A Rookie’s Guide to the NFL

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A Rookie's Guide to the NFL

A Rookie’s Guide to the NFL

The NFL’s popularity on this side of the pond is rapidly rising. There are three games being played in England this season and talk of a London-based franchise is growing louder and louder. Sky Sports are broadcasting several games live each week and have a show called ‘The Red Zone’ which is similar to Soccer Saturday but with live coverage of games whenever there’s a major play. In short, demand for the NFL is absolutely booming.

It is also a hugely popular betting market and we’re now doing NFL Request-A-Bets and a £10 to £1000 Challenge but there’s a lot of terminology and rules that are confusing to those new to the sport who want to get involved both for pleasure and for betting. So we’ve put together an index of some of the key words to help you out with your NFL betting!

How the game works:

– Each team has a squad of 53 players made up of an Offence, Defence and Special team

– Each team has 11 players on the field at any one time

– There are 4 Quarters of 15 minutes each in the game

– A game cannot end in a draw at the end of four Quarters. If the scores are tied at the end of the 4th Quarter then the game goes to a 15 minute overtime period. If the game is tied at the end of overtime then the game ends as a draw

– The attacking team (offence) has to move the ball forward in chunks of at least 10 yards and they have four chances, or downs, to gain those 10 yards

– When the ball is moved forward 10 yards, another first down is earned and they get another 4 downs to progress another 10 yards

– If the offensive team doesn’t move forward 10 yards within the four downs, the ball is almost always punted to the defending team on fourth down, or a field goal is attempted if they are close enough to the uprights

– The offence can try and gain the yards they need on a 4th down, but this can be risky as it could give the opposition a good starting position if they fail to make the yards

Key words and terminology:

TD – Touchdown, when a team gets the ball into the oppositions end zone

PAT – Point After Touchdown, when a team kicks the ball through the uprights following a touchdown (similar to a rugby conversion)

FG – Field Goal

QB – Quarterback

Def/ST  TD – Touchdown scored by the defence or special teams

OT – Overtime, happens when a game ends in a tie

Passing Touchdown – A touchdown scored when a player catches a pass thrown by the quarterback in the end zone or when they run into the endzone after catching a pass

Rushing touchdown – A touchdown scored from a running play

Pass Yards – How many yards the two Quarter back throw

Rookie –  A player who is playing his first season in NFL

Sack – When a Quarterback is tackled behind the line of scrimmage before he can pass the ball forwards

Safety – When the ball carrier is tackled or forced out of bounds in his own end zone

Fumble – When a player who has the ball in their possession and control of the ball loses it before they are tackled

Turnover – When a pass is intercepted by the defence or when the defence gets to the ball first following a fumble

Special Team – They are responsible for all plays involving kick offs, field goals and punts as well as returning the ball when the opposition kicks it

Punt – A punt is a kick performed by dropping the ball from the hands and then kicking the ball before it hits the ground


Touchdown – 6 Points

PAT – 1 Point

2 Point Attempt – 2 Points

Field Goal – 3 Points

Safety – 2 points

A Rookie's Guide to the NFL

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