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, women’s WPFL and 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 AFL has just completed it’s 20th season and began play in 1987. The AFL has a Minor support league called the AF2 and is also displayed on Pro Sports Official Team Sites. Arena Football has proven to be a high scoring game with a lot of action. The AFL has a 16 game regular season schedule from the end of January to the end of May with the playoffs at the end of May/early June finishing with the Arena Bowl in mid June. Their 18 to 19 teams - divided into two conferences and 4 divisions of 4 or 5 teams each - amass a win/loss record for a winning percentage. Two division winners and two wild card teams from each conference vie for the Conference Championships: the winners advancing to the Arena Bowl.
The AF2 is the Minor League affiliate of the AFL and exchange players regularly. The Arena Football II has the same rules as the Arena Football League as well as the basic NFL format to guide play. The AF2 has a 16 game regular season schedule from the end of March to the end of July with the playoffs throughout August finishing with the Arena Cup Championship at the end of the month. Their 24-26 teams are in two conferences and 4 divisions with about 6 teams each - creating a win/loss winning percentage.
The NIFL started in 2000 when the IPFL and the IFL combined with 8 new teams - the 1st season was in 2001. The NIFL is affiliated with the NFL - not the arena leagues. Recently, the NIFL merged with the Intense Football League to create it’s current team lists, however, the NIFL is expanding for 2007. The 24 to 30 teams are in two conferences and 4 divisions with 6 or more teams each. The NIFL has a 14 game regular season schedule from about mid March to the beginning of July and the playoffs all July finishing with the Indoor Bowl at the end of the month.
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 Concluded.
This Description of NFL Football began on the ‘Football Teams Men’ page and Continued onto the ‘Football Teams Women’ page - concluding here. It is recommended that you start your reading at the beginning - each at the Game of Football.
The game starts with a meeting between Captains and Officials at Centre Field. Once determining who will Kick, who will Receive and from which end each team will start, the two teams take to their designated ends with the appropriate Kicking or Receiving teams. The Football is given to the Place Kicker and stood up on it’s end, on a rubber ‘Tee’. The Tee is in place of the Holder - who is still required in windy conditions. Each team has 11 players, spread out across the field, ready for whatever the ball may do. The Receiving team wants to catch the Football cleanly and then set up a Blocking Pattern that lets the Receiver get as far Up Field as possible: to score, even. The Kick Off team wants to get the Football high and deep allowing the Tacklers time to get downfield to hem the Ball Carrier in and stop the advance: Recover a loose, Live Ball, even. The Referee whistles ‘Time In’ and the Kicking team runs forward toward the Line, across the width of the field, where the ball is Teed up on. The Kicker Kicks the Football long and high while the Blockers form a pattern for the Receiver to run behind. The Football is caught and the Receiver heads Up Field, getting some Blocking, while moving toward the Sidelines. Where the Ball was caught, an Official tosses out a blue marker to identify the spot to measure yardage from. The Blockers impede the advancing Tacklers, but, they break through and Tackle the Receiver after 12 yards gained: both teams change their players, on the field, to an Offense and a Defense. The Offense has 4 Downs to move the Chains.
