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The kicking team begins behind the ball, while the receiving team must remain at least 10 yards downfield before the ball is kicked.
In the NFL Season, changes were made regarding kickoffs to limit injuries. Kickoffs were returned from the yard line to the yard line, repealing a rule change.
In addition, players on the kickoff coverage team cannot line up more than 5 yards behind the kickoff line, minimizing running starts and thus reducing the speed of collisions.
In most cases, the ball is kicked as far as possible typically 40 to 70 yards , after which a player of the receiving team is usually able to secure possession since the members of the kicking team cannot start downfield until after the ball is kicked.
Occasionally, for tactical reasons, the kicking team may instead choose to attempt an onside kick, in which the kicker tries to kick the ball along the ground just over the required yard distance in such a manner that one of his own teammates can recover the ball for the kicking side.
If it is touched before ten yards, the ball is dead and a re-kick or spot of the ball will be rewarded to the receiving team. Once the ball carrier is downed, the play is whistled dead and the ball is placed by the officials at the point where the play ended; this spot then becomes the line of scrimmage for the ensuing play.
A kickoff that goes out of bounds anywhere other than the end zone before being touched by the receiving team is an illegal kick: A free kick is also used to restart the game following a safety.
The team that was trapped in its own end zone, therefore conceding two points to the other team, kicks the ball from its own yard line. This can be a place kick in the NFL, a tee cannot be used , drop kick or punt.
In the NFL and high school, a free kick may be taken on the play immediately after a fair catch ; see "fair catch kick" below.
The most common type of kick used is the place kick. For a place kick, the ball must first be snapped to a placeholder, who holds the ball upright on the ground with his fingertip so that it may be kicked.
Three points are scored if the ball crosses between the two upright posts and above the crossbar and remains over.
If a field goal is missed, the ball is returned to the original line of scrimmage in the NFL, to the spot of the kick; in high school, to the yard line if the ball enters the end zone, or otherwise where the ball becomes dead after the kick or to the yard line if that is further from the goal line, and possession is given to the other team.
If the ball does not go out of bounds, the other team may catch the kicked ball and attempt to advance it, but this is usually not advantageous.
One official is positioned under each goalpost; if either one rules the field goal no good, then the field goal is unsuccessful. A successful field goal is signaled by an official extending both arms vertically above the head.
A team that successfully kicks a field goal kicks off to the opposing team on the next play. After a touchdown, the scoring team attempts a try for 1 or 2 points see below.
A successful touchdown is signaled by an official extending both arms vertically above the head. A touchdown is worth six points, except in the defunct WFL where it was worth seven points.
For statistical purposes, the player who advances the ball into or catches it in the end zone is credited with the touchdown. If a forward pass was thrown on the play, the throwing player is also credited with a passing touchdown.
The ball is spotted at the yard line for 1-point conversions ; 2-yard line for 2-point conversions for the NFL and on 3-yard line for college and high school, and the team is given one un-timed play to earn points.
The uncommon safety is scored if a player causes the ball to become dead in his own end zone; two points are awarded to the opposing usually defending team.
This can happen if a player is either downed or goes out of bounds in the end zone while carrying the ball, or if he fumbles the ball, and it goes out of bounds in the end zone.
A safety is also awarded to the defensive team if the offensive team commits a foul which is enforced in its own end zone.
A safety is not awarded if a player intercepts a pass or receives a kick in his own end zone and is downed there. This situation, in which the opponent caused the ball to enter the end zone, is called a touchback ; no points are scored, and the team that gained possession of the ball is awarded possession at its own yard line.
If the interception or reception occurs outside the end zone, and the player is carried into the end zone by momentum, the ball is placed at the spot of the catch and no safety is awarded.
A safety is signaled by a referee holding both palms together above the head, fingertips pointing upwards. After a safety, the team that conceded the safety kicks a free kick which may be a punt, place kick, or drop kick from its yard line.
A free kick see above may be taken on the play immediately after any fair catch of a punt. The ball must be held on the ground by a member of the kicking team or drop kicked; a tee may not be used.
High school kickers may use a tee. This is both a field goal attempt and a free kick; if the ball is kicked between the goal posts, three points are scored for the kicking team.
This is the only case where a free kick may score points. This method of scoring is extremely rare, last successfully completed in the NFL by Ray Wersching in It is only advantageous when a team catches a very short punt with very little time left.
Note that a team is unlikely to be punting with only a few seconds left in a half or overtime, and it is rarer still for punts to be caught near field goal range.
The game is officiated by a crew of three to seven officials. Every crew will consist of a referee , who is generally in charge of the game and watches action on the quarterback and in the offensive backfield; an umpire , who handles spotting the ball and watches action on the offensive line; and a head linesman , who supervises placement of the down box and line-to-gain chains.
The crew may also consist of a line judge , back judge , field judge and side judge , in the order listed: Officials are selected by the teams in advance or appointed by the governing league.
While the majority of officials at lower levels only officiate games on a part-time basis, the NFL is implementing a new system where seven officials will become full-time employees of the league, one for each official position i.
During the game, the officials are assisted in the administration of the game by other persons, including: Because football is a high- contact sport requiring a balance between offense and defense, many rules exist that regulate equality, safety, contact, and actions of players on each team.
