A Guide to Football For Women – The Sports Brat

Having a step by step guide on Football for women is vital to understanding America’s game. There is no need to go overboard with different names, positions, formations, and minor rules. Instead, it’s key to stick to the relevant, overall items and avoid the details that might not be important to the average fan. These minor details will start to come together once the fundamental aspects of football for women new to the game start to click.The most important thing to grasp is how offense works, how many points each scoring play counts for, 



The NFL has made huge leaps in making Sunday football for women and men something that is part of popular culture and a part of family traditions. The business of football has exponentially increased over the past 5 years due largely to the recent involvement of women in football. Female sportscasters and sideline reporters such as Suzy Kolber, Erin Andrews, Michele Tafoya, Pam Oliver and many others have successfully broken down barriers in a male-dominated industry. Marketing efforts have also increased dramatically with lines of women’s football apparel, commercials geared specifically to female football fans, and more exposure from shareable content on social media have all helped increase the love of football for women. That being said, it is very important that we are correctly informed of the fundamental aspects of the game to keep the growth of football for women going.

The Field of Play, A.K.A “The Gridiron” – Football for Women



One universal part of the game is the field that it is played on. All football fields from Middle Schools to the NFL are 100 yards long with 10 yard end zones. The field is 53 and a ⅓ yards wide. Within the field, there are several different areas that need to be discussed to better explain the game of football for women.


The first area is the End Zone. This area is at the end of the field and the goal of each team is to get the ball into their opponent’s end zone. The role of the offense is to move the ball towards their opponents end zone using pass plays and run plays, while the role of the defense is to try to stop the opponents offense from getting the ball closer to their end zone.


The next area of the field is the Red Zone. The Red Zone is the area from the 20-yard line to the End Zone. This area is considered the Red Zone because offenses view this as an area where they need to score and defenses are seeing it as an area where they must stop the offense from moving further down the field. DirectTV has a program that they call “RedZone” that specifically shows a specific game on TV while teams are playing in the Red Zone.


How to Explain Football: Moving the Ball in Football for Women


Explaining football for women new to the sport is all about grasping the overall goal of each team. At it’s heart, football is about the offense running plays to move the ball into the other team’s end zone, while the defense sets up plays to stop them. This can be done by running the ball or by throwing the ball to a receiver downfield.


The offense has four plays to move the ball 10 yards and get a first down, which is a fresh set of four plays (called downs). Each time they get a first down, they get another set of four downs to make another 10 yards. If they do not get 10 yards, they will give the ball to the opponent. This is why most team choose to punt (kick) the ball on fourth down. By punting the ball, they give the ball to the other team at a place that is farther away from their End Zone.


When describing football for women, or anyone new to pigskin, the defense can be one of the trickiest things to understand. The goal of the defense is to stop the offense from gaining yards and eventually to get the ball by forcing them to kick or by stopping them on fourth down. The defense stops the play by tackling the person with the ball. When the runner with the ball is brought to the ground that down is done and play stops. The offense then gets a chance to set up their play and try to get more yards.


One of the most exciting times in football for women and men is when the offense is throwing the ball. In these cases, the Quarterback (the player who throws the ball) is going to throw the ball downfield to a member of his team who is trying to get open (a receiver). If the receiver catches the ball he can continue to run the ball downfield and try to score. If the defender catches the ball this is called an interception and the defensive player is now able to run the ball towards his End Zone. When he is tackled, his team now has possession of the ball so their offense can take over at that spot on the field. If the ball hits the ground before it is caught, then it is an incomplete pass. This means that the play is dead and the offense will go back to the spot where they had the ball at the start of the previous play.


Football for Women: Explaining Yellow Flags in Football



The rules of football can be difficult to understand. If you are looking at describing football for women who are new to the game, concentrate on the broad rules that apply to the majority of the game. The most common types of penalties are the ones that occur after the snap. These penalties are pass interference, holding and personal fouls.


