Pro Sports Official Team Sites Football Men - Page
The team sport 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 NFL began as the APFA - American Professional Football Association - in 1920 and changed to the National Football League in 1922. It expanded with the AAFC - All American Football Conference - in 1950. In 1960, the AFL - American Football League - began Play. It was not the first league to be called this, but, the important one to the NFL. The two leagues merged into one, in 1970, with the AFL-NFL World Championship game - known as the ’Super Bowl’ - played in 1967, and every year after. The Vince Lombardi Trophy is the NFL’s ultimate prize. The NFL plays a 16 game regular season from the beginning of September to the end of December, with a month long playoff schedule in January, finishing with the ‘Super Bowl’ Championship at the end of January/early February. After this game there is the ALL-Star ‘Pro Bowl’ in Hawaii and the season is done for the year. Each of the 32 teams play one game a week - on Sundays with 1 game on Monday Night - with about 2 one week off breaks during the schedule. The league is divided into two conferences: the former two leagues that have merged. Each conference has 4 divisions of 4 teams each. The division winners and two next best records - wild card teams - make the playoffs, as, the two best records in each conference get a pass into the second round. The NFL keeps a record of Wins and Losses for each team - creating a ‘Winning Percentage’. Ties, although rare, as these games have 15 minute ‘Sudden Death’ overtime periods, are ignored by the ‘Win-Loss record‘.
In 1909, Lord Earl Grey, the Governor General of Canada, donated a trophy to be awarded for the Rugby Football Championship of Canada. Many of today’s teams began in the Canadian Rugby Union in the late 1800’s, enduring format and rule changes that became Canadian Football: Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa and Montreal with some teams disappearing and returning again. In 1956, the separate Canadian Football Council formed from the CRU, and was renamed the Canadian Football League in 1958: retaining the Grey Cup from the Canadian Rugby Union. In 1960, the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union changed it’s name to the Eastern Football Conference. In 1961, the Western Interprovincial Football Union changed it’s name to the Western Football Conference. Later these conferences were changed to Divisions. The Grey Cup was turned over to the CFL in 1966 and the current schedule was adopted in 1986. Over the years the league has expanded and shrunk including teams from the United States - the Grey Cup has been won by a non-Canadian team - now having returned to it’s common and original self. The CFL has an 18 game regular season that runs from the beginning of June to the end of October with the playoff schedule in November: finishing with the ‘Grey Cup’ Championship near the end of the month. The 8 to 9 teams are divided into East and West divisions using 2 points for a win to create their season record. The recent addition of an ‘Overtime Scrimmage’ now makes ties rare, but, still receive 1 point to each team. The ‘Division’ winners wait for the victor from the runner-up and wild card matches to play for the division title. The 2 ‘Wild Card’ teams can come from both or either division. The division title winners vie for the ‘Grey Cup’, encompassing all of Canada in a weekend of football, parades and social events. For rule differences, see 'The Canadian Game' at the bottom of this page.
The NFL Europe began in 1991 as the World League and changed to the NFL Europe for the 1997 season. Many players move back and forth from the NFL to the NFL Europe as the two leagues are affiliated. The World League had teams in North America and all over Europe, but, condensed to 6 teams for NFL Europe. They have a 10 game regular season schedule from mid March to mid May with the World Bowl Championship at the end of May. The 6 teams send the two best season record holders to the finals to vie for the World Bowl Title.
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.