After the Tackle, on the Kick Off Receiver, the Officials place the ball on the Hash Marks where it was seen to be the furthest progress forward - sometimes the Tacklers drag the Ball Carrier back. The play is whistled in and the 40 second Play Clock begins: the Snap of the Ball continues the Time Clock - it first started when the Kick Receiver touched the Live Ball - counting down a 15:00 minute quarter: Two quarters per half, two halves per game. Clock manipulation is very important in the game of Football. It is always straight, or continuous time, but certain events stop the Time Clock. When the Clock is stopped it does not start again until the Snap of the Ball. After a ‘Live Ball’ Play, the Officials will collect the ball, replace and locate it at the Hash Marks while the Clock keeps counting down and the Play Clock starts from 40. When an event occurs to ‘Stop the Clock’ it does not count down again until the ball is put into motion. These events are; Play ending Out of Bounds; incomplete Pass; a scoring Play; a Penalty; or a team calling a ‘Time Out’. Each team is allotted three 1 minute Time Outs per half, and use them to Stop the Clock on purpose - to discuss something with the Coach, or to stop something seen to be about to happen: like a Play Clock violation or an unexpected opponent configuration. The Play Clock is separate, but, runs with, the Time Clock. The Offense is allotted 40 seconds, from when the Official whistles in Play, to Snap the Ball and start the Down. This 40 seconds is counted down on a Play Clock that is reset to 40 after each Play. The Centre can Snap the Ball anytime during these 40 seconds. The Quarter can not end on a Penalty, so, if there is a Flag thrown as the Time Clock runs to 0:00, another Down must take place to finish the Quarter - if the Penalty is accepted. If there is less than 40 seconds left in a Quarter, at the end of a Play, the Offense has the option of not proceeding with the Down, as, the Time Clock will reach 0:00 before the Play Clock runs out.
However, the end of each half is a little different! There is a ‘2 Minute Warning’, where the Officials warn each bench that there is only 2 minutes left in the half - or the game. This warning occurs as soon as the Play is stopped after the Time Clock reaches past 2:00 minutes remaining. The Time Clock stops and there is a Time Out on the field. If it ticks down while the Play Clock is still running, the Time Out occurs with the warning issued, while the Play Clock is reset to 40 seconds for the same Down, once Time is Whistled in again. Any privileges a Coach has, to ‘Challenge a Call’ made by the Officials, is now revoked and all questionable calls are viewed by Game Officials - to produce the positive outcome. This is a time when the loosing team stalls and drags out the Time Clock to get as many Downs in as possible trying to Tie the game, or come from behind and win. This is a time when the winning team tries to run time off of the Time Clock as quick as possible - using up all of it’s 40 seconds on the Play Clock - wasting Time and keeping the Football on the ground, and In Bounds, to let the Time Clock run and finish the game quickly.
Many teams are known as a passing team, or a rushing team, or a high scoring team, or a great Defensive team as they compete to put together a ‘Roster’ of players with as much Football talent as can be found. Each team has all their own tactics and routines, guided by the talent in the players that have been assembled, that determine the style of Play the team has. The players’ health and ages are critical in determining what Win - Loss Record the team will achieve over the course of a season.
After the Kick Off Return, the Offense and Defense comes out onto the field. They each go into a ‘Huddle’; a meeting of players from each team, on the field, to agree on what to do. The Defense Captains indicate Defensive configurations for the Defenders to arrange themselves into. For the Offense, the Quarterback calls the Plays to be implemented explaining any variations. The ‘Audibles’ are outlined here, too. Audibles are vocal signals, in the Cadence, that announce changes to the Play called for in the Huddle. The changes are due to what the Quarterback sees in the Defensive positioning, as, he steps up behind the Centre. Often the Cadence is just for timing and the Play goes ahead as it was called, in the Huddle. The Defense Huddles right with the ball on their side of the Line of Scrimmage. The Offense Huddles in the Backfield , away from the ball and Defense, so the opponents don’t overhear the Play being called. Remember, the Defense can shift their configuration: the Offense must stay Set.
The Offense ‘Breaks’ their Huddle and ‘Lines up on the Ball‘. The Backs move about shifting their positions and Stances. Quickly the Offense is Set and has, maybe, 1 Back in motion: moving forward toward the Line, or across the backfield intimidating the Defenders to follow - it is all about fooling the Defense as to what Play is going to take place. The Football is Snapped and the Play begins with the Quarterback falling back with the ball. The Linemen, from both sides, clash and push each other trying to carry out their ‘Tasks’. The Quarterback may turn and Hand Off the ball to a Fullback who tries to run with it, through the Line, downfield. The Quarterback may only pretend to Hand Off the Ball; concealing it; veering off to one side; and then throwing the Football downfield to a Receiver running a pattern: while the Play has fooled the Defenders into Tackling the Fullback. Occasionally, the Quarterback does not get the protection, or time needed, and must cover up with the ball - ‘Sacked’ - being Tackled by the Defense that has overrun the Offensive Linemen. Very often, this occurs on a ‘Defensive Blitz’: the Linebackers, after the Snap, immediately rush through the line of Blockers - who are tied up with the Defensive Linemen - and overwhelm the Quarterback causing; a quick errant Pass; a Fumble; or a Scramble in the Backfield, with a Tackle, for a larger loss of yards. The Offense can, sometimes, have an outlet player; an End or Fullback quickly running to shallow downfield, or out to the side of the Backfield, and take an emergency Pass. In some instances, the Offense draws the Defenders into this rush to then Throw the Football over them to a Receiver just downfield. This Play is called a ‘Screen’. All the Football Plays depend on surprise and deception as both teams have Offensive and Defensive strategies (and Coaches).