Pass interference might be one of the most difficult rules to understand because it is a judgment call. This causes a lot of confusion when trying to explain football for women not familiar with the rules. When the ball is thrown in the air, both the defender and the receiver are allowed to try to catch the ball. The rule is that neither player is allowed to make contact with their opponent to stop them from catching the ball until they have touched the ball. This means that if the defender and the receiver both go up for the ball and bump into each other, there should not be a penalty as long as each player was trying to get the ball. The time when the defense normally gets called for a penalty is when the defender hits the receiver before he has touched it and is trying to knock the ball out.  Offensive pass interference can be called if the receiver pushes off the defender to try to get open. This is a fun part football for women and men as spectators because opinions on whether the play was illegal can be debated upon.



There are two different types of illegal holding in football. The most common type of holding is done by the offense. It is illegal to grab the other players jersey while playing football. This is when the offensive player grabs the defender in an attempt to keep him from tackling his player with the ball.



The other type of holding that comes up frequently when explaining football for women is defensive holding. Defensive holding happens when the players that are guarding the receiver make contact with them 5 yards downfield. This is only a rule in the NFL so when you are describing lower levels of football for women it won’t come up.

Penalties that occur before the ball is snapped can cause confusion when describing football for women unfamiliar with the rules are called pre-snap penalties. These pre-snap penalties tend to be either false starts or offside penalties.

False starts occur when the offense moves before the ball is snapped. This normally occurs when a lineman gets the start time of the play confused and leaves too early. This is a 5 yard penalty.



The defensive version of a false start is offsides. This can be a confusing rule when describing football for women because the time that it is called can vary at different levels. At high school and below offsides is called as soon as a defender enters the neutral zone. The neutral zone is the area from one end of the ball to the other. No one is allowed to be in this area when the ball is snapped. At the college and pro levels defenders are allowed to go into the neutral zone but must be out of it before the ball is snapped. If they are still in the neutral zone when the ball is snapped, or they cause an offensive player to false start, the penalty will be given to the offense.


The last type of penalty that presents an issue when watching football for women are personal fouls. Personal fouls are a broad category that can include bad behavior. The majority of these penalties come from players hitting after the play is done.


Basic Football for Women Player Positions



When describing the players on a football team, there are two main groups that rarely have players that play both sides; the offense and the defense.  

The offense is broken up into two main groups of players. The position that attracts the least amount of attention when describing football for women is the offensive line. This is the group the is in charge of blocking the defense and stopping defenders from tackling the guy with the ball. These tend to be the larger players, and while they don’t get much attention when talking about football for women, they are the most important part of the offense.


The next group of players are the guys that carry the ball. These guys tend to attract most of the attention so when describing football for women you must be able to describe these positions. The person who talks at the line of scrimmage and throws the ball is the Quarterback. This player tends to be the center of attention on most teams and doesn’t not need too much describing when you are explaining football for women.



The guys who line up behind the offensive line and run the ball are called the running backs. These players make many big plays and touch the ball a lot during the game so when teaching football for women who are beginners, we want to emphasize the roles of these players.


The last group of players are the receivers. These tend to be the fastest players and command a lot of attention. Since they are the ones scoring the points, it is important to know these players because of their celebrity and presence on the field. These players are responsible for catching passes and moving the ball down the field. There are a lot of different variations for these groups, but when describing the basics of football for women with basic knowledge of the game, these are the major positions on offense you should focus on.



The defense is broken up into three position groups that you should know about when looking at football for women who are new to the game. These groups are the defensive line, the linebackers and the defensive backs.



The defensive line is the group that goes against the offensive line. Many times when you are explaining football for women these groups are looked over. Their major job is to tackle the running back if the offense runs the ball or tackle the Quarterback if it is a pass play.


The next part of the defense are the linebackers. These players have an easy name to remember when talking about football for women because they line up right in back of the line. They are responsible for making a tackle on the running back if the offense runs the ball and helping the defensive backs cover the receivers if it is a pass. These players tend to be the face of the defense and tend to be the most popular players, which are the ideal players to begin with when you are describing football for women with little experience.



The final group of the defense is the defensive backs. These are the players who have the major goal of defending the receivers who are running downfield. If you want to simplify their job to describe football for women they are responsible for stopping any passes. These are smaller faster players who are normally the fastest players on the team.