NFL Football is played on a ‘Playing Field‘; 100 yards long by 50 yards wide with two ‘End Zones’ 10 yards deep, creating a ‘Football Field’ 120 yards in length. The field is grass, or artificial turf like carpet that is green, with markings on it; the goal lines are thick white lines at each end of the playing field; from there, every 5 yards a white line, running the full width of the field, is put with the ‘Yardage’ number marked every 10 yards , e.g. 10, 20, 30, etc.; the centre field line is 50 and is often thicker or a different colour; the 20 yard lines are important, too, and can be thicker or a different colour; and the sidelines and end lines of the end zones (Dead Lines) are very thick white lines (6 feet) that run around the outside of the football field. The yardage markings run from 10 to 50 on each side of centre and ‘Hash Marks’ - each yard marked in white by a small line - running the full length of the playing field up each sideline and two rows, one either side of the centre of the field. These centre field hash marks are where the official takes the ball and places it after each play. At each end of the football field, over the end lines, are the ‘Uprights’: 2 poles mounted on a single pole stand that are 18 feet 6 inches apart from a cross bar 10 feet off of the ground reaching 40 feet up into the air. They have tassels on the top: used as wind indicators. The uprights are used to kick the ‘Football’ through for a 3 point ‘Field Goal’ or a 1 point ‘Convert’ after a ‘Touchdown’. The game is officiated by ‘Officials’; the ‘Referee’ in the ‘Offensive’ ‘backfield’; the ‘Umpire’ in the ‘Defensive’ ‘Zone’; the ‘Head Linesman’ who watches the ‘Line of Scrimmage’ from the yardage markers side and controls the Yardsmen and Downsman; the ‘Line Judge’ who straddles the Line of Scrimmage on the opposite side of the field from the Linesman; the ‘Field Judge’ is on the same side as the Line Judge, but, 20 yards deep; the ’Side Judge’ is on the same side as the Linesman, but 20 yards deep; and the ‘Back Judge’ behind the Umpire, who stands 25 yards deep and favours the Tight End side of the field. ‘Yardsmen’ hold pickets - marker poles with orange identifying banners - on the Sidelines, with a 10 yard length of chain in between them. They are positioned: one at the Original Line of Scrimmage and the other 10 yards downfield at the 1st Down yardage. The Downsman has a picket positioned at the current Line of Scrimmage without the Down number indicated on top. A second Downsman may be located on the opposite sideline, also, marking the current Line of Scrimmage, but is not Official. The Officials determine a players ‘Eligibility’, to be downfield or Receive the Football, by the number on the front and back of their Jersey. Each position must have a player wearing a number within a certain range: it allows the Officials to make sense out of the bedlam during a Play. The Quarterbacks and Kickers wear numbers between 1 and 19, the Running Backs - Full and Half - wear numbers between 20 and 49, the Centres and Linebackers wear from 50 to 59, the Offensive and Defensive Lineman wear from 60 to 79 with the Linebackers and Defensive Lineman, also, wearing numbers from 90 to 99, and lastly, the Tight Ends wear numbers between 80 and 89, as do the Receivers who also wear numbers between 10 and 19, too. When an Official sees a number in the wrong place for the current play, the Flag is thrown and the team penalized.
The objective in American Football is to outscore your opponent by; taking the ‘Football’ - an oblong ball with laces on one side, solid brown: no white stripes, made of 4 leather panels sewn together, 11 inches long and 21 inches around in girth - over the ‘Goal Line’ to score a 6 point ‘Touchdown’; ‘Place Kicking’ the ball through the uprights from the field, to score 3 points, or just in front of the Goal Line, after a touchdown, to score 1 point; and tackling the opponent’s ball carrier in their end zone to score 2 points - known as a Safety. There are, also, two points awarded for ‘Running the Ball‘ or ‘Completing a Pass‘ into the end zone - after a touchdown - instead of 1 point for Kicking. Most of the play is from the ‘Line of Scrimmage’, where the 11 players, on each side, face each other with the football, on the ground, in between - in the hand of the ‘Centre’. There are two more ‘Linemen’ to each of the Centre’s left and right, just back of the ball: ’Guards’ and ‘Tackles‘. The Linemen are in a three point ‘Stance’: 2 feet and 1 hand (on knuckles) touching the ground. They are usually the largest players on the team and try to prevent the opponents from getting through them to the ‘Ball Carriers‘. The ‘End’ can be on either end of the ‘Line’ or just back a bit of distance being distinguish from the Linemen, to be allowed to receive the football. Linemen may not receive the football directly, or travel forward of the Line of Scrimmage before a pass is thrown. Behind the Centre is the dominating figure - the ‘Quarterback’ - who receives the ball, handed by the Centre, to start a play. The Quarterback initiates the play to the Ball Carriers and the ‘Receivers’ - each of which can do either - by; handing off the ball to the side or behind and pitching the ball to the side or behind. The Quarterback can even run with the ball left, right back or forward downfield, but, to ‘Throw’ the football downfield the line of scrimmage must not be crossed. There are two ‘Wide Receivers’, out the side and back of the Line, and two rushing ‘Running Backs’: Halfbacks or Fullbacks, known as ‘Ball Carriers’ behind the Quarterback: left and right, or one behind the other. Before the Quarterback can receive the ball, all of the ‘Offense’ must be ‘Set’ motionless for about a second - except for 1 Back that can move at a time.
