Do you find yourself sitting with your loved ones wondering what the heck is going on during a game of football? Fear no longer… become in the know with my quick guide to understanding the game.
- The game begins with a coin toss, and whoever wins the toss will choose whether to kick off or receive the kickoff. The team receiving the kickoff waits and can either attempt to return the ball, drop a knee, or signal a touchback (when the ball has been kicked into the end zone). The team will then play until they reach the opposite end zone to score.
- The quarterback chooses the plays that will carry the team down the field—the coach originally calls them, but then the quarterback can change as he sees fit. There are guards who surround the quarterback and center (the person who snaps the ball to the quarterback). The offensive line then blocks the defenders so the quarterback can throw or run and there is room for the offense to run down the field. The ones who are supposed to catch the ball are called wide receivers. The running backs are given the ball to run down the field on a hand off to score.
- The team has four tries to move the ball down the field ten yards at a time. If they fail to do so, they have to turn the ball back over to the other team.
- Once they get to the 10 yard line, they have to attempt to score. If a player gets inside the end zone, that is a touchdown and worth 6 points. After that, they get to attempt a field goal and kick the ball for an extra point. They can try to get 2 points too by getting the ball back into the end zone. The team can also choose to kick a field goal if they are close but do not think they can get a touchdown, which is worth 3 points.
- There are four quarters made up of fifteen minutes, and in the middle there is a halftime that is 15 minutes. If the game is tied, they will go into overtime.
- People like to bet on the games pretty often, and you will hear them refer to a “spread”. The spread is made up of negative and positive numbers that show which team is favored. For instance, if USC is favored by -27 points, that means that they are expected to win by 27 points. If UCLA is not the favorite by +27 points, then they are expected to lose by 27 points. In order to win your bet on USC, the team has to “cover the spread”—aka win by 27 points.
Now you can enjoy the game too as you watch it too.
-Whitney J. Manson