American football Equipment

A team scores points by the following plays: A touchdown (TD) is worth 6 points.[15] It is scored when a player runs the ball into or catches a pass in his opponent's end zone.[15] A touchdown is analogous to a try in rugby. Unlike rugby, a player does not have to touch the ball to the ground to score; a touchdown is scored any time a player has possession of the ball while any part of the ball is beyond the vertical plane created by the leading edge of the opponent's goal line stripe (the stripe itself is a part of the end zone). After a touchdown, the scoring team attempts a try (which is also analogous to the conversion in rugby). The ball is placed at the other team's 3 yard line (the 2 yard line in the NFL). The team can attempt to kick it through the goalposts (over the crossbar and between the uprights) in the manner of a field goal for 1 point (an extra point or point-after touchdown (PAT)[17]), or run or pass it into the end zone in the manner of a touchdown for 2 points (a two-point conversion). In college football, if the defense intercepts or recovers a fumble during a one or two point conversion attempt and returns it to the opposing end zone, the defensive team is awarded the two points. A field goal (FG) is worth 3 points, and it is scored by kicking the ball through the goalposts defended by the opposition.[15] Field goals may be place kicked (kicked when the ball is held vertically against the ground by a teammate) or drop kicked (extremely uncommon in the modern game due to the better accuracy of place kicks, with only two successful drop kicks in sixty-plus years in the NFL). A field goal is usually attempted on fourth down in lieu of a punt when the ball is close enough to the opponent's goalposts; when there is little or no time left to otherwise score; or via a fair catch kick (also uncommon, due to the specific conditions under which it is legal[18]). (Rare) A safety, worth 2 points, is scored by the opposing team when the team in possession at the end of a down is responsible for the ball becoming dead behind its own goal line. For instance, a safety is scored by the defense if an offensive player is tackled, goes out of bounds, or fumbles the ball out of bounds in his own end zone.[15] Safeties are relatively rare. Note that, though even more rare, the team initially on offense during a down can score a safety if a player of the original defense gains possession of the ball in front of his own goal line and then carries the ball or fumbles it into his own end zone where it becomes dead. However, if the ball becomes dead behind the goal line of the team in possession and its opponent is responsible for the ball being there (for instance, if the defense intercepts a forward pass in its own end zone and the ball becomes dead before the ball is advanced out of the end zone) it is a touchback: no points are scored and the team last in possession keeps possession with a first down at its own 20 yard line. In the extremely rare instance that a safety is scored on a try, it is worth only 1 point. Kickoffs and free kicks The Florida State Seminoles (in red, at top) line up to kick off to the Virginia Tech Hokies. Each half begins with a kickoff. Teams also kick off after scoring touchdowns and field goals. The ball is kicked using a kicking tee from the team's own 35 yard line in the NFL (as of the 2011 season) and 30 yard line in college football (as of the 2007 season). The other team's kick returner tries to catch the ball and advance it as far as possible. Where he is stopped is the point where the offense will begin its drive, or series of offensive plays. If the kick returner catches the ball in his own end zone, he can either run with the ball, or elect for a touchback by kneeling in the end zone, in which case the receiving team then starts its offensive drive from its own 20 yard line. A touchback also occurs when the kick goes out-of-bounds in the end zone. (Punts and turnovers in the end zone can also result in a touchback). A kickoff that goes out-of-bounds anywhere other than the end zone before being touched by the receiving team is a foul, and the ball will be placed within the hash marks of the yard line where it went out of bounds, or 30 yards from the kickoff spot, depending on which is more advantageous to the receiving team.[19] Unlike with punts, once a kickoff goes 10 yards and the ball has hit the ground, it can be recovered by the kicking team.[19] A team, especially one who is losing, can try to take advantage of this by attempting an onside kick. After safeties, the team that gave up the points must free kick the ball to the other team from its own 20 yard line

Fouls (a type of rule violation) are punished with penalties against the offending team. Most penalties result in moving the football towards the offending team's end zone. If the penalty would move the ball more than half the distance towards the offender's end zone, the penalty becomes half the distance to the goal instead of its normal value. Most penalties result in replaying the down. Some defensive penalties give the offense an automatic first down.[21] Conversely, some offensive penalties result in loss of a down (loss of the right to repeat the down).[21] If a penalty gives the offensive team enough yardage to gain a first down, they get a first down, as usual. The only penalty that results in points is if a team on offense commits certain fouls, such as holding, in its own end zone, which results in a safety. If a foul occurs during a down (after the play has begun), the down is allowed to continue and an official throws a yellow penalty flag near the spot of the foul. When the down ends, the team that did not commit the foul has the option of accepting the penalty, or declining the penalty and accepting the result of the down.