Important things to Know About Football for Women – How Points are Scored


Now that we’ve described the basics, the penalties and the position of football for women new to the sport, it’s time to describe how point are scored. There are two main ways of scoring points; kicking field goals and scoring touchdowns.


The first way of scoring that we need to cover for new fans is the Touchdown. A team scores a  Touchdown when the team with the ball brings it into the defenses End Zone. The result is that the team that carried the ball in get six (6) points and the chance to try an extra point which is worth one point.

The second main way of scoring is by kicking the ball through the uprights. When describing football for women they will normally ask about Field Goals and what they are. This is when the kicker kicks the ball from the ground and it goes over the horizontal bar and between the vertical bars. These Field Goals are worth three (3) points. Teams normally wait to attempt a field goal until fourth down because not only is it worth less than half the points of a Touchdown, but if they miss the field goal, the other team takes over possession of the ball.


After a Touchdown is scored, the offense has a choice to either kick the ball through the field goal, which is worth one (1) point or they can go for two (2). If they decide to go for two, they must get the ball into the end zone on that play. If they can’t get it into the end zone they do not get any points.

Just Kicking it –  Football for women new to the game


Offense and defense are areas where most people can start to understand the game and see how it is played. What can cause frustration during a game of football for women is when either team kicks. In a few different circumstances, It’s hard to understand why the team is giving the ball away. There are three times during the game when a team will kick the football to the opposing team.


The first time team’s will kick the football away is a Punt. A Punt happens when the offense does not think it will get the first down. Fourth down is the offense’s last chance to move the ball 10 yards to get another set of downs. If they do not get the first down then the other team will take over at that spot. To keep the opposition deep teams will punt the ball and give them a longer field to drive down. This tends to happen a lot more when the offense is close to it’s own goal line. As it moves further down the field it will happen less and less.



The second situation where one team will kick the ball is if they are attempting a field goal. This happens when the offense is close to the other teams end zone. In these situations they will bring on their field goal kicker and he will attempt to kick the ball through the field goal posts. If he gets the ball through the field goal posts his team will get 3 points. If he misses the kick it will be the other team’s ball, even if it wasn’t 4th down.



The other main time the ball is kicked is on a kickoff. When describing football for women it’s important to discuss the kickoff and it’s role in the game. Whenever a team scores they will kick the ball off to the other team. The yard line that they kick the ball off from can vary but they will kick the ball to the return team. One of the rules that can come up when describing kickoffs in football for women is what happens when the ball is kicked out of bounds. When the ball is kicked out of bounds the receiving team receives the ball at the 35 or 40-yard line depending on the level.



When the ball is kicked in bounds, the return team will then try to run the ball forward as far as they can before they are tackled. The team will start their offensive possession from the point where they were tackled. The return men tend to the fastest players and are very hard to tackle. If the ball is kicked into the End Zone the return team has the option to take a touchback. On a touchback, the offense will take over possession on the 20-yard line in high school and college and the 25 in pros.


An onside kick is where the kicking team kicks the ball off but instead of kicking it deep they kick it short and try to recover the ball. Whichever team comes up with the ball will have possession on the next play. One specific rules for kickoffs is that the ball must travel 10 yards before the receiving team can catch it. If they touch the ball before it goes 10 yards it is the receiving team’s ball.



A team may try an onside kick in football which I will explain to the women unfamiliar with the rule. One of the most common times to try an onside kick is when the game is getting close to the end and one team is getting beat and needs to get the ball back. In these cases, the receiving team will bring on a special group called the Hands team. They will then line everyone up close to the line and try to catch the ball before the kicking team does.


Tying up loose ends – Football for Women

In the end, football for women and men should become part of your family’s Sunday or Saturday tradition. Once you have a grasp on the fundamental rules, it will make understanding and enjoying the game much easier to do. As football continues to grow for women, new opportunities continue to arise like the female football official, female-run franchises like Kim Pegua of the Buffalo Bills, and women football coaches like Jen Welter of the Arizona Cardinals.

It’s easy to go into too much detail and overload people who are just learning the game. The best way to learn the game of football would be to watch more of it and reference this guide while you learn.

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