Talk:American football

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Some thoughts[edit]

Firstly, the writing in this article is a mess. There's far too great of a reliance on parenthetical comments to splice in additional, possibly needless, information. The etymology section is a prime example of this, but it's a problem throughout the article.

Secondly, there needs to be consistency between nomenclature of the articles as well as something be done about the fact there's a Gridiron Football article as well as this one. I see in that article's talk page there's mention of a merger, but I'm not seeing discussion of that merger here. That said, if that article is merged into this one, there will need to be a retitling of pages like Penalty (Gridiron Football).

Thirdly, the Officials and Penalties section should just be "Officials" because there's basically no discussion of penalties. I also question the value of that section as a quick survey of other sports articles (rugby football, baseball, basketball, and association football) do not have anything remotely similar, and the officiating crew varies between leagues. I'm almost of a mind that there should be a unified template for the structure of sports articles to ensure things like history, rules, personnel, etc. are treated in directly comparable ways.

Fourthly, under teams and positions, it describes the game as being between two teams of 11 players. This is untrue. A team can only field 11 players at any one time (less in some variations), but an NCAA team can have 105 players and an NFL team can have 53 players on it. This is an important distinction in the modern version of the game where "player packages" are often substituted from play to play to take advantage of various specialties or even just get fresh players in.

The game of American football is a game played between two teams of 11 players, not between two teams of 105 or 53 players. ParkH.Davis (talk) 01:36, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

Added by edit Adding some more as I'm reading this article more deeply now: Under offensive unit -- the leading, ponderous aside into legal formations and motion before the snap is both incomplete and unnecessary in terms of a high level overview. At this point it would be better to simply mention there's two classification of players those on the line and those not on the line, then discuss the basic differences. It would also make phrasing simpler to here introduce and define the phrase "skill positions".

It's also erroneous to say that the quarterback always lines up behind the center and takes the snap. The Wildcat formation and several other more exotic formations see the ball snapped to many different skill position players.

The "quarterback" is the player that recieves the snap from the center. It is a position in which a player can line up in, it is not a set circumstance. ParkH.Davis (talk) 01:36, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

In speaking about the offensive line, their primary job is to block defensive players, not just players on the defensive line. With 4-3 and 3-4 defenses being popular defensive packages these days, there's a blitz of some form almost every play. Claiming the o-line's main job is to block the d-line is either incorrect specification or over-simplification. It's likewise an oversimplification to say that the center is the leader of the offensive line. It's just as common these days to see blind side tackles (usually the left tackle) calling blocking assignments on the line.

On the defensive side, the primary job of the defensive line is to disrupt the offensive play's development. This can come in many forms from containment to pressuring and penetration with an ideal state of getting some tackle for a loss, but mainly, it is to keep the offensive players from getting to where they're supposed to be and doing what they're supposed to be doing.

In speaking of linebackers: If you're looking for a term to oppose outside linebacker, inside linebacker is a much better choice. These players are also in the defensive backfield (which is not just the secondary as the article claims).

With the corners, it would be more correct to say that they are primarily responsible for pass coverage and to delete the bit about them lining up outside of defensive formations (which can only be true of man to man coverage and entirely ignores zone and combination coverages).

Under special teams units there's absolutely no discussion of kickoff or receiving units.

The scoring section is just a mess.

What about it? ParkH.Davis (talk) 01:36, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

Field and equipment needs to keep to a single measure and not pop between yards and feet. An why are fractional inches used for the ball size and decimal yards used for the field width when the field width is defined by rule as being 53 1/3 yards, not 53.33? I don't care which is used, but consistency should be a goal.

Yards and feet are both measurements of the same system, the Imperial system. ParkH.Davis (talk) 01:36, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

Why is there talk about the coin toss under Duration of Play and Stoppages?

Under Advancing the Ball -- the play is over when the referres whistle it is over. This isn't coaching speak, this is how it's actually defined. Certain actions such as a player being downed can cause a ref to whistle the play over, but it's not over until the whistle blows.

Under kicking I see mention again of dropkicks...weren't those outlawed at all levels quite some time ago?

