The offence has 4 plays (downs) to make 10 yards (9m roughly in Aussie measurement) and move their way downfield. Once they make 10 yards, they’re downs reset. They either throw (pass) the ball from their quarterback or they can run (rush) the ball with their hardnosed running backs plugging away through the middle. Sometimes the quarterback gets a rush of blood and goes for a gallop himself.
The 4th down is pretty much like the last tackle in the NRL where teams usually choose to punt the ball away instead of turning it over in bad field position. In the NFL teams have the option to go for a field goal worth 3 points if they’re within range. However, if they miss the field goal, the opposition gets the ball where the field goal attempt was taken from. So it’s extremely important NFL teams find their own Hazem El-Masri’s (great kicker) unless they want to get into strife on game day.
The offence is trying to get into the end zone for a touchdown worth 6 points. That’s when you see the players spike the ball to celebrate or jump up a wall to sit with the fans. Getting a touchdown gives the scoring team the option to go for a 1point or 2point conversion.
A 1-point conversion is a kick through the uprights from 15 yards out, which has a higher strike rate than finding a bogan with a VB tinny on Australia day. A 2-point conversion is a play from the 2-yard line. This can involve a pass or a rushing play with the defence able to score themselves if the ball is turned over.
The defence is charged with the job of stopping the quarterback and company from making their way down field. This is through tackling the runner, intercepting or breaking up the pass and generally smashing any offensive player that is on the field at that time.
If the quarterback gets tackled for a loss behind the line of scrimmage (The neutral line between the defence and offence at the start of every play) it’s known as a sack. If an offensive player is tackled in his own end zone, (in-goal) it’s known as a safety and the defending team gets 2 points. The team on offence has to kick from the 20-yard line after a safety is scored. The equivalent of a line drop out in the NRL.
There’s a lot that goes into an NFL game but now that you know the difference between a safety and a sack. Now that we’re all experts of the gridiron you’ll be able to appreciate the tactics and moronic decisions some coaches make and abuse them accordingly in the process.