The present game of football as played in American schools and

colleges is a development of the English game of Rugby. There are

twenty-two players, eleven on a side or team. The game is played on a

level field, at each end of which are goal posts through which the

team having the ball in its possession attempts to force or "rush" it,

while their opponents by various means, such as tackling, shoving or

blocking, strive to prevent the ball from being successfully forced

behind the goal line or from being kicked over the crossbar between

the goal-posts. A football field is 330 feet long by 160 feet wide. It

is usually marked out with white lines five yards apart, which gives

the field the name of "gridiron." The various positions on a football

team are centre rush, right and left guards, right and left tackles,

right and left ends, quarter-back, right and left half-back, and

full-back. As in baseball, the rules of football are constantly being

changed and the game as played ten or fifteen years ago is very

different from the modern game. The various changes in rules have been

made with a view to making the game less dangerous to the players and

more interesting to the spectator.

The principal scores in football are the "touchdown" and the "field

goal." In a touchdown the ball is carried by one of the players and

touched on the ground behind the opponents' goal line. In a field

goal, or, as it is often called, "a goal from the field," the ball is

kicked over the crossbar between the goal posts. In a field goal the

player executing it must not kick the ball until after it has touched

the ground. Such a kick is called a "drop kick" as distinguished from

a "punt" where the ball is released from the hands and immediately

kicked before touching the ground. A team in possession of the ball is

allowed a certain number of attempts to advance it the required

distance. Each of these attempts is called a "down." If they fail to

gain the necessary distance, the ball goes to their opponents. It is

customary on the last attempt, or down, to kick the ball so that when

the opposing team obtains possession of it it will be as far as

possible from the goal line toward which they are rushing. In this

play a "punt" is allowed. There are also other scores. A safety is

made when a team is forced to touch the ball down behind its own goal


The ball used in American football is a long oval case made of leather

and inflated by means of a rubber bag or envelope. The football

player's uniform consists of a heavily padded pair of trousers made of

canvas, moleskin, khaki or other material, a jacket made of the same

material, a tight-fitting jersey with elbow and shoulder pads, heavy

stockings, and cleated shoes. Players will often use other pads,

braces and guards to protect them from injury. Football is usually

played in the fall months after baseball has been discontinued on

account of the cold weather. A full game consists of four

fifteen-minute periods.

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