After seaching the forum, I only found one thread dedicated to the most watched sport in America and, come Super Bowl weekend, the whole world. That sport is American Football. With all due respect to that thread, it was scarely used and didn't have much format to it, so I decided to make a fresh, new one. I hope the Mod's don't mind.
My name is Andy, and I'm an avid Chicago Bears fan - no matter how much they suck! NFL is my second love in the world of sport after football and I follow it pretty closely and have done for the past 3 years or so. This thread is there for all of those that love NFL, both in real life and the various games that encapulate the sport.
Now, I don't care if you think Rugby players are harder or if you think NFL players are pansies for wearing all their pads and protection. If you watched a whole game and saw some of the hits that players take and give out, it really can make your eyes water!
Anyway, if you follow NFL, no matter how much, or if you would like to find out more about the game, then this is the thread for you.
I am quite open in my love for the sport with my friends and have often had to take some ribbing from them as they have no knowledge of the sport and basically think that it's a load of rubbish. But that's the problem for a lot of people as they don't really know the rules or even realise what the object of the game is. With that in mind, I will give you the lowdown of how the sport works and how you go about actually winning a game.
An NFL game is divided into four quarters with an extended halftime break between quarters two and three. Each quarter is 15 minutes long. If the teams are tied after four quarters of play, they play an additional overtime period of 15 minutes. In the overtime, the first team to score wins.
While the game time adds up to one hour, it usually takes three to four hours to play a game. Teams can stop the clock by running out of bounds, throwing an incomplete pass, or calling a time out, of which they have three per half. Time also stops for each of the two-minute warnings, observed two minutes prior to the end of the second and fourth quarters.
An NFL roster allows for no more than 53 players on a team. At any one time, only 11 players per team are allowed on the field. To understand an NFL roster, you have to identify the three teams within a team: the offense, the defense, and special teams. Each of these groups has specialized positions with a specific set of skills.
Below is a image displaying a typical offense lining up against a typical defense. Please note, however, that there are hundreds of different formations possible. With each offensive formation, the defense would usually line up differently also. However, that is too complicated to get into fully right now.
A team's offense is responsible for taking the ball down the field toward its opponent's end zone. To do this, the offense throws the ball from one player to another, or holds the ball and runs forward. Here are the basic offensive positions:
Quarterback (QB) - This player throws the ball to receivers or hands off to running backs. The quarterback is also known as the "field general," because he's the on-the-field leader.
Offensive linemen - These players provide blocking for the quarterback and running backs. Individual linemen positions include:
Center © - The center is located in the middle of the line. This player hikes the ball to the quarterback by bringing the ball up between his legs.
Guards (LG/RG) - These two players flank the center.
Tackles (LT/RT) - The tackles are positioned on the outside of each guard; teams have two tackles.
Receivers - Receivers run down the field and catch balls thrown by the quarterback. Receivers are either wide receivers (WR) or tight ends (LTE/RTE) depending on where they are positioned on the field.
Running backs - Running backs take the ball from the quarterback and run up the field. Depending on the formation (arrangement) of the offensive players, a running back might be called a tailback (TB), halfback (HB), or fullback (FB).
Where the offense tries to drive the team down the field and score points, the defense tries to stop them from doing so. Here are the basic defensive positions:
Defensive linemen - The linemen put pressure on the quarterback by trying to tackle him before he releases the ball. They also try to stop running backs. There are typically three or four defensive linemen. Individual positions include:
Ends (LE/RE) - The ends line up on the outside of the line and try to rush around the offensive tackles.
Nose tackle (NT) - The nose tackle lines up over the football.
Tackle (LDT/RDT) - The tackle lines up across from a guard and tries to knife through the offensive line.
Linebackers - When there are four linemen, there is a middle linebacker (MLB) and two outside linebackers (OLB). When there are three linemen, there are two inside linebackers (ILB) and two outside linebackers. Their job is to back up the linemen, as well as contain runners and cover receivers on some plays.
Cornerbacks (CB) - The cornerbacks prevent the wide receivers from catching the ball by breaking up passes from the quarterback.
Safeties - The safeties play deep behind the rest of the defense to prevent a long pass or run. A strong safety (SS) lines up on the side of the field where there are more offensive players. The free safety (FS) plays a deep, middle position.
If a team has to kick the ball, it uses its special-teams unit. This unit includes the team's kickers, the offensive line, and players who run down the field to tackle a returner (see below).
Placekicker - The placekicker kicks the ball through the goalposts to score points, and kicks the ball to the other team to start the game and after each scoring possession.
Punter - The punter free-kicks the ball if his team cannot advance the ball down the field.
Returner - During a kickoff or punt, the returner tries to catch the ball and return it as far as he can. A player can score a touchdown on a return.
So there are your players, now for the rules...
An American Football game begins with a coin toss to decide which team will receive the opening kickoff. From the opening kickoff, the two teams battle to take possession of the ball. Possession means that a team's offensive unit has the ball.
A team can take possession of the ball in several ways:
Receiving a kickoff - A team receives a kickoff at the beginning of each half and after the other team scores.
Turnover - A team recovers a ball dropped by the other team (fumble) or picks off a ball thrown by the other team's quarterback (interception).
Safety - A player is tackled in his own end zone, meaning the end zone his team is defending, so the other team gets the ball though a free kick.
