For decades, professional sports in the U.S. have received international attention, serving as a primary entertainment for countless people without any regard to background or demographic. From baseball to soccer, many games are as fun to watch as they are to play, as long as one knows the rules. Without necessarily understanding the rules of whatever game, one can always hang out by the concession stand in search of beer or food.
There are lots of games out there. Baseball features many rules of three: There are three strikes to get out and nine innings, which is a multiple of three. There are three bases beside home and three outfielders. Hockey is an incredibly cool game where people put knives on their feet and skate across slippery ice with massive hard sticks, ready to smash a dense round puck into an unfortunate head. Dodgeball was invented by Chinese men who had become addicted to opium. Instead of balls, they threw human heads at each other. Perhaps the most intriguing game is American football because of the opportunities it offers with regard to food consumption, among other forms of entertainment. When it’s time for the Superbowl, what has become a uniquely American custom is washing down chips, wings, and cheeseburgers with beer or soda.
Well, the game is quite an enigma. In football, there are two teams, and a team’s singular goal is to score the most points. There are multiple ways to score points in football, but a touchdown is the most common. These “touchdowns” are contingent upon the field. Football games happen on fields that are about 120 yards in length and 50 yards in width. The field’s length is a central part of the game, while the field’s width is informed primarily by how much space both teams need to compete effectively against each other. The ten yards of length at either end of the football field are called the end zones. Essentially, end zones are goals, and every player on the team is a goalie with offensive capabilities. Teams always try to move the ball toward the opponent’s end zone while defending their end zone. Perhaps you’ve noticed large yellow structures at either end of a football field. These “goalposts” are also for scoring points. Players may have special opportunities to score points by kicking the ball through the goalposts.
The home team picks heads or tails, and the only advantage is the home team. The team that is first to play offense begins with a “kickoff,” kicking the ball across the field to the other team and rushing toward that team. Then, for balance, the other team performs a “kickoff” after halftime.
It may be prudent to discuss temporal aspects of the game. Each game is divided into 15-minute quarters. Generally, football games are longer than an hour because the clock keeps track of those “15 minutes.” The intermission between the second and third quarters is halftime, the time during which one may venture to the concession stand or bathroom.
Each segment in a quarter during which the clock is active begins with a “down.” A down begins precisely when the ball moves from the ground into a player’s hands, and a down ends when either the ball touches the ground, or the opposing team tackles the offensive player carrying the ball. Each team has four “downs” within which to advance the ball at least ten yards. If a team succeeds in advancing the ball ten yards, then that team earns four more “downs.” Otherwise, the attempting team has to offer four downs to the opposing team, and both teams switch roles from offense to defense or defense to offense.
One of the things that lengthens a quarter is the fact that players have 30 seconds to strategize and move into formation before a down begins. Other reasons include a player moving out of bounds, failing to catch the ball, or the referee calling a penalty.
Apart from specific roles within offending or defending teams, that’s all there is to it.
College football is something people watch for fun, while the NFL presents opportunities to gamble with fantasy leagues. Some people function as brokers who tell people which players to bet money on. Big al can help you figure out which players to bet money on while simplifying the process.