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How to Explain American Football

American Football may seem easy to follow, but it can be hard to explain to a first-time spectator, like a European, or a hermit.


  • Step 1: Make everyone comfortable Make sure everyone is comfortable and turn on the game.
  • Step 2: Describe the teams Describe the difference between the two teams. Tell everyone which is which.
  • Step 3: Explain basic rules Explain the basic rules in these terms: Each team has four chances — or 'downs' — to either score or to reach the first-down marker, which gives them a new set of four chances.
  • Step 4: Define a touchdown Define a touchdown as getting the ball past the end line on the field, either by running or catching. Ignore the extra points – they’ll learn about those later.
  • Step 5: Compare field goal Compare field goals to soccer penalty shots, if there are any Europeans watching for the first time.
  • Step 6: Explain punting Finally, describe that, if a team cannot score, they typically kick it down the field to the other team and the roles switch.
  • Step 7: Be patient Be patient in answering questions. Learning a new sport is hard; just try to follow a game of cricket.
  • Step 8: Stay cool Don’t get carried away. Screaming and throwing the remote will not leave a good impression in their minds.
  • TIP: Don’t take advantage of their inexperience by offering bets about who will win.
  • Step 9: Mention the time Mention that the game is timed, and that it is divided into four quarters.
  • Step 10: Make fun of the television announcers When people begin to really get into the game, introduce them to the art of making fun of the television announcers. Do your John Madden impersonation.
  • FACT: The Women’s Professional Football League is made up of 13 teams across the country and plays a 16-week schedule similar to the NFL.

You Will Need

  • A TV
  • A football game broadcast
  • A couch
  • Snacks

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