Punt - The defensive team stops the offensive team from getting 10 yards in three downs, and the offensive team free-kicks, or punts, the ball to the other team on third down.
Turnover on downs - The offensive team fails to advance the ball 10 yards in four downs and has to surrender the ball to the other team.
Every time a team takes possession of the ball, it is given a set of four downs, or attempts, to move the ball 10 yards. If the team can move the ball 10 yards or more within four downs, the team gets another set of four downs to go another 10 yards, and so on.
For instance, if a team advances 3 yards on first down, the next play is second down with 7 yards to go (second and 7); if the team then advances 5 yards on second down, the next play is third and 2; if the team then advances 2 or more yards on third down, the next play is back to first and 10, with a whole new set of four downs during which to advance the ball.
After each play, the officials determine how many yards a team has advanced or lost. The officials then place the ball at the point where the team has ended up. This point determines the line of scrimmage, which is an imaginary line that runs across the field and is the starting point for the offensive team on each play. On the sideline, a team of officials handles a 10-yard-long chain, which designates that 10-yard mark a team must reach to get a first down. On close plays, this chain is sometimes brought onto the field to measure the distance from the ball to the 10-yard mark. The nose of the ball must reach the bar connected to the end of the chain for a team to be awarded a first down.
If a team fails to gain 10 yards after three downs, it may choose to punt the ball to the other team. If it doesn't punt and chooses to use its fourth down, or "go for it," it must reach the 10-yard mark or it surrenders the ball. A team often chooses to punt the ball in order to back the opposing team up so that it has to cover a greater distance to score. The team receiving the punt can return it, meaning it can catch and run it back down the field. The kicking team is hoping to kick the ball down the field and tackle the receiving team's kick returner before he comes back down the field.
The opponent's goal line is the one a team is advancing toward. Once any part of the ball reaches the edge of the goal line, it is considered in the end zone, and a touchdown has been scored. You will often hear commentators say that a ball breaks the plane of the end zone, which means the ball has crossed over the goal line.
A touchdown is just one way of scoring points in football. After scoring a touchdown, a team can kick a field goal for an extra point or attempt to run or pass the ball into the end zone for a two-point conversion. The team has only one chance at the two-point conversion.
At any time during their possession, the offense can opt to try to kick the ball through the posts. This is called a field goal. If they are successful it’s 3 points and they kickoff to the other team, if it misses, it’s first and 10 to the other team from the spot where it was taken.
Ways of Scoring:
Touchdown (TD) - A ball is carried into an opponent's end zone or caught in the end zone. 6 points
Extra point - A ball is kicked through the uprights of the opponent's goalpost after a touchdown. 1 points
2-point conversion - A ball is carried into an opponent's end zone or caught in the end zone. 2 points
Field goal - A ball is kicked through the uprights of the opponent's goalpost. 3 points
Safety - A player tackles an opposing player in the opposing player's own end zone. 2 points
There are a lot more minor rules, but those are the main, basic ones, feel free to ask any questions….
There are 32 teams in the NFL with no promotion or relegation issues that is commonplace in many sports. These 32 teams are divided evenly into two 16-team conference - the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC). In each conference, the teams are then sub-divided into four divisions; North; East; South; West.
The four teams in each division play each other twice every season, home and away, and are known as 'Divisional Rivals'. Other than these 6 games, each team plays a further 10 games to give 16 total matches in the season. I won't go into detail about how the NFL decides who plays who each season - it's far too complicated for me to even think about.
Here are the divisions and their respective teams:
New England Patriots
New York Jets
Kansas City Chiefs
San Diego Chargers
Green Bay Packers
New York Giants
New Orleans Saints
Tampa Bay Bucaneers
St. Louis Rams
San Francisco 49ers
Road to the Super Bowl
Even the least-knowledgable NFL fans know that all teams aim to get to the Super Bowl each year - the sport's season-ending, most-watched televised event in the world.
As I said before, each team plays 16 games in the regular season. So, hyperthetically, if a team wins 10 games and loses 6, their record is 10-6 (pronounced 10 and 6).
Each team is competing in their respective divisions and are vying to come top of their min-league. If you come top of your division, then you win the right to advance to the post-season play-offs.
If you don't top your division however, you have the chance to snap up one of two wild-card positions. These are awarded to the two best-placed finished in each conference who do NOT win their division. So, in total, 6 teams from each conference advance to the play-offs. Each team is given a ranking based on the record in the season.
Out of these 6 teams in each conference, the two teams with the best record - i.e. ranks 1 and 2 - receive a bye to the second round of play-off matches. The other 4 teams in each conference play against each other in what is known as Wild-Card Weekend. The 3rd-ranked team plays the 6th-ranked team and the 4th-ranked team plays the 5th-ranked team.
The winners of each of these games advance to the round of Divisional Playoff games to play the number 1 and 2 ranked teams. These are effectively the quarter-finals. From then-on, it's pretty self-explanatory. If you've found this quite hard to understand, which would be understanding, hopefully diagram explains it a bit better.
Current World Champions
After triumphing 27-23 against the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII, the Pittsburgh Steelers currently hold the tag of World Champions. Santonio Holmes was the hero for Pittsburgh, holding on to a 6-yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger deep into the fourth quarter after Larry Fitzgerald had just given Arizona the lead with 2:37 remaining. Holmes caught 9 passes for 131 yards with that game-winning touchdown to give him the award of Super Bowl MVP - Most Valuable Player.