ESPN and ESPN 2 are once again available as part of the DSTV viewing package. I don’t know about you, but for me, it’s been a frustrating seven years with no NFL or College Football on our screens. But the new NFL season is upon us, and South Africans will be able to watch. And I’m way too excited.
So I thought I’d go over some basics of the NFL for all the novices out there. The competition format, rules, teams etc. And maybe, you’ll give the sport a watch sometime.
There are 32 teams in the NFL. The league consists of two conferences, each comprised of sixteen teams: The National Football Conference(NFC), and the American Football Conference(AFC). Each Conference is divided into four divisions consisting of four teams, based on geography.
New York Giants
Washington Football Team (formerly Redskins, awaiting a new name)
Green Bay Packers
New Orleans Saints
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Los Angeles Rams
San Francisco 49ers
New England Patriots
New York Jets
Kansas City Chiefs
Las Vegas Raiders
Los Angeles Chargers
Each team plays a total of sixteen matches during the regular season, including home and away fixtures against their divisional rivals. Division winners automatically progress to the playoffs. From the remaining teams, the three with the best overall record in each conference join the division winners in the playoffs.
Playoff contenders are restricted to their conference. The winners of the NFC and AFC face each other in the ultimate showdown, the SuperBowl.
Most SuperBowls: Pittsburgh Steelers & New England Patriots (6)
Most NFC Championships: Dallas Cowboys (8)
Most AFC Championships: New England Patriots (11)
Current SuperBowl Champions: Kansas City Chiefs
Football matches take place on a field that is 120 yards in length(including the end zones), and 53 yards in width.
Each team is allowed a maximum of eleven players on the field of play.
A football match has a total playing time of 60 minutes. Each match is divided into two halves of 30 minutes, and each half is further divided into quarters that last 15 minutes.
A team can advance a football by running, passing, or kicking.
A team has four plays(downs) to advance a ball ten yards. If they are able to break the ten-yard barrier, they will receive a fresh set of downs. Failure to advance ten yards results in a turnover of possession to the opposition.
During a single play, once the ball has been advanced beyond the line of scrimmage, a forward pass becomes prohibited.
Turnovers occur from kicks, fumbles, and interceptions.
Touchdown = 6
Conversion = 1
2-point conversion (attempting a touchdown instead of a kick after a touchdown) = 2
Field Goal = 3
Safety (when the ball carrier is tackled in own end zone) = 2
Put pressure on the Quarterback before he can make a play.
Stop running plays.
Judged by the number of tackles and sacks made.
Normally the biggest and slowest players on defence, but still possess explosive speed off the mark.
Assist the defensive linemen in stopping running plays.
Assist the defensive backs in stopping passing plays.
Pressure the Quarterback.
The hybrid between defensive linemen and defensive backs.
The Quarterbacks of the defence. Receive instructions from the Defensive Coordinator.
Cover the Wide Receivers and Tight Ends.
Stop passing plays.
Last line of defence.
Judged by interceptions and pass interruptions.
Fastest players on defence.
Need good hands to catch possible interceptions.
Protect the Quarterback.
Create openings for running plays.
The biggest and strongest on both sides of the ball. But also the slowest.
Protect the Quarterback
Block for Wide Receivers.
The hybrid between Offensive Linemen and Wide Receivers.
Incredibly fast for their size.
Run the ball, usually through a lot of traffic.
Protect the Quarterback on passing plays.
Judged by yardage gained and touchdowns.
Stocky, strong runners.
Shorter than Wide Receivers and Tight Ends.
Block for other Receivers and Tight Ends.
Judged by receptions and touchdowns.
Tall and fast.
Phenomenal handling skills
Lead the offence. Call the plays.
Advance the teams position by either passing or running the ball.
Receives instructions from the offensive coordinator or the head coach.
Throwing the ball with pinpoint accuracy.
Calm under pressure.
Reading the defence.
Leave your comments/questions below.
If you were never into NFL below be sure to get into it this weekend when the season starts. You’ll love it!
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