The Kansas City Chiefs will face the San Francisco 49ers in this year’s Super Bowl on Sunday. The final of the NFL football league is one of the biggest sporting events in the world. With our knowledge of the rules, you are perfectly prepared for the game.
This article first appeared on sport.de
In addition to a lot of excitement, American football also has a variety of rules. So that you don’t get penalized for ignorance when following the NFL, sport.de explains the most important rules and terms.
How long does an NFL game last?
In the NFL, a match is divided into four quarters of 15 minutes each. Very interesting for newbies: The 60 minutes refer to the net playing time. The clock is regularly stopped in American football, so watching a game usually takes three hours.
How does a team win in American football?
Like any other team sport, American football is about scoring more points than the opposing team. While the offense tries to get its own points on the scoreboard, the defense tries to prevent this.
How many players are on the field per turn?
Each team provides eleven players per game. A total of 22 actors are taking part in the event. Every now and then it happens that a team has too many players on the pitch. Although the field in American football is 100 yards long and 53 yards wide, the referees notice this violation immediately. The offending team receives a 5-yard penalty.
How many teams play in the NFL?
A total of 32 teams compete in the NFL. The teams are spread across two conferences (AFC and NFC). In these conferences, the organizations are divided into four divisions each. After the regular season, the teams play the winners of their conference in the playoffs. The AFC champion finally meets the NFC champion in the Super Bowl.
How does the offense move down the field in the NFL?
Each offense must cover ten yards on four attempts. If this is successful, the attacking team gets four more attempts or downs to cover the next ten yards. If sufficient space has not been gained after three attempts, the fourth attempt is usually used to punt the ball or score a field goal.
What happens if the fourth attempt fails?
As mentioned, most teams rarely play their fourth attempt. If this attempt fails, not only would possession of the ball change. The attacking team is also allowed to start its first move where the opponent failed in its last attempt.
What is a punt?
After three attempts, teams will resort to punting if they are out of field goal range and there are too many yards to go to the new first down. The kicker shoots the ball as far as possible into the opponent’s half so that the offense has to cover a long distance to the end zone.
What is the line of scrimmage?
After a play, the offense starts at the line of scrimmage. It is the imaginary line where the two teams’ formations meet.
What is the difference between running and passing games?
The quarterback of the attacking team receives the ball from his center and, depending on the play called, he then throws the ball to a receiver or gives it to the running back for a running play. The big difference in both situations is the behavior of the offensive line. If she stays at or behind the line of scrimmage, she blocks for a pass. If she goes forward and more than a yard over the line, then she blocks for a running play.
The background is that the offensive line is not allowed to catch passes that are thrown forward. And it must remain clearly visible to the opponent on their own side of the line in order not to cause confusion. Once the ball is thrown, this restriction is lifted.
In the younger generation of quarterbacks, it has also become established to run with the ball more often in order to gain a few yards.
Why do American football only pass once per play?
In order to make the game clearer and give the defense a fair chance, the offense is only allowed to throw the ball forward once per play. In the NFL, however, the playing equipment can be thrown backwards several times. In the worst case scenario, however, a backward pass leads to a fumble or loss of space, which is why it is rarely used.
How many points does a touchdown score?
A touchdown earns the attacking team six points. To do this, the offense has to get the ball into the opposing end zone either over the run or via a pass. Immediately afterwards, your own score can be corrected by one point using, among other things, a point after touchdown (PAT). In this case, the kicker must score an additional field goal.
A team may also attempt a two-point conversion after a touchdown instead of a PAT. Here the offense in the NFL gets an additional play at the 2-yard line. If the attackers manage to get the ball into the end zone again, they will be rewarded with two more points.
In what other ways can points be scored?
If an offense only has one attempt left, it tries to shoot a field goal if the distance to the goal posts is not too far. A longer distance significantly minimizes the chances of success. A field goal in which the kicker kicks the ball between the goal posts gives the attacking team three points.
By the way, the defense can also score points. With a safety, the opposing offense’s ball carrier is stopped in their end zone, giving the defense two points and possession of the ball. In addition, after every loss of the ball (interception, fumble), the defense can also carry the ball into the opposing end zone for a touchdown.
What is a fumble?
A fumble occurs when an offensive player loses the ball that he already had under control. This can happen through an action by a defender – for example when hitting the ball – or without outside influence.
What is an interception?
The word interception is particularly unpopular among quarterbacks. When a playmaker unintentionally throws the ball to an opposing player, it is called an interception. The defender can then continue running until he is stopped. If no one stops him, he can run into the end zone and score a touchdown that way. This is then called a “Pick Six”.
What is the snap in American football?
The snap involves the ball being handed over from the center to the quarterback. This is how every turn starts.
How is a player offside in the NFL?
A defensive player is offside if he crosses the line of scrimmage before or at the snap. A 5-yard penalty results.
What is pass interference?
Receivers may not be obstructed by an opponent when attempting to catch a pass. Defenders are only allowed to catch or deflect the ball so that the receiver cannot catch it or has difficulty catching it. Prohibited physical contact with the receiver is automatically penalized with a new first down. Particularly bitter for the defense: the attackers continue their drive at the spot of the foul.
However, both sides generally have the right to catch the ball. In other words: If an offensive player hinders a defender, this is also a pass interference. The penalty is then ten yards from the previous line of scrimmage.
When does a holding exist?
In American football, only the ball carrier can be held. If this happens to other players, it will be punished. A hold by the offense is penalized with a 10-yard penalty and a retry. The defense only has to gain five yards on a holding. However, the attackers are automatically granted a new first down.
What is Unnecessary Roughness?
American football is often perceived as a brutal sport by outsiders. The NFL has set many rules to protect the health of its players. For example, by banning unnecessary roughness, the league punishes unnecessary harshness. These include exaggerated hits after the end of the play, hits outside the field of play or attacks on so-called “defenseless receivers” who are hit in the head and shoulder area before they can protect themselves. As a penalty, a team will be assessed a 15-yard penalty. Additionally, the offense gets an automatic first down. In serious cases of unnecessary roughness, the referees can even send the offender off the field and ban him from further matches.
In what situations do NFL referees stop the clock?
The clock is automatically stopped after a kickoff, after points scored, after an incomplete pass, certain penalties, injury stoppages and the two-minute warning. The teams can also interrupt the game themselves if they take a time out. In addition, the clock is stopped if a player runs out of the field with the ball.
Is it allowed to take two timeouts in a row?
Every team in the NFL has three timeouts per half. As described above, these timeouts are used not only for tactical discussions, but also for stopping the clock. However, a team may only take one timeout during a down.
Transparency note: sport.de, like stern, is part of RTL Deutschland
I am Pierce Boyd, a driven and ambitious professional working in the news industry. I have been writing for 24 Hours Worlds for over five years, specializing in sports section coverage. During my tenure at the publication, I have built an impressive portfolio of articles that has earned me a reputation as an experienced journalist and content creator.