Sport of the Month London American Football

What is American Football?

American football, known in the United States simply as football and sometimes as gridiron outside the United States and Canada, is a sport played between two teams of eleven. The objective of the game is to score points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. The ball can be advanced by running with it or throwing it to a teammate. Points can be scored by carrying the ball over the opponent's goal line, catching a pass thrown over that goal line, kicking the ball through the opponent's goal posts or tackling an opposing ball carrier in his own end zone.
American football is closely related to Canadian football but with some differences in rules and in the configuration of the field, in particular the presence of eleven players on the field rather than twelve and the allowance of four downs per possession rather than just three. The larger number of downs results in more offensive rushing in American football than in the Canadian game.
In the United States, the major forms are high school football, college football and professional football, which are essentially similar but feature slightly different rules.
High school football is governed in the U.S. by the National Federation of State High School Associations. College football is governed in the U.S. by two bodies: the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. The major league for professional football is the National Football League. Over the years, there have been other notable professional football leagues, including the All America Football Conference during the 1940s, the American Football League during the 1960s, the United States Football League during the 1980s, and the currently active United Football League.

American Football Outside of America

Outside the United States, the sport is referred to as "American football" (or a translation thereof) to differentiate it from other football codes such as association football (soccer), rugby football, Australian rules football and Gaelic football. In Australia and New Zealand the game is also known as gridiron football, or more commonly as gridiron, although in the United States the term gridiron refers only to the playing field itself. The term gridiron has also been used in the UK to describe the game. In much of the world, the term football is unambiguous and refers to association football (known commonly as 'soccer' in the United States).The NFL has attempted to introduce the game to other nations and operated a developmental league, NFL Europa (also known as the World League of American Football and NFL Europe) with teams in various European cities, but this league was closed down following the 2007 season. The professional

In the UK, 70 amateur teams play in the
BAFA Community Leagues (BAFACL) across a number of age ranges. The senior (adult) league has three levels: the Premiership, comprising six teams; Division 1, comprising 18 teams split across three regional conferences; and Division 2, comprising 23 teams split across four regional conferences. While the lower level teams have their own championship games during BritBowl Weekend, only Premier Division teams face each other in the BritBowl which is held in Worcester's Sixways Stadium. Unlike the NFL, the BAFACL season is played through the summer (April to September), with the British university season spanning the autumn and winter.Canadian Football League and collegiate Canadian Interuniversity Sport play under the slightly different Canadian rules.
The International Federation of American Football is the governing body for American football with 45 member associations from North and South America, Europe, Asia and Oceania. The IFAF also oversees the American Football World Cup, which is held every four years. Japan won the first two World Cups, held in 1999 and 2003. Team USA, which had not participated in the previous World Cups, won the title in 2007.
Major American leagues have also held some regular season games outside of the United States. On October 2, 2005, the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers played the first regular season NFL game outside of the United States, in Mexico City's Estadio Azteca, From 2007, the NFL has played or has plans to play at least one regular season game outside of the United States during each season. The NCAA will also play games outside of the U.S. In 2012, The United States Naval Academy will play the University of Notre Dame in Dublin, Ireland.
A long term goal of the IFAF is for American football to be accepted by the International Olympic Committee as an Olympic sport. The only time that the sport was played was at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, but as a demonstration sport.

NFL International Series

Prior to 2005, the NFL's primary method of promoting its game abroad was through the American Bowl, a series of preseason games played around the world, and the NFL Europe League, a developmental league based in Europe. The American Bowls ended in 2005 (though a similar China Bowl was planned for 2007 before being cancelled), while NFL Europe folded in 2007.

oger Goodell, the commissioner of the National Football League, has considered expanding the league's appeal overseas ever since the end of NFL Europa. Goodell has openly discussed the idea of holding a future Super Bowl game in London. The NFL is also investigating the possibility of adding a 17th regular season game to all teams, taking the place of the fourth pre-season game. Aside from the United Kingdom, other prime areas to get games would be Germany; Mexico; and Canada. Mark Waller, NFL senior vice president, international, doubts Asia or Australia would be targeted because of the travel concerns, but he doesn't dismiss anything.

Games in the United Kingdom are broadcast on
Sky Sports with a HD option and also on the BBC with BBC Two showing the first half and BBC Three the second half, with colour commentary by Jerry Rice. On radio, the games are broadcast by BBC Radio 5 Live, with Arlo White commentating. Typically, the games in Europe are played on the last weekend of October. Since 2007, all games have featured one team from each conference. On Sunday 25th 2015, the Buffalo Bills will play the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium.

Find Your Local American Football Team

If you are looking for your nearest American Football team or club, there are a few clubs to choose from namely the London Olympians, London Hornets, and London Blitz. Check out our American Football directory.

American Football

American Football Terminology

Blitz - A defensive strategy in which a linebacker or defensive back vacates his normal responsibilities in order to pressure the quarterback. The object of a blitz is to tackle the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage or force the quarterback to hurry his pass.

Quarterback - The offensive player who receives the ball from the center at the start of each play before either handing it to the running back, throwing it to a receiver, or running with it himself.

Sack - Any tackle of the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage.

Pass Interference - Illegally hindering another player's chances of catching a forward pass.

Offensive Holding - A foul in which an offensive player keeps a defender from advancing by grasping him with his hands or arms. Offensive linemen are allowed to use their hands as long as they keep them to the inside of a defenders body, but if they get to the outside of the defender's body, it is a penalty.

Hail Mary - An offensive play where the quarterback throws the ball up in the air without really targeting any particular receiver, hoping someone on his team catches it. This play is generally considered a play of extreme desperation and generally used at the end of the 1st or 2nd half.

Field Goal - A scoring play worth three points that involves a placekicker kicking the ball through the uprights of the goalpost in the opponent's end zone from anywhere on the field.
American Football