Football 101 – September 2017


My son plays football for his high school and it is my favorite sport, so I felt that it was fitting for me to teach this Level Up Ladies workshop however, since we were at a football game, I was doing more watching and cheering than taking pictures. So, I decided to  cut and paste the information I passed out below.

PS: My son’s team win! Go Wolves!

Level Up Ladies – Football 101

Object of the Game: The object of the game is to score the most points. There are four ways to score points in football: Touchdown, extra point, field goal and safety.

Ways to Score

Touchdown: A touchdown is when the team makes it down to their end zone within four downs and scores, a touchdown is worth 6 points and gives you the opportunity to earn an extra point.
A touchdown is the biggest single score in a football game. It is worth six points, and it allows the scoring team an opportunity to attempt to get an extra point. To score a touchdown, the ball must be carried across the goal line into the end zone, caught in the end zone, or a fumble recovered in the end zone, or an untouched kickoff recovered in the end zone by the kicking team.

Immediately following a touchdown, the ball is placed at the opponent’s two-yard line,
where the offense has two options. Usually the offense will kick an extra point. If the offense successfully kicks the ball through the goal posts, it earns one point. The offense can also score two points by running or throwing the ball into the end zone in the same manner as you would score a touchdown. Since going for two points is more difficult than kicking an extra point, the offense generally chooses to kick the extra point.
Extra Point/Field Goal: The extra point is when the team kicks the goal through the goal posts to earn the extra one point after scoring a touchdown, making the touchdown worth 7 points instead of just 6!

2 point conversion: Instead of kicking for an extra point, a team that has just scored a touchdown can choose to go for two points. This is done in the same manner that a touchdown is scored, but is done from the 2-yard line.
Field Goal: A field goal is also a kick through the goal post which is worth 3 points. The team can choose to do this if they have reached their fourth down and don’t think they will make it to the end zone. They can be attempted from anywhere on the field on any down, but generally are kicked from inside the defense’s 45-yard line on fourth down. For a field goal to be “good”, the placekicker (or field goal kicker) must kick the ball through the goal-post uprights and over the crossbar. The defense tries to block the kick and stop the ball from reaching the goal post.
Safety: A safety is when a team scores and it is worth 2 points. This happens when the offensive ball carrier is tackled behind his own goal line.

How the Game is Played

The players: Each team has 3 separate units: the offense, those players who have possession of the ball; the defense, players who line up to stop the other team’s offense; and special teams that only come in on kicking situations (punts, field goals, and kickoffs). Only 11 players are on the field from one team at any one time.

Timing: Games are divided into four 15-minute quarters, separated by a 12-minute break at halftime. There are also 2-minute breaks (2 minute warning) at the end of the first and third quarters. At the end of the first and third quarters, the team with the ball retains possession heading into the following quarter. That is not the case before halftime. The second half starts with a kickoff in the same way as the game began in the first quarter.

Each offensive team has 40 seconds from the end of a given play until they must snap off the ball for the start of the next play (play clock), otherwise they will be penalized. The clock stops at the end of incomplete passing plays, when a player goes out of bounds, or when a penalty is called. The clock starts again when the ball is re-spotted by an official.

Kickoff: The equivalent of yelling “Action!” This happens at the beginning of the 1st and 3rd quarters and after every touchdown and field goal.

Offense: The team with the ball trying to score. This is an 11-man team that has possession of the ball. They try to advance the ball down the field to the end zone in order to make a touchdown and score points.

Defense: The team without the ball trying to prevent the other team from scoring. Defending the end zone. This is another 11-man team, but does not have possession of the ball and instead is trying to stop the offensive team from making a touchdown.

The Play: A play begins with the snap. At the line of scrimmage (the position on the field where the play begins), the quarterback loudly calls out a play in code and the player in front of him, the center, passes, or snaps the ball under his legs to the quarterback. From there, the quarterback can either throw the ball, hand it off, or run with it.

Pass: When the quarterback throws the ball. Usually, the quarterback does the passing, though there are times when another player may pass the ball to confuse the defense. Anyone on the offensive team is allowed to pass the ball as long as the pass is thrown from behind the line of scrimmage. A pass is complete if the ball is caught by another offensive player, usually the “wide receiver” or “tight end.” If the ball hits the ground before someone catches it, it is called an incomplete pass.