Drop kicks are 100% legal at all levels of American football. However, just as place kicks, all dropkicks must be taken from a legal position, either from a scrimmage kick or from a free kick. ParkH.Davis (talk) 01:36, 25 January 2016 (UTC) (talk) 20:18, 18 January 2016 (UTC) (talk) 19:29, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

Taking the low-hanging fruit: where's your source that the play is over when the referee blows the whistle? There is only one circumstance where the referee's whistle ends the play: an inadvertent whistle. (That's a mess if it happens in the NFL and a problem at any other level, where a team might choose to replay the down as if it didn't happen.) In all other circumstances, the ball is dead before an official blows the whistle.
American football is played by two teams of 11 players the same way soccer is played by two teams of 12, rugby (union) by two teams of 15, etc. Substitutes aren't players, per se. Roster size can be discussed where substitutes are discussed.
Soccer is played with teams of 11 players, not 12. Canadian football teams have 12 players each. ParkH.Davis (talk) 01:36, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Dimensions move among yards, feet, and inches because the rulebook measures things in different units: the field is in yards, the goalposts are in feet, the ball is in inches. I agree that it would be best if the field width were specified as a fraction; the problem is, it may need to be hard-coded, rather than using the {{convert}} template for the metric equivalent. —C.Fred (talk) 22:47, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

Things like ball carrier's knee touching the ground, the ball being carried out of bounds, a player declaring himself down, etc. trigger the officials calling the down over, but by rule, what actually ends the play is the official's declaring it over. This is the reason players are taught to play until the whistle blows, and the language of Rule 12 Section 2 Article 6-e (the portion of Unnecessary Roughness that refers to late hits) is "running, diving into, or throwing the body against or on any prostrate player either before or after the ball is dead".

Anyway, here are the two important rules to this distinction: Rule 2 Section 9 Article 1: "A Down is a period of action that starts when the ball is put in play (3-2-3) and ends when the ball is declared dead (7-2-1)." Rule 7 Section 2 Article 1: "An official shall declare the ball dead and the down ended",-dead-ball,-scrimmage72.168.176.162 (talk) 17:03, 23 January 2016 (UTC)

The official's whistle merely announces that the down is over. There are some downs in the NFL that end with no whistle blown. The blowing of a whistle will end a down in progress, though: that's why 7-2-1-m is there. The NFHS fundamental is clearer on this: "A game official's whistle seldom kills the ball. It is already dead by rule." (2015 NFHS Football Rules, Football Fundamentals III.1, p. 82) —C.Fred (talk) 17:55, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
That's a different rule entirely. The NFL rule is beyond clear. The official does not announce the ball is down, it is DECLARED down. I'd also like to know what NFL plays end without whistles being blown that are not a failure to follow rules or defined separately elsewhere. (talk) 15:55, 28 February 2016 (UTC)

Most popular?[edit]

"football as a whole is the most popular sport in the United States"

Most popular spectator sport, or participator sport? Or both? Perhaps the article should make this clear?

Paul Magnussen (talk) 22:56, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

PAT/conversion/try huh?[edit]

My edit has been reverted, which is fine, but the text left behind is confusing to someone who doesn't know the subject matter. Why is there a link to the rugby article on trys? Why is the other article called Conversion (gridiron football) if it is more commonly called "point(s)-after-touchdown (PAT)"? Are these 3 names for the same thing, or are they different? The conversion article uses "conversion" in the title, but in the lead says "PAT" and "convert," but not "conversion" Since I am obviously not qualified to fix this, will someone who knows the subject matter please give it some attention? -- ke4roh (talk) 14:37, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

Picking off the easy part: there is a link to rugby because the rugby try and subsequent kick for goal are analogous to the football touchdown and conversion/point(s)-after-touchdown/try-for-point/convert/extra point. Many aspects of American football evolved from rugby (scrum to scrimmage, mark to fair catch, etc.), so it makes sense to tie back to the history. —C.Fred (talk) 16:22, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
Officially, it's either a try in the US or a convert in Canada. Here are the relevant rules:
Country Code Rule(s)

A Try is the attempt by a team that has scored a touchdown to add one point (by a field goal) or two points (by a touchdown) during one untimed scrimmage down. (2-41)



After a touchdown, a Try is an opportunity for either team to score one or two additional points during one scrimmage down.

