American Football

You will read about American football. The lesson includes a reading, a comprehension check, vocabulary review, and discussion questions. It also includes a research task about the “pigskin” itself.

Pre-Reading Questions

  1. What is the difference between football and soccer?
  2. What is the NFL?
  3. What type of equipment do football players wear?
  4. Do you enjoy watching football?
  5. Is football a popular sport in your country?

Vocabulary Preview

  • object: the main goal
  • outscore: to get more points than the other side
  • offensive: the side that is attacking or trying to score
  • possession: having control/ownership
  • quarterback: the primary offensive player on a football team
  • wide receiver: a football player whose main job is to catch a pass from the quarterback
  • linebacker: a player on the defensive side of a football team who has a variety of jobs
  • tackle: to jump on a person and bring them to the ground
  • intercept: to interrupt a play by catching a pass meant for the other team
  • wired: connected by wire to another person for communication purposes
  • cleats: shoes with spikes for grip
  • playoffs: competition between the top teams in a league

Practice these new vocabulary words here: American Football

American Football

  1. Football is a team sport with 11 players on each side. The object of the game is to throw, kick, or run the football down the field and outscore the other team. This sport is sometimes referred to as “American football” in order to distinguish it from “soccer,” which is known as “football” in most countries outside of the US.
  2. Football is played on a long field that is divided in yard lines, with an end zone on each side of the field. A player scores a touchdown worth six points by bringing the ball across the goal line. Each end zone contains a set of field goal posts for scoring extra points.
  3. The offensive team has four chances to gain a distance of ten yards. These chances are called “downs.” If the offense achieves this distance, it has four more chances to gain another ten yards. The goal is to get to the end zone to score a touchdown worth six points. If the team fails to gain ten yards in four downs, they give up possession of the ball and the other team becomes the offensive side.
  4. There are a few key players on a football team. The quarterback(QB) has the most important position on the offensive team. This player makes decisions about each offensive play. Some quarterbacks wear wired helmets to receive instructions from the coach. Quarterbacks use special codes to call or change plays. The wide receiver’s job is to stay along the outside and catch the ball from the quarterback. Linebackers (LB) have a variety of duties on the defensive side. They line up behind the line of scrimmage. This is an imaginary line between the two teams at the beginning of a play. Tackling, covering, and intercepting are different ways that the defensive side stops the offensive side from scoring.
  5. Football is a contact sport and requires protective equipment. All players must wear helmets and padding. Football players wear shoulder, knee, and thigh pads. They also wear mouth-guards. Like in soccer, football players wear spiked shoes called “cleats” for grip.
  6. The National Football League (NFL) is the top professional football league in the world. The NFL season runs from September to February each year. A final championship playoff game called the “Super Bowl” is held after 16 weeks of regular season play. The Super Bowl is typically the most watched show in the US each year.

Post Reading Questions

  1. Which sport is more exciting to watch, football or soccer? