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The game of ‘Football’ is derived from Rugby and Soccer with the first known game played in Toronto, in 1861, and the first rules written in 1876. Internationally known as ‘American Football’, the sport is played in the United States most, but, also Canada, Japan and Europe. Played on a sports field in both indoor and outdoor stadiums, football is America’s most popular team sport, according to polls. Played in the fall and winter, by the NFL, the summer and fall by the CFL and women’s WPFL & NWFA, winter and spring by the AFL, spring and summer by the AF2 and NIFL, Football is a year round sport - entertaining fans throughout North America and elsewhere.

The National Football League - NFL, the Canadian Football League - CFL, the National Football League Europe - NFL Europe, the Women’s Professional Football League - WPFL, the National Women’s Football Association - NWFA, the Arena Football League - AFL, the Arena Football II - AF2 and the National Indoor Football League - NIFL are the football leagues shown on Pro Sports Official Team Sites. All the teams, from each league, are shown including their Logos. Important Organizations’ Logos are displayed, too, to indicate the reach professional football has around the world and to give other destinations for visitors to explore.

The WPFL began play in 1999 when it became the first ever women’s Pro Tackle Football League. The WPFL uses NFL rules and claims to be the first and still the best - not the largest. The WPFL has a 7 game regular season schedule that runs from late July to Late September with two playoff weekends in October to finish with the WPFL Championship in early November. The 15 to 20 teams are divided into 4 divisions in 2 conferences: American and National. Their conference 2nd and 3rd seeds playoff to determine who will play 1st seed - the winners go to the Championship game.

The NWFA was formed in 2000 and their first full season was in 2001 - with 10 teams. An awards event, for player achievements during the season, called the Whammy’s, is held the night before the championship game. The NWFA claims to be the premier tackle football league - for women. The NWFA has an 8 game regular season schedule that runs from mid April to the end of June, with playoffs in July, finishing with the Championship game in early August. The 30 teams are in 3 conferences with two having divisions of 4 teams each. The structure represents a league with expansion plans as the lack of uniformity is expected to fill in.

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Each league and team name are linked to their home pages. Each team Logo is linked the team’s roster, or player list, page. Each league Logo is linked to the league standings page and each Organizations’ Logo is linked to their Home Page. All of the images have captions to explain what they are and where they link. From a team or league web site, the store can be viewed to see football gear and equipment for fans and players. Football caps and jerseys are often worn by fans at Football games. Team ‘banners’ and many other items with team colours are displayed and used to help cheer on the home team. Advertisements, are also shown and, can be a source for just that right item to enhance your enjoyment of Football or your favourite team. There is no cost in linking with an ad or any web site.

From the Football team rosters, the players information and stats can be linked to. This information is part of the team web site and is often very up to date. From the standings page the teams are shown in their conferences and in their divisions - with their current win/loss record. The team names, there, are often linked to their web sites, as well.

Each Football league has a playoff and champion from the season before. There are trophy pictures and championship logos, displayed with the current champions, that link to information and web pages about that Football event. Other Logos, displayed in each section, link to their home pages, too, and are meant to offer other destinations for Football fans to explore - included are the Pro Bowl and Championship Logos linked to their Home Page or articles about them.

The Game of NFL Football Cont'd.

This Description of NFL Football began on the ‘Football Teams Men’ page and concludes on the ‘Football Teams  AFL’ page  - each at the ‘Game of NFL Football’. It is recommended that you start your reading at the beginning.

The ‘Referee’ has ‘Whistled’ the ‘Time Clock’ to start. The Quarterback steps up behind the Centre and calls out the ‘Cadence’; a series of numbers, or phrases, that represent secret plays, as sometimes the Play needs to change when the Defense shifts. The Linemen go into their Stance and must remain Set for about a second. The Quarterback demands the football, usually yelling ‘Hut’, and the Centre passes it back through the legs, to the Quarterback’s hands, then proceeds to impede the charge of the Defensive Linemen by ‘Blocking’ their paths. The Quarterback  can do 1 of about 3 things; ‘Pass’ the Football; ‘Hand Off’ the Football; or ‘Run’ with the Football. A fourth event is ‘Drop’ or ‘Fumble’ the ball: this is a mistake, caused by hurrying a Play or being hit hard by the opponents, and allows the Defense a chance to recover the ball, as it is loose and must be claimed by one side or the other. If the Quarterback is passing the Football, the Offensive Linemen fall back, in an arc around the Quarterback, to give protection and time for an ‘Open’ Receiver to be found. All the Receivers - the Offensive Backs including the End - or,  just a few and possibly only one, run downfield running predetermined routes that the Quarterback is aware of. The Defensive Backs follow and try to keep up to prevent a ‘Pass Completion’, or Tackle the Receiver after the ball is caught. If the Play is a Run, the Quarterback hands the football to a player to the side or behind, while the Offensive Linemen Block the opponents and move them out of the way, in a predetermined spot, to allow the Ball Carrier to run through. Some of the Offensive Backs run in behind the Line to Block Linebackers downfield and possibly get the Ball Carrier to a ‘1st Down’. The Quarterback may even keep the ball after a ’Fake’ - pretending to Hand it Off to another player - and ‘Scramble’ around free, looking for a Receiver or an opening in the confused melee at the Line of Scrimmage. Occasionally, the Quarterback keeps the ball after issuing a ‘Silent Cadence’: where the Centre takes a silent signal to ‘Snap the Football‘. The Quarterback runs through the surprised Defensive Line to gain the necessary short yardage. The Defense is expecting this Play, but, have no control over the exact moment it happens.

The Offense has 4 attempts, called ‘Downs’, to run these plays to gain 10 yards downfield from where they received the Football, or ‘Original Line of Scrimmage‘. This accomplishes a 1st Down and wins another set of 4 Downs. Often more than 10 yards is made and the ‘Chains’, or ‘Yardage Markers’, are moved to measure out a new 1st Down yardage from the new Line of Scrimmage. The football is moved, this way, downfield  into the opponents End Zone for a 6 point ‘Touchdown’ score, or close enough to ‘Kick’ the ball through the Uprights for a 3 point ‘Field Goal’. If the Field Goal misses then ‘Possession’ is turned over to the opponents, who change their players to their Offense, and then try to move the ball and score. If the Offense can’t get the ball to ‘Field Position’ close enough for a Field Goal Attempt, the Football is ‘Punted’ on 4th Down, where the ball is ‘Drop Kicked’, from behind the Offensive Line, and sent downfield to Defensive ‘Punt Receivers’ who are gambling that this will be the Play. A ‘Place Kicker’ is used for the Field Goal, where another player balances the oblong Football upright on it’s point by holding it with 1 finger at the other point. A Place Kicker must time the pace with the Snap. The other player is the ‘Holder’ and calls out the Cadence for the Centre to Snap the Ball, or throw it back through the legs. The Punter, however, calls out the Cadence and ‘Receives the Toss’ from the Centre in this way. The Defense, also, puts ‘Kick Receivers’ downfield on a Field Goal Attempt in case the ‘Kick’ is short - if the Football  is wide it goes ‘Out of Bounds’ and the Play is ‘Dead’ causing a ‘Change of Possession’.

There are special teams in football; ‘Kick Off’ teams, ‘Punting’ teams, ‘Kick Off Return’ teams, ‘Punt Return’ teams, ‘Short Yardage’ teams - both Defense and Offense, and ‘Goal Line’ teams; any of which can be ‘Faked’. A ‘fake Punt has the Punter, or Kicker, throw the ball instead, or even run with it to gain the necessary yardage. A ‘Short Kick Off‘, or ‘On Side Kick’ has the Place Kicker kick the football 10 yards to where the other Offensive players can then grab it - ‘Recovering’ the ball. Normally, a ‘Kick Off’ is either as deep as it can be made or angled short to not bounce, or even land, in the end zone. This would cause a ‘Touchback’ where the receiving team gets a free pass to their 20 yard line to begin ‘Scrimmage‘. The ‘Receiving’ team must catch or chase down a ‘Kick’ and then try to run ‘Up Field’ with it. If they touch the ball, but not retain it, the ‘Kicking’ team can Recover the ball and then start Scrimmage from there. This is why the Receiving team often signals for a ‘Fair Catch’ - by waving an arm - to get a free chance to catch the Football with no Return: run Up Field to gain yardage. Scrimmage is from where the ball is caught - if the free catch is dropped it is a ‘Live Ball’ allowing the ’Kicking Team’ to Recover it, too.

When the Football is thrown and not caught it is a ‘Dead Ball‘: stopping the ’Time Clock’. If it is caught by the opponents it is a ’Turn Over’, or ’Interception’, and the Recovering team starts Scrimmage. A ball ’Fumbled’ loose, rolling Out of Bounds, belongs to the team who controlled it last. A ’Pass Receiver’ must land two feet, or steps, ’Inbounds’ after a ’Reception’. Only one step Inbounds is ruled ’No Catch’ - if the Receiver is pushed Out of Bounds the Official may rule a ’Catch’, anyway. A player with the ball, tackled in the End Zone, gives up 2 points called a ’Safety’, to the opponents. When a Defense recovers a Fumble, or makes an Interception, they can run with the Football: to gain yardage for their Offense, or score a Touchdown.

There are a lot of ‘Penalties’ in Football. The Officials throw a golden ‘Flag’ when they spot an ‘Infraction’. After the Play, the Penalty is discussed with the offended team’s ‘Captains’. A Penalty that is ‘Enforced’, or ‘Accepted’, causes a repeating of that ‘Down’ and it can be very costly. If the Down is 2nd and 7 yards, for a 1st Down, a Penalty of  5 yards could make it 2nd and 2 yards. However, if it is against the Offense it would be 2nd and 12. This is a huge difference for the Defense. If the Offense is Penalized while the Play went for a Touchdown, the score is not counted and the Line of Scrimmage moved back the Penalized amount. The offended team can ‘Refuse’ the Penalty, causing the next Down to be played. The Offense may have lost 4 yards on the Play, and Penalized 10 yards, but, the Defense Refuses the Penalty as it may now be 4th Down and at least 4 yards - causing a Punt situation. The purpose is not to Penalize the team Infracted upon. Individual Penalties range from 5 to 15 yards and accumulate when there are more. The Offensive Line is not to move, once Set, and can draw a Defender over the Line making ‘Contact’: known as ‘Illegal Procedure‘. The Play is whistled and yardage charged against the Offense. If there is no movement, by the Offensive Linemen, the Flag is thrown and the Play continues requiring a decision from the Offensive Captains - on the Defence’s ‘Offside‘ - after the Play. A successful Down results in Refusing the Penalty, where a poor gain would result in ‘Accepting’ the Penalty yardage. The teams’ Captains discuss the Infractions with the Referee. Illegal plays, like grabbing an opponent’s ‘Face Mask’ and hitting the Quarterback after the Football has been sent on, are common 15 yard Penalties, as is roughing the Receiver: the Receiver is not to be bumped or hit away from the Line. However, if the ball is thrown to this player and the Defender physically impedes the Receiver catching the ball, then it is ‘Pass Interference’ - a costly mistake. The ball is placed where the Infraction occurred for the next Down. This almost always provides enough yards for a 1st Down. Many Penalties cause a 1st Down and some have an ‘Automatic 1st Down’ associated with them (Personal Fouls). Pass Interference in the End Zone is placed at the 1 yard Line. Another common Penalty is the ’Block in the Back’, or ‘Clipping‘: while preventing tacklers from contacting the Ball Carrier a Blocker might push, or hit, a tackler from behind - where it is not seen coming - and an injury could result, so a 15 yard Penalty is assessed. A 15 yard Penalty is awarded for contacting a Kick Receiver who has signalled a Fair Catch. Fighting is 15 yards and an immediate ejection from the game. A Kicker being hit after the Football is away is 15 yards and is strictly enforced. When the Offense has more then 1 back moving, while the Offensive Line is Set, it is ‘Illegal Procedure’ and is 10 yards, as is 12 players on the field.

The Football players wears Football equipment for protection and to protect the other players. All players must be wearing the same equipment during a game. The most important piece of equipment is the ‘Helmet’. It is hard, durable plastic with padding inside, showing an emblem of the team on each side. The ‘Face Mask’ is a cage over the opening for the player’s face and is, also, very strong and durable. Not all players have the same Face Mask configuration and may not be protected like a Lineman, who has the most protection. The Quarterbacks and Kickers need to see downfield more than the Linemen and Backs, so, they have less vision blocking Face Masks, but, they’re not as protected. The Helmet is held on with straps that reach out to the ‘Chin Guard’ - clamping it down onto the player’s head. If the straps do not release, in certain situations, a further injury could result, so, the Chin Straps let go sometimes. Next important are the ‘Shoulder Pads’. These are padded, durable, thick, moulded plastic pieces that fit on like a vest - reaching down a players chest and back - taking all of the blows and punishment. They form around the shoulders turning down the arms, but don‘t cover the arms. Next to the Helmet, Shoulder Pads most allow Football players to play Football. The ‘Football Pants’ are knee length and have pads, in pockets, put into them. There are Knee Pads, Thigh Pads and Hip Pads. The Football players wear a Jock Strap and cup to protect the groin, but, all of the rest of the impact absorption must come from their own musculature, flesh and bone. However, there are Shoes; leather with plastic or rubber soles that have increased traction mounted on them. There are ‘Football Shoes’ for grass and other kinds for different types of artificial turf like carpet. The player wears Socks that often meet the pants - at the knee - and a team Jersey, or sweater, having  the player’s number on front and back - and sometimes the players name across the back at the shoulders - that fits over the Shoulder Pads and tucks in at the waist. The jersey is never long sleeved.

This Description of ‘NFL Football’ began on the ‘Football Teams Men’ page and concludes on the ‘Football Teams AFL’ page. It is recommended that you begin your reading at the beginning - at the ‘Game of NFL Football’.

Pro Sports Official Team Sites Football Pages can link you with all the action, right to the Football source; the Professional Teams and Leagues. Their football news pages will keep you up to date.
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This page was last updated: December 5, 2007
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