One of my big pet peeves is when things aren’t fair and equal. Yeah, I know, that’s life, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay.
When you’re playing a game like football, with rules that are supposed to keep things balanced between the two teams on the field, you need to make sure everything is equal. Both teams, no matter their inherent skill, should have an equal shot at winning. Yes, one team is always going to be better, but the refs shouldn’t make that difference even broader.
There are more rules than I can go over right now, but I want to touch on a few that are common and important. Are you ready?
Ready? Set. Go!
The quarterback decides when the ball should be snapped. The has a signal for the rest of the team. The first person to move is the center, the guy who has his hand on the ball. Until the center moves, no one else is allowed to move, once everyone is set.
If the offense jumps before the center snaps the ball, it’s called a false start. If the defense jumps, it’s offsides. Either way, the play is reset in a new spot – usually either five yards forward or back depending on who jumped. There are times when the penalty is more severe – like when someone comes across the line and tackles the quarterback – but typically, you’ll see either a false start or offsides.
Stay out of the way!
Pass interference is another common one. Basically, neither team can prevent the other from catching the ball by getting in the way of a player. You can smack the ball away, catch the ball instead of the player it was intended for, or get a hand in so he can’t catch it, but if you shove the guy out of the way, they’re going to throw a flag. That’s on offense or defense. If the ball is coming to you and you shove the defender away so you can catch the ball, you’re going to get a flag. It works both ways, but pass interference is more commonly called on the defense.
Have you ever wondered how everyone around you knows if the catch on the sidelines was good or not? Usually it’s the receiver’s feet. In professional football, two feet need to touch the field in bounds. In college and lower levels, only one has to touch. A foot is considered pretty much any part – a toe, the entire foot, even a knee. Once a player’s knee touches the ground, he’s considered down (mostly), but a knee and a toe will count in professional football as a completed pass.
The other part of that is the receiver has to have control before he gets that foot or two in bounds. That means the ball can’t be moving. If he’s bobbling the ball, he needs a step or two (depending on the level) after he has complete control of the ball. If he’s diving for it, he has to land and keep control of the ball. There are some exceptions to this, when the rule on the field is that the ground knocked the ball out and otherwise he would have maintained control. For the most part though, as long as he gets his feet down, he’s good.
There’s always more!
Yeah, there are more rules. Lots more really. But if you can understand those couple rules, you’ll get most of the game. Next time we’ll talk a little bit about how to fake the rest of it so you can follow along with the game and know what’s going on.
What other rules do you not understand?
He needs to do something to help repair his image. She’s not what his agent had in mind. But he has trouble resisting the curvy mom of one of his players.