Football4Dummies: A Guide for Those Who Don’t Know Anything About Football

Sydney Campbell, Design Editor

The purpose of American football, like most sports, is to score points. Players can score points in many ways, such as by touchdowns, field goals and safeties. Players score points by kicking, passing or carrying the ball into the other team’s end zone or tackling an opposing player. 



The offensive players have possession of the ball. Their main objective involves getting the ball to the opponent’s end zone. Offensive positions include: the quarterback, running back, fullback, wide receiver, tight end, center, left and right guard and left and right tackle. Below you will find four offensive positions and a summary of each. 

The quarterback is the leader of the team, the one who calls the plays and signals to his teammates. He either passes the ball to the running back, a receiver or chooses to run the ball in an attempt to gain yards. 

Running backs run with the football; they may also be referred to as halfbacks or  tailbacks. 

Fullbacks block and protect the football from the opposing team.They block for the running back to try and prevent the defense from tackling the person in possession of the ball. The fullbacks other job is to protect the quarterback from any interference. They can also run a route to try and get open.

Wide receivers rely on speed or strength to get past defenders and catch the ball. Teams typically have two to four in play at a time. 


The main job of defensive players is to prevent the offense from scoring points. They do so by interfering and tackling. Defensive positions include: defensive tackle, defensive end, linebacker, safety and cornerbacks. Below you will find three summaries of a few defensive positions. 

The defensive tackle consists of the two innermost players of the defensive line. Their job consists of trying to stop a running play and applying pressure on the quarterback on passing plays. 

Defensive end are the two outermost players of the defensive line. They must get past any offensive blockers and then make it to the back field, where they work together to tackle the quarterback or whoever is in possession of the ball. 

The number of cornerbacks vary with the number of wide receivers in the play. They are responsible for covering the wide receivers and preventing them from getting open.

Scoring points

As previously mentioned, players score points with touchdowns, field goals and safeties. 

Teams score six points with a touchdown. Touchdowns occur when the player in possession of the ball passes the offensive’s end zone. Extra points occur after touchdowns and can either count as one or two points, the one point action is kicking the ball through the goal post from 15 yards out. The two point conversion happens when a team wants two points or need it to tie the game, the offense will line up at the two yard line and try and get the ball into the endzone in only one play. 

Field goals happen if the offense is close enough to kick the ball through the goal post. This can vary depending on how close or far the defense stops the offense. The action of a field goal will give the offense three points on the board.

Safeties earn a team two points. They occur when a defensive player tackles an offensive player in possession of the ball in his own end zone. 

Well you didn’t learn all you needed to know, but hopefully this helped a little bit. Enjoy the Super Bowl.