Basic Rules 101

(Or, Football: Why Dost Thou Exist?)

Ok, so the objective is this: Eleven dudes have to move an egg-shaped ball down the field towards the other teams endzone. They can run with the ball, throw (or pass) the ball to another dude, or kick the ball. They get four tries to go 10 yards. Every time they try, it's called a "DOWN," basically because when the guy with the ball goes "down" (as in falls or gets crushed into the ground), the try, or "PLAY" is over. See simplified illustration below:


If they DO get the 10 yards covered, they get another four tries to make it another 10 yards. Are we getting this? It's like driving through traffic--you move forward a little bit, then stop. Move forward, stop. Wait. Discuss. Commercial. Eat some chips.

You get what I'm saying.

I've decided that the most torturous aspect of watching football on TV is the waiting in between plays. There are only 60 minutes in the WHOLE GAME. Technically. We ALL know that those games go on for hours and hours. The reason it TAKES so long is because my illustration is really simplified. In other words, like I said before, they get four tries to go only 10 YARDS. So, technically, it could take like 16 tries (or plays) to actually get to the endzone (instead of my lovely 3 plays).

Back to the rules. (almost done!)

If the Pink team doesn't make the next down in 4 tries, the ball goes to the other team and it starts all over again. Sometimes, if the ball is close to the endzone on the 4th down, a PUNTER (dude who kicks) will try to kick the ball through the end posts for what's called a FIELD GOAL (worth 3 points). A TOUCHDOWN, on the other hand, is worth 6 points. If they get the touchdown, they can gain an extra point by kicking the ball through the uprights in the endzone. They can also optionally go for a 2 POINT CONVERSION (two extra points) by faking a kick and instead running or passing the ball into the endzone. (This is usually the more difficult option and is only attempted when time is running out and the other team really needs the points)

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