The Basics…An Introduction to the Game of Football
2) When the team has the ball they are on offense and they have four chances (known as downs) to move the ball 10 yards. They can go further than 10 yards, of course, and ultimately they want to reach the other team’s end zone. The team on defense is defending their end zone.
3) The down and distance will signify which chance a team is on (1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th) and how much further they need to go to reach 10 yards. 1st and 10 is where every team begins, which means it is their first chance and they have 10 yards to go. If they’re on 3rd and 4 it means they’re on their 3rd chance and they have 4 more yards to go. Once the team on offense reaches the 10-yard mark, their downs reset and they are once again at 1st and 10.
4) If the team on offense cannot score a touchdown during their first 3 chances (worth 6 points plus a chance at 1 or 2 extra point(s), then the next best option is to go for a field goal (worth 3 points). If the team isn’t in field goal range then oftentimes they will use their 4th chance to punt the ball. There are certain points in a game when you will see the team on offense “going for it” on 4th down, but there many different scenarios when that happens and the broadcasters will talk about that extensively so just pay attention.
Next read about some terms you will hear during the game broadcast… General Football Terms
Or to further understand strategy, read The CFB Rule of 4