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Basic American Football Rules


To a newcomer, American football can look overly complex. However, the fundamentals of the game are easy to understand and follow.

Here is our guide to the basic rules of the game, including the flow of play and the methods of scoring.

It should equip you with enough information to enable you to enjoy watching or even playing American football, while you learn the more in depth nuances of the game.

The Game

  • Normal play consists of two teams of 11 players on field (one on offence the other on defence) competing during four 15 minute quarters.

  • There are usually three ‘time-outs’ per half for each team, with a 12 minutes half-time interval.

  • The purpose of the game is to move the ball into the opposition's ‘end zone’, either by running with the ball until tackled, or by passing the ball to a teammate downfield, towards the end zone.

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