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Braden: Top 5 Most Important Things to Understand about American Football. In this lesson, you’ll learn about the top 5 most important thing to understand about American football.
Ann: Now, to be specific, no sport is called American football.
Braden: That’s right! We just said that to avoid confusion because outside of the USA, when you say football, you’re actually talking about a different sport than when Americans talk about football.
Ann: So here in America, we don’t call it American Football, we just call it football.
Braden: That’s right. Ok, so we’re going to look at 5 things. First, football is a team game. Second, that it’s played on a special field. Third, there’s a special area of the field called Touchdown! And fourth, how to earn extra points in football. Last of all, we’re going to look at the system of Downs in football.
Ann: That’s a lot of stuff so we’ll get right into it.
Braden: Our number 5 most important thing to understand about American Football is that it's a team game. With really big teams.
Ann: Actually, that’s one of the unique aspects about football, the teams are huge. This is because there are two "lines" or groups of players within any football team—the offense and the defense.
Braden: So, when the team that has the ball has their "offense" group, or offensive line, on the field and the team that doesn't have the ball has their defense team, or defensive line, on the field.
Ann: Right. Beyond that, there are only eleven players per team are allowed to play on a football field at a time. The odd thing is that a professional football team can have as many as 60 players.
Braden: That’s right, each team! So why so many people? One of the reasons is the two different "lines" or groups we just talked about.
Ann: Since offense and defense are so different in football, there are different players in each "line." So that's already 22 players! Another reason is that football is a very violent sport.
Braden: Because of that there are usually at least two substitute players for each main player. That adds up to 66 players per team, not including specialty players like the kicker. That’s a lot of people!
Ann: Our number four most important thing to understand about American football is the field. Football is played on an outdoor field, not on an indoor court like basketball.
Braden: There are some indoor variations of football but the professional football players play outside. A football field is 100 yards in length and a 50 yards wide.
Ann: There is a scoring area (commonly referred to as "the touchdown") and goal posts at either end of the field. The goal posts are often called "field goals."
Braden: So to explain the yard, a yard is 3 feet. On a football field, each yard is marked and every 10 yards is marked by a large white line across the field.
Ann: The 50 yard line is the middle of the field.
Braden: At 50 yards, there is a large line and usually some kind of symbol on the ground to indicate the 50 yard line.
Ann: This is the center of the field.
Braden: Our number three most important thing to understand about American football is touchdown.
Ann: To score in football, a player must enter the scoring area while holding the ball.
Braden: When a player does this it's called a touchdown.
Ann: The reason it's called a touchdown is because the player must physically touch the ground of the scoring area to score. In football, a touchdown is worth 6 points.
Braden: So every time your team reaches the scoring area, also often referred to as "the touchdown," they earn 6 points.
Ann: Our #2 most important thing to understand about football is extra points. In football, you can earn extra points.
Braden: To do that, your team needs to first score a touchdown, after a touchdown has score, the team that scored is given a chance to earn extra points.
Ann: To earn extra points, the ball is placed on the 2 yard line and your team can score in two ways. They can try for another touchdown or try to kick the ball through the goal posts behind the scoring area.
Braden: A second touchdown in this situation gives 2 points (not 6) and a kick gives 1 extra point.
Ann: It's important to understand that these "extra point" opportunities only happen after a normal touchdown and only award 2 points or 1 point depending on what your team does.
Braden: For example, if no touchdown had been scored and your team kicked the ball through the goal posts then that is called a field goal and it's actually worth 3 points.
Ann: However, if a touchdown had been scored, then the kick would only be worth 1 point.
Braden: The most important thing to understand about football is the system of "downs."
Ann: In football, the rules state that when a team has possession of the ball they have 4 chances to advanced the ball a minimum of 10 yards.
Braden: If they can't advanced the ball at least 10 yards, they have to give the ball to the other team right there.
Ann: Each of these "chances" is called a "down" because the ball or the player holding the ball touches the ground—it touches "down," on the ground.
Braden: Since you only have 4 chances to advance the ball, with the other team trying to stop you, football teams and coaches develop elaborate "plays."
Ann: A "play" is a type of plan that says where each player will go and what they will do in order to advance the ball and/or score.
Braden: That right, and at every single "down" a team will run a "play" in order to advance the ball or score.
Braden: Well, that just about does it for today.
Ann: Thanks for listening!
Braden: See you later!