down the length of the field, and short lines, called hash marks, that mark 10-yard intervals on the field. There are also numbers on each end of the field, indicating yardage and directional directions.
Each team consists of 11 players on the field for each play. The offense is led by a quarterback, who calls the plays from the huddle before each play. The quarterback typically passes or hands off the ball to a back, or runs with it himself. There are also wide receivers, who line up on each side of the field, and a tight end.
If a game is tied after four quarters, overtime will be played. In overtime, a coin toss is done to determine which team will possess the ball first. The first team to score a touchdown or safety wins the game. A safety is worth two points, and can be scored when the defensive team tackles a ball carrier in their own end zone.