The Try begins when the Referee sounds the whistle for play to start. The team that scored the touchdown shall put the ball in play:

(a) anywhere on or between the inbound lines
(b) 15 yards from the defensive team’s goal line for a Try-kick
(c) two yards from the defensive team’s goal line for a Try by pass or run (11-3-1)
NCAA (college) SECTION 3. Try Down

The point or points shall be scored according to the point values in Rule 8-1-1 if the try results in what would be a touchdown, safety or field goal under rules governing play at other times. [Touchdown – 2 Points; Field Goal or Safety — 1 Point]

A try is an opportunity for either team to score one or two points while the game clock is stopped after a touchdown. (8-3-1, 2)

NFHS (high school) SECTION 3 TRY. After a touchdown, the scoring team shall attempt a try....

During a try, A may score two points from what would be a touchdown or one point for a field goal or safety by B under rules governing play at other times during the game. Only A may score during a try. (8-3-1, 3)

Canada CFL (pro) Article 5 - Convert

A team scoring a touchdown may attempt to add to its score by means of a scrimmage play from any point on or between the hash marks on either the 3 yard-line or the 25 yard-line, as follows:

  • 1 point – By kicking a field goal on a scrimmage play initially scrimmaged on the 25 yard line.
  • 2 points – By scoring a touchdown by means of a ball carrying or passing play initially scrimmaged from either the 3 yard line or the 25 yard line.


If Team B legally gains possession during an unsuccessful convert attempt (i.e. interception of forward pass, recovery of loose ball, or recovery of a short or wide field goal attempt), it may score two points by advancing the ball across Team A's Goal Line. If the play terminates with Team B in possession in its own Goal Area or in the Field of Play, there shall be no score. (3-5)

Football Canada (college and high school) Article 5 - Convert

A team scoring a touchdown may attempt to add to its score by one scrimmage play at any point on or between the hash marks or play from any point on or outside the opponents’ 5 yard (5 metre) line, within the hash marks, as follows:

a) 1 point – by kicking a field goal. If the kick is unsuccessful, the ball is dead immediately.
b) 2 points – by scoring a touchdown by means of a ball carrying or passing play. A punt or onside kick is prohibited. If B gains possession, the ball is dead imediately. (3-5)

Informally, a number of terms are used. Since conversion is relatively common to both countries, that's what was used for the article Conversion (gridiron football). The formal terms and some other informal terms are then listed in the introduction of that article. —C.Fred (talk) 16:52, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 4 April 2016[edit]

This article is missing a key football match as you can see in the citation listed below. The first football game played with an oval ball was the second of a two game match between Harvard and McGill University. I believe that the article should be updated to incorporate this information, since, unlike the Harvard Princeton game, this match represented the first definitive break with the English soccer round ball. GPB875 (talk) 19:29, 4 April 2016 (UTC)

Red question icon with gradient background.svg Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 18:03, 8 April 2016 (UTC)

page edit goal posts[edit]

Field and equipment

Goalposts are located at the center of the plane of each of the two end lines. The crossbar of these posts is ten feet (3 meters) above the ground, with vertical uprights at the end of the crossbar 18 feet 6 inches (6 m) apart for professional and collegiate play and 23 feet 4 inches (7 m) apart for high school play.[64][65][66] The uprights extend vertically 35 feet on professional fields, a minimum of 10 yards (30 feet) on college fields, and a minimum of ten feet on high school fields. The plane of the uprights continue upwards to infinity. So a ball that is kicked and passes over the horizontal line created by the tops of the goal post uprights, but within the plane of the uprights, is still good. Goal posts are padded at the base, and orange ribbons are normally placed at the tip of each upright.[64][65][66] — Preceding unsigned comment added by Caeastwood79 (talkcontribs) 08:45, 22 May 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 14 September 2016[edit] (talk) 07:13, 14 September 2016 (UTC)

Not done: This is not an edit request. Topher385 (talk) 09:54, 14 September 2016 (UTC)