Often a team sets up to Pass the Football; the Quarterback takes the Snap and steps back into the protective arc of the ’Pass Blocking Linemen’ - called the ’Pocket’; the Fullbacks are to either side in their Pass Blocking role; the End runs a short pattern to receive an ’Outlet Pass’ - in case of a Blitz - or a short gain if passed to; the Wide Receivers, run downfield, as, one starts slow and then bursts into high gear running down 20 yards before cutting across the middle - appearing to be the Receiver, while the other starts in a sprint and just keeps going straight down the Sidelines; the Quarterback waits for the sprinting Wide Receiver to reach downfield and then throws the ‘Bomb’; the Receiver adjusts speed and positioning to come under the Football, while the Corner Back desperately tries to deflect the ball, but, didn’t keep up to the high speed manoeuvering. The Receiver makes the ‘Completion’ and bolts for the End Zone, while even the Safeties - who were taken by the other Wide Receiver cutting across the middle - must give up the chase, as the Football is carried over the Goal Line and scores: Touchdown!!
Although, the Defense often breaks up these Plays, the surprise and excitement of a Completed ‘Long Bomb’ thrills Football crowds and brings the stadium to a roar. Sometimes, a score out of nowhere - from a Line of Scrimmage back over Centre Field - can completely turn the momentum of a game around, setting up a string of Touchdowns, as a team claims victory from behind.
The Arena Game
Arena Football uses the NFL rules as it’s base of play, but, playing indoors in a hockey arena requires some modifications to the field and rules. The Arena Football Playing Field is 50 total yards: marked 0, at each Goal Line, to 25 at Centre Field. The End Zones are 8 yards deep, while the Playing Field width is 85 feet - making the Arena Football Field 66 yards long and 85 feet wide. The playing surface is padded indoor artificial grass and it is green. The field has side boards - like boards in ice hockey - that are high density foam padding and are 48 inches high. Behind each End Zone, over the Dead Lines, are two mesh rebound nets to stop the ball: 30 feet wide, 32 feet high and 8 feet above the floor. The nets are 9 feet apart with a cross bar joining them - 15 feet above the floor - creating Uprights to Kick through. Scoring is the same, except 2 points for a Drop Kick Conversion, as well. Also, 4 points for a Drop Kick Field Goal and the Defense can run back a Conversion Attempt for 2 points. Each team has 8 players on the field. The Defense is required to have 3 Linemen, so, no more than 5 Backs, while the Offense is required to have 4 Linemen leaving 4 Backs including the Quarterback. Players play both the Offensive and Defensive positions, except the specialists: Quarterback, Kicker, Kick Returner - called Offensive Specialist - and two Defensive Backs. Only 1 Linebacker may Blitz, anywhere on any Play. Only 1 Receiver may be in forward motion at the Snap and the Defense must line up 2 yards away from the Football. The Time Clock only stops for incomplete passes and out of bounds plays in the last minute of each half. Kick Offs are from the Goal Line and Punting is not allowed. Footballs rebounding off of the nets, are live, and are to be fielded. The Receiver is required to have only 1 foot in bounds. An Overtime period is 15 minutes, but, they play 1 possession each, and if still tied play to the next score: determining the winner.
Pro Sports Official Team Sites Football Teams 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.