Thursday, September 10, 2009

FTL: Your Questions Answered, 1st Edition

This is the first installment of "For The Ladies", answering questions from women about football to help them understand (and hopefully enjoy) the game.

The first question that was sent in to me for this week is:

"What is a first down?"

When a team is on offense they get 4 plays to get a first down. A first down means your team has moved with the ball 10 yards or more away from where you started from. Once you get a first down the process starts over again. Now if it is 4th down and you don't feel like you can move the ball on that play far enough to be 10 yards away from where you first started then you can punt the ball to the other team or kick a field goal.

The second question for this week is:

"Why do teams kick field goals?"

This obviously dovetails nicely with the first question. The quick and easy answer is that teams kick field goals when they don't believe they can get a touchdown. But that is a very simple way of looking at it. I will go a bit more indepth but try not to go over anyone's head.

In general people kick field goals after having moved the ball down the field close enough to be in range of their kicker's leg but facing a fourth down which is long enough that the Coach deems it too far to get a first down. So they instead opt to kick the field goal so they do not come away empty handed. A field goal is worth 3 points which is half of what you get for a touchdown. The reason being is because its harder to move the ball all the way down and cross the endzone.

However there are other reasons to choose a field goal. For instance if a team is facing a situation where there isn't much time left on the clock and they are only down by 3pts or less they can choose to kick a field goal on an earlier down to ensure that they do not lose the game.

On the other hand if a game goes into sudden death over time, meaning the game is a tie at the end of regulation and the first team that scores is declared the winner, then a coach may choose to kick a field goal on an early down if they are close enough to kick a field goal just so that they end the game as soon as possible.

Well those are the two questions and answers for this week. Please keep sending in your questions ladies, and I will be sure to answer them at least once a week.

1 comment:

  1. Great information great explanations. Maybe now I can actually watch the game when I go to sport bars.