It is very difficult to always avoid violating these rules without giving up too much of an advantage. Thus, an elaborate system of fouls and penalties has been developed to "let the punishment fit the crime" and maintain a balance between following the rules and keeping a good flow of the game.
Players are constantly looking for ways to find an advantage that stretches the limitations imposed by the rules.
Also, the frequency and severity of fouls can make a large difference in the outcome of a game, so coaches are constantly looking for ways to minimize the number and severity of infractions committed by their players.
It is a common misconception that the term "penalty" is used to refer both to an infraction and the penal consequence of that infraction.
A foul is a rule infraction for which a penalty is prescribed. In most cases when a foul occurs, the offending team will be assessed a penalty of 5, 10 or 15 yards, depending on the foul.
Also, in most cases, if the foul is committed while the ball is in play, the down will be replayed from the new position for example, if the offense commits a foul on a first-down play, the next play will still be first down, but the offense may have to go 15 yards, or farther, to achieve another first down.
Some penalties typically for more serious fouls , however, require a loss of down for the offense; and some defensive fouls may result in an automatic first down regardless of the ball position.
In all cases except for ejection of a player or, in rare cases, forfeiture of the game , the non-offending team is given the option of declining the penalty and letting the result of the play stand although the Referee may exercise this option on their behalf when it is obvious , if they believe it to be more to their advantage.
For some fouls by the defense, the penalty is applied in addition to the yardage gained on the play. Most personal fouls , which involve danger to another player, carry yard penalties; in rare cases, they result in offending players being ejected from the game.
In the NFL, if a defensive foul occurs after time has expired at the end of a half, the half will be continued for a single, untimed play from scrimmage.
Under college rules, any accepted penalty when time has expired at the end of any quarter results in an extension for one untimed down.
Under college rules, the same half-the-distance principle applies, but any offensive fouls involving contact in their end zone e.
Each team receives three timeouts per half if the game goes to overtime, each team receives additional timeouts , making for a total of six timeouts per team in a regulation game.
Unused timeouts may not carry over to the second half or overtime. In the NFL, a number of rulings can be reviewed by officials or challenged by coaches.
Coaches are allowed two challenges per game and are granted a third if their first two are successful. The team loses a timeout if they lose the challenge.
Therefore, they cannot challenge if they do not have timeouts. Plays within the two-minute-warning and overtime cannot be challenged; any review must be initiated by a replay official off-field.
The referee performs the actual review via a video screen on the sideline. The referee will announce the result of instant replay reviews over his wireless microphone.
Beginning in the NFL Season, an instant replay review by the booth official will now be automatic for every play ruled by the referees on the field to have scored points.
This is seen as another step in the "modernization" of sports. Every scoring play will be reviewed now, which saves coaches from using up their challenges on close plays in the endzone.
In college, coaches are allowed one challenge per game by first requesting a timeout. Otherwise, a replay official in the press box observes all plays.
If he deems a ruling may be in error, he notifies the officials on the field to interrupt the game before the beginning of the next play. The replay official performs the review and relays the decision to the referee, who announces the result.
Not every conference employs replay, which is optional. High school rules do not provide for video review of any decisions by officials during the game.
Further, the use of television or video tape for coaching purposes during the game is prohibited. If a coach feels a rule has been misinterpreted, he may call timeout and request a coach-referee conference to discuss the ruling with the referee, but no replay equipment will be consulted during the conference.
In the regular season, only one minute overtime is played and games may end in a tie. Postseason games play unlimited minute periods until there is a winner.
Plays during the final two minutes of each half and all overtime periods are subject only to booth review. All turnovers and plays ruled on the field to have scored points are automatically reviewed regardless of game time.
Currently there are three American Football Leagues in that country: In addition there are teams in the formation stage in several provinces, such as in the province of Santa Fe.
Canadian football , the predominant form of football in Canada, is closely related to American football — both sports developed from rugby, and the two sports are considered to be the chief variants of gridiron football.
Punting is illegal, and kickoffs are attempted from the goal line. Large overhead nets deflect forward passes and kicks that hit them, and deflected kicks are live balls that may be recovered by either team.
Like in arena football, teams in indoor football leagues play in arenas, but games are only attended by a small number of fans, and most players are semi-professional athletes.
Indoor football leagues are unstable, with franchises regularly moving from one league to another or merging with other teams, and teams or entire leagues dissolving entirely.
There are several non-contact variants of American football, such as flag football. A game of touch football may require that the player be touched with either one or two hands to be considered down, depending on the rules used.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the American variation of gridiron football. For a broader usage of the name, see American football disambiguation.
Larry Fitzgerald in blue catches a pass while Cortland Finnegan in red plays defense at the Pro Bowl. Team sport ball game. Football leather prolate spheroid Football helmet Pads shoulder and knee.
History of American football. Official American football , Chain crew , and Penalty gridiron football. American football protective equipment , Concussions in American football , and Chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
American football in the United States. Canadian football , Arena football , and Flag football. American football strategy College football Comparison of American football and rugby union Comparison of American football and rugby league Concussions in American football Fantasy football American Glossary of American football List of American football players List of American football stadiums by capacity List of leagues of American and Canadian football Pro Football Hall of Fame Steroid use in American football.
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