American Football Basics for Beginners

To a newbie, American football can come across as overly complicated, although veteran fans understand most of the ins and outs of this sport. In reality, it is pretty easy to follow and understand. Once you grasp the fundamentals, you can take advantage of the Everygame casino welcome bonus and wager on your favorite games. American football is played on a 100-yard long field with goal lines at both ends by teams of 11 players.

The ball used is an oval-shaped inflated one, typically made from rubber or cowhide. In football, the offense or the team controlling the ball tries to move the ball down the field by passing the ball or running. On the other hand, the opposing team tries to stop this and take control of the ball.

In football, the offense has to move 10 yards in four downs, and if they fail, they have to surrender the ball to the opposite team. If they advance the ball successfully, they are awarded another four plays. The whole point of the game is for competing teams to outscore each other by moving the ball down the field and scoring the most points possible.

Scoring can be a two-point conversion, a touchdown, a safety, a field goal, or an extra point conversion. A football game is 60-minute long, which is broken down into two 30-minute halves and four 15-minute quarters. The following is a beginner’s guide to the rules and basics of football.

The football field

The playing field length in American football is 100 yards, and each team has a 10-yard end zone. It has stripes that run through the field’s width at intervals of 5 yards. Additionally, it has shorter lines known as hash marks, and they mark each interval down the field. An American football field is 160 feet wide.

The area where the end zone intersects the playing field is called the goal line. Since it is the end zone, the goal line is equivalent to the 0-yard mark. From this point, numbers mark the 10-yard intervals right up to the center of the field, the 50-yard line. After reaching this line, the yardage markers go down every ten yards, i.e., 40, 30, 20, and 10, until reaching the other end of the goal line.

The teams

Football involves two teams going up against each other, and each is allowed to have eleven men on the field at any given point. Having over 11 players on the field attracts a penalty. Teams are permitted unlimited substitution, but players can only switch when play is halted and the ball is dead.

Each football team has defense players, offense players as well as specialized players known as "special teams." The team that possesses the ball is the offense, and it uses offensive players to run with the ball or pass it forward toward their opponent’s end zone.

Meanwhile, the other team is considered the defense, and it will use its defense to try and stop the offense from getting the ball to their end zone. Both teams will utilize their specialized players whenever a kicking play is expected.

How does the game start?

A football game starts when one team kicks off the ball towards the other. The captains from both teams and the referee meet at the field’s center for a coin toss. That is how they determine which side starts off the game. The coin toss winner can choose to start the game by getting a kickoff from the other team or kicking the ball themselves. Essentially the winning teams decide whether they’ll be the offense or defense.

The receiving team has to catch the ball and attempt to advance it to the opponent’s end zone. The play ends when the ball hits the ground or if it goes out of bounds. The point where the ball hits the earth is the line of scrimmage. This is also where the ball is set when the next play is about to start.

The offense gets four downs to gain ten or more yards. Upon hitting 10 yards, the offensive team is given four additional downs to achieve ten or more yards. The game continues this way until the defense regains possession.


Like in other sports, the ultimate goal is to score more points than the opposition. The scoring in football is as follows.

1. Touchdown (6 points)

A team scores a touchdown when it goes past the opposition’s goal line with the ball or collects or catches the ball in the end zone.

2. Field goal (3 points)

Teams typically attempt to score a field goal on the fourth down if the kicker is close to the end zone, which would enable them to kick the ball through the upright posts.

3. Safety (2 points)

The defense can gain 2 points if they successfully tackle the member of the offense with the ball inside their own end zone.

4. Extra point (1 or 2 points)

After a touchdown, a team can earn an extra point by kicking a ball through the two uprights. Conversion is to rugby what an extra point is to football. The team scores two points by getting into the end zone again. However, since this is tougher, most teams take the 1 point.


Hopefully, this article has equipped you with valuable tips to understand American football. Similar to other major sports, this game has many more rules and elements other than the ones expounded here. Fortunately, by understanding the basic flow of football, you’ll at least fill in different parts of the game as you go along and enjoy it better.