Across the Line, on the other side from the Centre with the ball, is the ‘Defense’. Their formation is not so regulated: they, too, must stay on their own side of the Line of Scrimmage, before the ball is ‘Snapped’, but, they change their positions for what they ‘Read’ of the Offense - their opponents. Often, a Defensive configuration has 4 Defensive Linemen, 3 ‘Linebackers’, 2 ‘Corner Backs’ and 2 ‘Safeties’. The ’Corner Backs’ and Safeties - 4 Backs - move about staying with the Offensive player they are each assigned to ‘Cover’, or for where ever they believe the ‘Play’ will come into their assigned ‘Zone of Coverage‘. The Defensive Linemen’s tasks are; to get through the Offensive Line to bring down, or ‘Tackle’, the ‘Ball Carrier’; plug up holes in the Line to force the Ball Carrier into changing the running pattern; make holes in the Offensive Line to allow ‘Linebackers’ to run through into the Offense; and deflect the Football when it’s ‘Thrown’ over them. Linebackers Read, or see and observe, the Play as it happens and make decisions and judgements based on the actions of the Offense. If the Offensive Linemen are trying to make a hole in the Defensive Line or falling back to ‘Pass Block’, the Linebacker must ‘See’ this and react. At best it can only be a guess, but, often the Linebacker rushes to the spot where the Ball Carrier will be and makes the Tackle - ending the Play with little or no gain in yardage by the Offense. The Backs stay with opponents, running downfield to break up a pass to them, or run up to head off a Ball Carrier ‘Rushing’ through the Line. If the opponents catch a passed ball the Backs must chase them down and Tackle them to end the Play. Otherwise, the Offense will run all the way to the End Zone and score. The two Corner Backs are very fast, agile and big enough to be good at Tackling. They often bring down much smaller Receivers by slamming into them - knocking them off their feet. The Defensive Safeties are possibly the smallest players on the team, but, are extremely fast: fast enough to catch up with Receivers and slow them down or even make the Tackle alone. The Safety is often seen coming out of nowhere to Tackle an opponent that is seemingly all alone and about to score.
The CFL is played a little bit differently than the NFL rules, which all of the other Football leagues, on Pro Sports Official Team Sites, use as their basic format. It is recommended that the “Game of NFL Football” , which starts above, be read first to it’s completion before comparing the NFL to these CFL changes. Some of the differences are huge! The CFL Football Field is 150 yards long - Dead Line to Dead Line - and 65 yards wide with 20 yard End Zones. The Playing Field is 110 yards long with markings to 55 at Centre Field. The Field Goal Uprights are centred over the Goal Line on a single pole stand no more than 6 feet 3 inches into the End Zone. The centre Hash Marks are 24 yards in from the Sidelines. A CFL Football is 11 inches long, about 21 inches around it’s girth and has 1 inch wide white stripes painted 3 inches from each end of the ball. The Offense has 3 Downs to make 10 yards. The Play Clock starts at 20 seconds. The Time Clock stops after each Play, while the Officials replace and locate the Football to the Hash Marks, then Play is whistled back in again allowing the Time Clock and Play Clock to start. The Officials’ Flags are Orange. There is not a Fair Catch rule in the CFL: Tacklers must give way 5 yards, in a radius, to the ball until it is touched by the Receiving team on all Kick Offs, Field Goals and Punts, or a 5 yard ‘No Yards’ penalty is assessed - 15 yards for contact. Each team fields 12 players each: 2 Ends on Offense, 1 Safety, two Defensive Halfbacks and two Cornerbacks on Defense. Receivers need only 1 foot, or step, in bounds. A Kick Receiver taking a knee, in the End Zone, concedes 1 point as does a team allowing the Kicked ball to bounce in bounds and then go out of bounds in their End Zone. Interceptions in the End Zone get a free pass to the 10 yard line. After a Field Goal, the Receiving team may elect to start Scrimmage from their own 35 yard line instead of Receiving a Kick Off. Kick Offs are from the 35 yard line. All Offensive Backs can be in motion at the Snap of the Ball. The 7 Officials are; the Referee - behind the Offense; the Umpire - behind the Defensive Line; the Back Judge and Side Judge - watch the Sidelines from downfield; the Field Judge who lines up in the centre, downfield of the Umpire; the Head Linesman - controls the Yardsmen and watches the Line of Scrimmage from that side; and the Line Judge - who watches the Line of Scrimmage from the opposite side of the field. Halftime is exactly 14 minutes and a team can be penalized if not ready for the Kick Off. The halftime warning is at 3 minutes left without a Time Out on the field. There is only 1 time out per team per half - 30 seconds. Eligible Receivers have numbers 0 to 39 and 70 to 99, while Linemen have numbers 40 to 69. Lastly, the CFL has an Import rule: a team can have no more than 17 players that have been trained outside of Canada, before the age of 17 years. Otherwise the Canadian Game is played the same way as NFL Football. The different configurations and field size make for an interesting and exciting game.
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.