Introduction to

American Football

American Football is one of the most popular sports in the world, especially in America and it’s easy to see why. Sometimes touted as a combination of Rugby and Football, it’s a fast paced, high contact sport with plenty of injuries occuring.

American Football is a fast growing sport in the UK with the main administrative body the British American Football Association (BAFA) overseeing two main bodies of competition; the BAFA National League (BAFANL) with 65 teams, and the British Universities American Football League with 83 teams, each split across 3 tiers of competition. American football teams are split into offensive, defensive or special teams that have very distinctively different roles:


The team in possession of the ball that attempts to progress towards the opponents end zone to score points via touchdown (worth 6 points).


The team without the ball that try to stop the advancement of the opposing team by tackling the ball carrier, knocking down passes or intercepting the ball.

Special teams

The team that are on the field during any kicking play of the game including when attempting a conversion from a touchdown where a kicking conversion (worth 1 point) or a touchdown conversion (worth 2 points).

The American Football Lineup
The American Football Lineup

The game is split into 4x15min quarters where the teams change ends after each quarter with a 2min break between 1st-2nd and 3rd-4th quarters and a 12 minute break at half time. The general gameplay is as follows:

  • Each play starts from a central position where the teams line up behind a scrimmage line.
  • The play starts as the ball is passed from the centre (the innermost lineman on the offensive team) to the quarterback (this pass is also known as the snap).
  • Intricately choreographed plays or running patterns from the offensive team take place in order to gain space for the running backs, quarterback or receivers in order to make ground from the line of scrimmage.
  • The team must make 10 yards past the line of scrimmage within 5 plays or the ball is turned over to the opposing team.
  • The main objective is to score more points via touchdowns, conversions or field goals than the opposing team.

At the White House Clinic, we are ready to assist with your recovery from American Football related injuries to keep you on the pitch for longer! Check out some of our American Football advice articles below.

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