A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding American Football


You can experience the excitement of American football, a sport that originated in the 19th century. It has strong connections with soccer and rugby, but let’s not delve into debate here. The game involves passing, kicking, and running with an oval-shaped ball on a 100-yard field.

American football has gained immense popularity, arguably making it the most widely loved sport in America. Many individuals play it in school or college before advancing to professional leagues like the National Football League (NFL). If you want to play football for beginners, this might be the best way to get started with the game. We will help you better understand this spectacular and popular event better, even if you do not have prior knowledge.

What Are the Basic Rules of American Football?

In a game, two teams face each other, with each team having a maximum of 11 players on the field at a time. Unlimited substitutions are allowed, and any player can re-enter the game.

On offense, the football rules state that a team must have a minimum of 5 offensive linemen. The remaining 6 players can be a combination of quarterbacks (QBs), running backs (RBs), wide receivers (WRs), tight ends (TEs), and miscellaneous position players. Additionally, at least two of these players (one on each side of the field) must be on the line of scrimmage alongside the offensive linemen.

On defense, there is no requirement for a minimum number of defensive linemen (DLs), safeties (S), cornerbacks (CBs), and linebackers (LBs). Therefore, defenses can be creative with their formations, as long as the team does not exceed 11 players on the field at a time. The most common base formations for a defense are the 4-3 (four DLs and three LBs) and the 3-4 (three DLs and four LBs). Both formations include two CBs and two safeties.

Main Game Schedule

The NFL offers Thursday Night Football, commencing at 1:20 am on Fridays. On Fridays and Saturdays, no games are played, but Sunday’s present a full slate of matches. Most games kick off at 6 pm, with a few more at 9:05 pm and 9:25 pm, followed by a significant matchup at 1:20 am. The final game of the week takes place on Monday night, starting around 1:15 am on Tuesdays. This night-time game is similar to those held on Sunday and Thursday.

There are periods during the week when no American football is played, which might seem unusual for some fans. However, people eventually adjust to this schedule. Moreover, at this time you can watch beIN Sports streaming and find out about the future schedule and changes in the world of American football. By the way, streaming is available mainly in the USA. If you want to watch sporting events from other countries, you need a VPN. One of the few VPNs that can unblock beIN Sports is VeePN. It has a free trial mode.

What do I Need to Know About American Football?

You’ll play the game for 60 minutes, split into four 15-minute quarters. When the 4th quarter ends and there’s no more time left, the game concludes, also known as the end of regulation.

If there’s a tie score at the end of regulation, the game proceeds to overtime. Football rules vary for professional and college football. A college football game won’t end in a tie after overtime, but a regular-season professional football game can end as a tie.

The offensive team has 40 seconds on the play clock before each play. If the 40 seconds expire, the offense incurs a delay of game penalty, resulting in a loss of 5 yards.

Key Terms

When you lose possession of the ball by accident on offense and the defense gains control, it’s called a turnover. A turnover can happen in a couple of ways. One way is through a fumble, which occurs when the person carrying or passing the ball accidentally drops it. In this situation, any player can recover the fumbled ball, regardless of which team they belong to.

Another type of turnover is an interception. This happens when the defense catches a pass intended for players on the opposing team. Additionally, substitutions can be made between downs, allowing coaches to select the most suitable player for a particular play. This is the key terminology, but there are a lot of other terms as well. It’s smart to start with the basics, install the VPN for Edge, and start watching games. You will quickly master these and other terms without having to memorize them.


How does American football work for beginners? You will quickly understand this when you learn about the features of scoring. To win in American Football, you aim to outscore the opposing team before time runs out. You can score points in different ways:

  • Kick a field goal (3 points).
  • Score a touchdown (6 points).
  • Earn a safety (2 points).
  • Convert an extra point (1 point).
  • Complete a two-point conversion (2 points).
  • Execute a defensive two-point conversion (2 points).
  • A field goal is worth 3 points when the ball is kicked successfully between the yellow uprights.

A touchdown happens when a player carries the ball into the opponent’s end zone. Primarily, this occurs on offense, but it can also occur on defense through turnovers (interception or fumble) or special teams (fumble, interception, punt return, or kickoff return).

After scoring a touchdown, the offense has the option to kick for an extra point or attempt a two-point conversion. However, if the defense blocks the kick or gains possession, they can try to return it for a defensive two-point conversion. If they get tackled before reaching the end zone, no additional points are awarded. If the defense tackles an offensive player in their own end zone, it results in a safety. The defense earns 2 points on the scoreboard and receives the football on the kickoff.


When you try to understand football all at once, it can seem quite complicated. We suggest starting by focusing on the offense, defense, and special teams. Once you grasp the game’s format, you can then proceed to learn the positions. These rules are applicable at the NFL, college, high school, and youth levels of the sport. Football requires both strategy and speed to score points in its fast-paced nature.

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