The offense has four chances, known as downs to get the ball 10 yards. Once they get those 10 yards, they are given another set of downs. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get the 10.
So when you hear 2nd and 6 it means that the offense has 6 yards to go and they are on their second down. It gets a little more complex when you get to the 4th down. Yes, technically, this is your last chance to get your 10 yards and why not take it?
Because if you take it and miss, the opposing team then gets to start, from exactly the spot that you left off, only they are headed in the other direction...much closer to the end zone. You could also use your 4th down to kick a field goal.
This is where strategy comes in, is it worth the risk to try for the 1st down? Or is it better to punt (which is like a mini-kickoff)?
Scoring Basics: a touchdown is six points. An extra point is worth one (but teams can go for a two-point conversion, where they get another play to make it in the end zone, rather than kicking an extra point). A field goal is worth three points. And a safety (when a player with the ball is tackled in his own end zone) is worth two points.
A field goal is made when the team has run out of downs and aren’t close enough to the end zone to go for a touchdown, but close enough that the kicker can kick through the goalposts
A safety is when the quarterback is sacked in their own end zone.
Hold Up! What’s a sack?
A sack is when the quarterback (think Tom Brady) is tackled before he is able to throw the ball. Sacks are a big deal. Quarterbacks have had their careers ended by properly timed sacks, remember the beginning of The Blind Side?
A false start is when a member of the offense moves before the play actually starts. Offsides/ Encroachment is when a player on the defense moves before the play starts.
A turnover can happen one of two ways: a fumble, which is just what it sounds like, someone on the offense bumbling a pass or toss and it falling to the ground to be picked up by the opposing teams defense. Or the ball can be intercepted, which is also, just what it sounds like, the ball is intercepted when the quarterback throws it to someone. There are many intricacies to turnovers: whether someone has been downed (tackled) or not, if it is a fumble vs. a dead ball.
-A yellow flag on the play indicates that the referee is calling a foul on the play. We all have to wait on the edge of our seats to find out which player did what and when.
-If you see the coaches throw down a red flag, this is called a "coach's challenge," and it means that the team charged with the foul disagrees with the ref's call.
-If the coach tosses a red flag, the play is reviewed by the refs and if they reverse it — great: All is fine and the team is happy! If the play is reviewed and not reversed, the team that threw the red flag is charged with a time-out. Coaches can only throw a red flag in the first 28 minutes of each half. (In the last two minutes of each half, any questionable plays are automatically reviewed by the refs.)
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