Run: This occurs when the quarterback hands the ball off to a running back, who then tries to gain as many yards as possible by eluding defensive players. The quarterback is also allowed to run with the ball.

Down: The period of action that starts when the ball is put into play and ends when that play is over. The offense gets 4 downs to gain 10 yards. You want a 1st down for the team you’re rooting for, which is the outcome of gaining the 10 yards. When watching on T.V, the line that the ball needs to pass to get the 1st down is usually highlighted in yellow on the screen.

First Down: All progress in a football game is measured in yards. The offensive team tries to get as much “yardage” as it can to try and move closer to the opponent’s end zone. Each time the offense gets the ball, it has four downs, or chances, in which to gain 10 yards. If the offensive team successfully moves the ball 10 or more yards, it earns a first down, and another set four downs. If the offense fails to gain 10 yards, it loses possession of the ball. The defense tries to prevent the offense not only from scoring, but also from gaining the 10 yards needed for a first down. If the offense reaches fourth down, it usually punts the ball (kicks it away). This forces the other team to begin its drive further down the field.

(Money example. The Offense gets $4 to gain 10 yards, each time they are down they have to pay $1. If they pay all $4 before they get the 10 yards then the ball gets turned over to the opposing team. If they get 10 yards before they run out of money they get to replenish their cash for another $4)

Drive: The series of plays when the offense has the football.

Tackle: The defense prevents the offense from advancing the ball by bringing the ball carrier to the ground. A player is tackled when one or both of his knees touch the ground. A play also ends when a player runs out of bounds.

Sack: When a defensive player tackles the quarterback of the opposing team.

Snap/Hike: When the ball is snapped or hiked, this means that one player is tossing the ball backwards through their legs either to the quarterback or kicker.

Punt: A kick usually made on a 4th down when the offense has to surrender possession of the ball to the defense because they failed to get a 1st down.

Turnovers: While trying to advance the football to the end zone, the offense may accidentally turn the ball over to the defense in one of two ways: Fumble or Interception, both can be run back into the end zone by the opponent for a touchdown.

Fumble: When the ball holder drops the ball while running or being tackled. When the ball is fumbled, it is up for grabs by either the offense or the defense.

Interception (a.k.a. pick): A pass that is caught by a player on the defense, ending the offense’s possession. An interception is when a throw is made by the quarterback and it is then caught by the other team, switching the possession of the ball. When a defensive player intercepts (a.k.a. picks off) the ball and scores a touchdown, it is referred to as a Pick 6 (6 points resulting from a pick).

Screen pass: A short pass from the quarterback typically to a player on the sides.

Hail Mary pass: A long desperation pass by the offense in hopes of scoring a touchdown or getting into field goal range. Typically thrown when there are only seconds left in the half or game and the offense has to score to win or tie.

Parts of the Field

Line of scrimmage: An imaginary line drawn from where the ball is placed at the end of a play. Neither team can cross the line until the next play starts. When watching football on TV now you can see it as a thick black line across the field.

End zone: The End Zone is the very end 10 yard section of each end of the field (usually a different color or design from the rest of the field), this is where the team needs to get to in order to score. Each team has their own end zone (which switches at half-time) in which is their goal to score, resulting in a TOUCHDOWN!

Red zone: 20 yards before the end zone on both sides of the field (prime scoring territory).


When you see the referees running, whistling or throwing flags, that means that a penalty has occurred.  These are the ones you will hear most often and what the consequences are.

False start: When an offensive player moves prior to the snap of the ball (5 yard penalty).

Offside: When any part of a player’s body is beyond the line of scrimmage (5 yard penalty).

Holding: An offensive hold is called when the player uses his hands, arms, or other parts of his body to prevent a defensive player from tackling the ball carrier (10 yard penalty). A defensive hold is called when the player tackles or holds an offensive player other than the ball carrier (5 yard penalty and automatic 1st down for the offense).

Photo 27-7-17, 6 32 30 PM.jpg


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s