Jan. 10, 2018
American Football (NFL) Explained
The American Professional Football Association (APFA) was founded in 1920, before it changed its name to what we now know as the National Football League (NFL). Today, only two of the original founding teams exist; the Chicago Bears (previously known as the Decatur Staleys) and the Arizona Cardinals (previously known as the Chicago Cardinals).
Sometimes referred to as American Football to the rest of the world, the aim of this game is to get the ball to the opponent's end of the field. These are zones of 10 yards separated by 100 yards of playing field. Players, of which there are 11 from each team on the field at any one time, can pick up the ball and run with it until they are tackled, or they can continue on to passing it to their teammates. The clock stops when there is either an incomplete pass, when a player steps out of the boundaries, or when a penalty occurs. The game is broken up into four parts of 15 minutes each, with a 12-minute break halfway through.
For each round, one team acts as the offense while the other team is the defense. The offense team have the possession of the ball, while the defense team must aim to stop the offense team from scoring on their end of the field. Each team is made up of certain positions, as outlined below.
The offense team have the following positions:
The quarterback back is the leader of the team, and is responsible for giving orders and initially picking up the ball from the center. The center player is responsible for snapping the ball to the quarterback and for handling the ball on each play. The running back takes the initial ball from the quarterback, and is responsible for running with the ball. The fullback player is responsible for blocking the running back and the quarterback. These are usually the bigger players who only have to run a small length at a time. Meanwhile, it is the wide receiver who has the ability to run with speed in order to block defenders and catch the football. The tight end serves as a receiver and a blocker, while the left and right guard stand on the inner offensive line to block and protect whoever is carrying the ball. Finally, the left and right tackle are the players on the outer of the offensive line.
The defense team take on another set of positions:
The defense tackle are the two inner players on the defensive line. They are responsible to stop a running play through the line, which might involve running through the gap to disrupt a quarterback or backfield formation. The defense end are the two outer players on the defensive line who serve to overcome offensive blocking. The linebackers are made out of the team's best tacklers, as they have two roles of defending both the run and the pass. The safety players line up on the last line of defense to protect deep passes or runs with the ball. Finally, the cornerback players line up alongside the width of the field, opposite the offensive receivers.
For beginners wanting to learn more about the game, one of the best ways to start is by watching it… a lot of it! There are many frequent games and championships taking place, including the popular Super Bowl. Whether watching it live or observing the replays, one can also access NFL streams through the internet. Combine this observation with practice and you will be enjoying your own game of American Football in no time.