NFL Football 101

The objective of NFL football is to score more points than your opponents by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. The offense can advanced the ball by running or throwing the ball to a teammate.

Points can be scored by running the ball, throwing a pass to a teammate who either runs or catches the ball in the end zone.

Points can also be scored on special teams by kicking the ball through the opponents goal post.

The defense can score points by intercepting the football, get a safety by tackling the opposing teams ball carrier behind his own goal line, picking up the football after a fumble and running with it into the opposing team end zone.

The defense tries to stop the offense from scoring and make them give up possession of the ball.

If the offense with the ball scores or is forced to give up possession of the ball, the offensive and defensive teams switch roles (the offensive team goes on defense and the defensive team goes on offense).

Each NFL football team has 11 players on the NFL football field with 7 referees at any given time. Any more than 11 could result in a penalty. There are 11 men on offense and 11 men on defense at all times.

There are 53 players on an NFL football roster, 45 will suit up on game day, 7 are on the practice squad and are inactive for the game. Each team has an offense, defense and special teams.

Special teams consist of kickoff team, kicking return team, punt team , and a punt return team.

How the game of NFL football is played?


The 2 teams send out their captains to the middle of the field with a referee to determine who will who get the ball first with a flip of the coin. One team picks heads and the other team picks tails. The visiting team picks a side of the coin.

The referee toss the coin up in the air and let the coin hit the ground. The team that wins the toss can choose to receive the ball or kick the ball off to the opposing team. The team that loses the coin toss can pick which side of the field they will defend.

The NFL football game starts with a kickoff. The ball is placed on a kicking tee at the kickoff team ( the defense ) 30 yard line, the place-kicker raises his arm to signal to his teammates that he is ready to kick the football off to the kick return team (the offense).

The return man and his teammates (offense) will try to catch the ball and advance the ball by running with the football.

The kickoff team (defense) will try to tackle the runner on the kick return team. Where the runner is tackle is the point in which the offense will begin its drive or series of offensive plays.

Note: When a kickoff is caught inside the offense own end zone, the kick returner can either run the ball out of the end zone, or kneel in the end zone to signal a touch back (a sign to stop the play). The ball is then placed on the 20-yard line, where the offense begins play.

The offense comes on the field for the kick return team and the defense comes on the field for the kickoff team. The offense has 4 attempts, which are called (downs) to gain 10 yards ( 9.1m) towards the opponents (defense) end zone or inside the opponents 30 yard line to try a field goal.

If the offensive team succeeds at gaining 10 or more yards, it earns a first down which means the offense starts a new set of 4 downs. If the offense fails to gain 10 yards after 3rd down, they usually punt on 4th down, and the opposing offensive team get possession of the football.

The punt team (defense) comes out and kicks the football down field to the opposing punt return team (offense). The punt return team tries to catch the football and advance the ball down field without being tackle by the (punt team).

The punt team tries to tackle the runner of the opposing team for a lost or minimal gain of yards on the play.

The Opening Drive


The offense comes on to the field and gets in a huddle 10 to 15 yards behind the ball and the quarterback calls the play for the offense. Once the play is called the offense will clap their hands together and say break.

The center will lead the offense toward the line of scrimmage where the ball is placed on the field. The defense comes out and lines up on the ball waiting for the offense to get on the line of scrimmage.

The center puts his hand on the ball with out lifting the ball up, he looks up while readings the defense, tells his lineman who to block and the quarterback who he thinks is coming on a blitz. The quarterback looks at the defense to determine what type of defense they are in.

The defense does the same thing with their middle linebacker calling the defensive plays. The middle linebacker makes sure the defense is line up in position to tackle the runner for a loss, knock the ball down when a pass is thrown to a receiver or tackle the receiver after the catch.

The quarterback yells out signals while calling a play in code. He then uses a hand signal or verbal cadence that is directed at the center to snap the ball between his legs to him.

NFL football has 3 ways the quarterback can advance the ball, either throw the ball, hand it off to a runner, or run with it himself.

If the quarterback calls a running play, he will receive the snap from the center, turn to hand or flip the ball to the running back or take off running with the ball.

If the quarterback calls a passing play, he will receive the snap from the center by standing in the shotgun seven yards back or drop back three to seven yards from the line of scrimmage and look for a receiver to throw the ball to.

The possession for the offense stops only if the offense scores a touchdown, kicks a field goal, loses a fumble to the defense, a interception is thrown by the quarterback or the defense gets possession of the ball by stopping the offense from getting a first down.

Calling NFL Football Plays.


The coach and the offensive coordinator calls the plays. The offensive coordinator sits in the booth high up in the stadium and he is able to see what’s happening on the field.

The plays can to be brought in by another player, ( this is call substitution) running to the huddle and telling the quarterback what play to run.

Then the NFL started using signals from the sidelines to signal in to the quarterback while he look to the sideline for the signal.

Today with technology, NFL football uses a communication device which is put in the helmet of the quarterback while the head coach and offensive coordinator call the plays into the helmet of the quarterback.

The same process is done for the defense where the defensive coordinator calls plays and communicate with the middle linebacker with the use of a communication device in the middle linebacker helmet.

NFL football is played with four 15-minute quarters and a 12-minute break at halftime. The game has a halftime after 2 quarters. The game goes on, back and forth, until all four quarters of the game have been played with 0:00 on the time clock.