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    American Football
    Australian Football
    Field Hockey
    Ice Hockey
    Ice Skating
    Motor Racing
    Rugby Football
    Table Tennis



  • The first professional American football game was played in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, in August 1895.

  • It was originally a game of the big colleges like Yale, Harvard and Princeton and developed out of the rules for English rugby and soccer.

  • The controlling body, the NFL (National football league), was performed in 1922, and the major event of the season, the superbowl, was launched in 1967. This brings together the winners of the East and West Divisions in the end-of-season climax.

  • American football has been skillfully tailored by television, which has played a huge part in the game’s development, leading and influencing the way many other sports are covered on the small screen.


  • The pitch can be either grass or an artificial surface, and the game can be even played indoors, as in the Houston Astrodome.

  • The dimensions of the pitch are always the same: the playing area is 300 feet long and 160 feet wide. It is divided by lines at 5-yard intervals across the pitch. The goals at each end stand on the pole to reduce the risk of injury. The crossbar is 10 feet above the ground and the two posts which tower above it are 30 feet high. The area behind the goal is called the end zone is 30 feet long.


  • The equipment for American football is colourful, but costly. It has created a fashionable image for the sport.

  • Each player wears a helmet, in his club’s colours, which has a facemask for protection. There are various body guarding pads, which are covered by a numbered shirt with the player’s name on the back, and tight, figure-hugging white trousers with studded shoes.

  • The ball is oval and leather-cased and is slightly bigger than a rugby ball.


  • Each team has a squad of 45 players, but only 11 can be on the field at a time. The game is played in four quarters of 15 minutes each. But a game can last up to and over three hours as the clock is stopped for every interruption. There are two minutes between each quarter, and 15 minutes for half-time.

  • Each side is divided into the American-termed Defense, Offense, and Special team. The Offense is given four attempts to move the ball forward by at least 10 yards. If they succeed they get another four goes. But if one the fourth go they don’t think they are going to gain 10 yards in four ‘downs’, as they are called, they will punt the ball as far into the opposition’s half as possible.

  • The project of both sides is to score the most points. Six points are awarded for a touchdown in the goal zone, an area of 10 yards behind the goals. This is followed by a place kick in front of the goal. If it goes over the crossbar and between the posts a further point is scored.

  • A field goal, worth three points, can be taken if the team is possession feel on the fourth ‘down’ that they can not make the 10 yard gain, but are within 35 yards of the goal. A special kicker is brought on to take the kick. Finally, two points can be scored if a player is forced to carry the ball behind his own goal line and is tackled by the opposition.


  • The quarterback is the playmaker of American football, receiving the ball and throwing is strategically and accurately forward to gain immense advantages.

  • The great names of the games are quarterbacks going back to the legendary Joe Namath, born in May 1943 in beaver falls, Pennsylvania. In 1967 he became the first pro quarterback to throw for over 4000 yards in a single season. Not long out of college, and playing for the University of Alabama, he was bought by the New York jets for the then astronomical fee of $400,000, and in 1969 pulled off one of the greatest Superbowl shocks when the jets beat the Baltimore Colts. He played until 1977, ending up with the Los Angeles Rams.

  • Joe Montana, also born in Pennsylvania, was another great quarterback. With the San Francisco 49ers he won four Superbowl titles and holds the Superbowl record for no less than 11 touchdown passes.


  • The 1967 Superbowl in Los Angeles, between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs, was unique. The second half was kicked off twice. NBC, the US television networking covering the game, was in the middle of a commercial break and missed the first kick-off. Word was passed to NBC staff on the sidelines, who notified the referee about the error. The referee called the ball back, and the second half began again!

  • Some players are game for anything. In October 1986 the ‘Chicago Bears’ wide receiver Willy Gault, standing 6 foot 1 inch and weighing 183 pounds, had eight lessons as a ballet dancer and gave a public performance in tights and ballet shoes to raise money for underprivileged boys in Chicago!

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