ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Football for Dummies

Updated on September 18, 2009


Please keep in mind that the following information is meant for those with little to no knowledge or understanding about football.

The game can be confusing if you don't understand the rules, but the basics are simple. First off, the object of the game, like most games, is to score. There are different ways to score in football, but first you'll need to understand the basic terms of the game.

Football Basics

The Field

  • The football field is 120 yards long and 160 feet wide. The actual playing field is 100 yards.
  • There are stripes that mark every five yard intervals.
  • The hash marks, are the shorter lines that mark one line intervals.
  • The end zone extends ten yards; there is one on each side of the field.
  • There is a goal post in the back line of each end zone.
  • The goal line is the spot where the end zone and the playing field meet.

The Players

Each team consists of:


  • Halfback: Usually responsible for carrying the football on running plays.
  • Fullback: Usually responsible for run blocking for the halfback and pass blocking for the quarterback.
  • WideReceiver: Responsible for catching passes from the quarterback.
  • TightEnd: Used as a blocker and receiver
  • OffensiveTackle
  • OffensiveGuard
  • Center: lineman who hikes the football to the quarterback at the beginning of every play.


  • Defensive End: Keep the running back on the outside of running plays. He will, also, rush the quarterback on passing plays
  • Defensive Tackle: Stop the running back on running plays, get pressure to the middle of the field for passing plays, and occupy the blockers so that the linebacker can be free.
  • NoseTackle: Stop the run and occupy the offensive lineman to keep him from blocking the linebacker.
  • Linebacker: Act as the second line of defense.
  • Cornerback: Cover the wide receiver
  • Safety: Help the cornerback pass coverage.

Special Teams

  • Gunner: Race down field in order to tackle the kick or punt returner.
  • Holder: Catch the football and put it into a kicking position
  • KickReturner: Catch the football after kickoff and attempt to return to the other direction.
  • LongSnapper: Makes long snaps for punts
  • Placekicker: kicks the football on kickoffs
  • Punter: Catch the long snap from the center and kicks the football
  • PuntReturner: Catch the ball after it's punted and run toward the punting team's end zone

How to Score

  • Touchdown (6 points)

The player must carry the ball across the other team's goal line, or he must catch a pass in the end zone.

  • Extra Point Conversion (1 point)

One extra point to the team who scored to touchdown. The point is granted if the team can kick the ball through the goal posts from the two yard line.

  • Two-Point Conversion (2 points)

After scoring a touchdown, if the team decides to go for 2 extra points, they will line up at the two yard line and make one attempt to run or pass the football into the end zone.

  • Field Goal (3 points)

In a fourth- down, the team can attempt to kick a field goal between the goal posts in the other team's endzone.

  • Safety (2 points )

Tacking an opponent who has the football in their end zone.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      6 years ago

      this is good information, but isn't there a quarterback also??

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      whitney what is an onside kick and when does it happen?

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      this helped a lot but i still really don't get what the yards are for. and what's up with the 1st down, 2nd down, etc.? i just don't get it. I'm going to the book store and getting football for dummies haha

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      man, i still don't get the overall point of the game, and what is a 1st down, 2nd down...etc?!!!!!!!?!?!!??!?!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I do not know ANYTHING about football, yet my boyfriend played football in high school. Guess who is going to teach me about football. And he is buying me the Football for Dummies book.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      being english i always played football ( or as you americans call it soccer) now i get the idea.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      thanks this helped! my boyfriend plays football and i don't understand any of it :) haha

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      what does it mean when a high school team is 2A champs?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I am confused about the downs. I always hear 1st down, 2nd down, and I am not sure what that means. My cousins all play football and I just want to know what's going on...?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great stuff for beginers.

      Anon, you are right, they flip in the FIRST 1/4, but at the begining of the 2nd half they just reverse ends of the field.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      well i think this helped i guess....not sure i'll tell u when i understand football more

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      very helpful! my boyfriend plays football and i never understood what was going on. Thanks

    • profile image


      9 years ago


      They flip a coin

    • Zedfix profile image


      9 years ago

      Good article... I am not used to this sport at all :) it allwayz seemed complex ...

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      How do they decide which direction the two teams will go to start the second half of the game?

    • RedSonja94 profile image


      9 years ago from Michigan

      Nice hub. I love the way it is put together. It is a very helpful article for those who are not familiar with football. Since I write about football for moms we have some similar content but all in all I love your writing style.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      thnx, tht was very helpful .....

    • BristolBoy profile image


      10 years ago from Bristol

      This is a useful hub for someone like myself who has very little knowledge of American Football having only briefly heard references etc and having never watched a whole game. This is mainly due to getting bored as the one thing which really annoys me about the sport is there is only about 60 minutes of action (I hope that is correct) but the game can go on for much longer eg 3 or more hours. Sometimes I guess it is cultural but in the UK football, rugby etc may last longer playing wise (90 minutes and 80 minutes respectively) but the whole game is normally over in less than 2 hours, which I feel leads to more intense action for the 90 minutes, rather than American Football where there are very short intense bursts of action followed by 5 minutes of everyone getting back into position/adverts (in my experience). Good hub though :).

    • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Georgia

      Really? I need to go check out yours. I didn't think it really had that much information. Thank you.

    • gamergirl profile image


      11 years ago from Antioch, TN

      Great Hub, Whitney. Way more in depth than my 'beginner's guide to football' hub attempt. :(


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)