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American Gridiron Football - Essay Example

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Summary
Gridiron football is essentially the same as American football and Canadian football, both of which originated from the rugby football. (Gridiron Football) The sport has been named, or rather nicknamed Gridiron Football because of the resemblance of the paints of the football field to a gridiron…
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American Gridiron Football
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Download file to see previous pages Hence, the total distance between the end zones is 100 yards. (Football Rules and Gameplay)
Usually, each team has distinct offensive and defensive units. A team is said to be on offense when it has the ball in its possession, whereas, it is said to be on defense when the ball is with the opposite team. (Football Rules and Gameplay)
Before discussing the anatomy of the play from either offensive or defensive point, it would be helpful to detail the different positions that players in each team can play on and the nature of the field. As already stated above, the total length of the football field is 120 yards while in width it is 53.3 yards long. The boundary lines along the length of the field are called sidelines while those along its width are called endlines. Near each end of the field is a goal line. The end zone, mentioned above, extends 10yards beyond this goal line on each side of the field. (American Football)
Each team has 11 players on the field at a time, with substitutions allowed during the break between plays. A team can be divided into three units based on the nature of roles performed. These are: the offense, the defense and the special teams. A game begins with a coin toss. The team winning the toss makes one of three choices: 1) Kick off itself, or to receive the kickoff from the other team. 2) Choose which goal to defend. 3) Defer the first choice option to the second game. If the team that wins the toss decides to kick first or to receive the kick, the other team chooses its goal to defend or vice versa.
Offense
Anatomy of a Play
Once the toss has been won and the teams have made their choices, the team that decides to kick first takes up the offensive role as it is in possession of the ball. Typically, all the players of a team round up to communicate or discuss a play i.e. coordinated movements and actions, to be followed; this rounding up of team players is called a huddle.
Each half begins with a kickoff. Apart from the start of the half, the play begins at the line of scrimmage with a snap; the line of scrimmage is the position on the field where the play begins and where the offensive and defensive players line up against each other. Snap is the name given to the act of passing the ball between the legs to a teammate, usually the quarterback standing ready somewhere behind the Center. With this snap, performed by the offensive player, playing at the Center position, the game formally begins.
Once the game begins, the offense has four attempts to advance the ball 10 yards towards the end zone of the defense team, or in other words, towards its goalpost. These attempts are called downs. When the offense has advanced the ball by the first 10 yards, it gets a first down. After gaining the first down, the team has another set of four downs to gain yet another 10 yards or to score. If however, the offense fails to advance the ball by 10 yards even after 4 downs, the other team gets possession of the ball at the spot of the football, hence beginning with their first down. (American Football)
In order to get the downs, the ball can be advanced in one of two ways: By rushing, that means running with the ball, or by a forward pass. While rushing, one ball-carrier can hand the ball to another player, this act is known as a handoff, or throw backwards to another player. This throwing the ball backward is known as a backward pass or a lateral.
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