Get to Know the Basics of the NFL

Friday, September 12 at 11:35 AM
Category: Arvest News

That time of year is upon us once again — the kickoff of the 2014-2015 National Football League (NFL) season. For passionate NFL fans that means spending Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays doing what they do best — spending hours cheering in front of the television. For loved ones and friends of NFL fanatics, particularly those who do not understand the game, it can be a very long and lonely season.

Of course, there is a simple solution to this problem — get in the game. By learning a little more about football, you too can become a fan and share a passion with your football crazed loved one. But before you sit down and watch, it's important you know these basics about the game.

The Teams:
There are 32 NFL teams who play 16 regular season games. The teams are divided into two categories -- the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC).

The Stakes:
In the playoffs, the top six teams in each conference face off in sudden-death games. The final team standing in each conference then competes in the big championship game (Super Bowl) scheduled in February.

The Field:
NFL games are played on a 100-yard field, which has an end zone at each end and a goal post. Sold lines are drawn on every five yards of the field and hash marks or small lines are placed at every yard. The line where the playing field and end zone meet is called the "goal line."

The Team Make Up:
Each team is made up of three different playing groups: offense, defense, and special teams, which include the kicking teams.

The Downs:

  • A team's offense, which has the ball, is awarded four downs or plays to advance a minimum of 10 yards.
  • If a team's offense is able to advance at least 10 yards, they have achieved a "first down" and are then given a new set of four downs.
  • If they don't advance 10 yards, the other team will get possession of the ball.

The Scoring:
There are several ways a team can score points:

  • They can score a touchdown by crossing the goal line in the opposition's end zone. A touch down is worth six points.
  • The team that scores a touchdown is automatically given the opportunity to add either one or two additional points to the touchdown. They can attempt to kick a field goal through the opponent's goal post and earn one point. Or they can "go for the extra point" (two points) by running or passing the ball over the opponent's goal line. For extra point attempts, the ball is placed at the two-yard line.
  • Teams can also score three points by kicking a field goal through the opponent's goal post.
  • Lastly, a defense can score two points for their team by tackling an opposing offensive player in that player's own end zone. This is called a "safety."

Get in the game today!
These are just a few of the basics of the game. For more information, visit the National Football League's website at*

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

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