Here at our Miami English School, teachers and/or guests are invited to give an academic-style lecture on cultural interests outside of class. Last week, two of our EC Miami teachers, Mark and Eric, spoke with two groups of students about Football. Students wrote about the lecture, and a winner was chosen from each group.
The winner for the High-Intermediate/Advanced group was Myriam Hocquel from France:
American Football is different than soccer. The difference begins with the field. A football field is longer than a soccer one, but on the contrary a soccer field is wider. The second big change is “the rules.” Inspired by Rugby, football was created by Walter Camp in 1879. It mostly consists of controlling the distance and the clock.
In the USA, the NFL (Football’s league) consists of 32 professional teams. A team is divided in two: the offense (team which has the ball), the defense (without the ball). Defense and offense don’t play at the same time.
The offense team must progress on the field until the endzone. The defense must top them and tackled the offense’s players in the aim of preventing them from scoring.
An entire football team is composed of 53 players. During the game there are 11 on offense, and 11 on defense.
So what are the principal rules? The game begins with four downs for the offense to move the ball ten yards. It can do this by using running plays or passing plays. If the ten yards are reached, the team has four more downs. If it is unable to do this, it can on the fourth down punt the ball the farthest away so the other team should begin its four downs with more distance to reach the endzone.
By reaching the endzone, a team obtains six points and can get a supplementary point by kicking the ball between the two yellow bars. At this moment, the team changes from offense to defense. One player is very important in the game: the quarterback, because he makes a lot of decisions on the field. So that’s the work of the offense, what’s going on for the defense? It’s simple, it must stop the other team’s progress on the field, by taking down the owner of the ball.
A game is divided into four quarters of 15 minutes. The clock stops when the ball is off of the field, or a pass is incomplete.
Another person is also important in a football game – the referee. But he can be called “the zebra” too. He can give penalties to a team because of many reasons: false start, roughing the passer, pass interference. A penalty is recognized by the supporters and players when the referee throws the yellow flag. A penalty consists, most of the time, of going back and losing the progression done.
To conclude, the best way to understand the rules of football is first of all, attend the lecture of Mark, and go watch a game directly at the stadium or on TV.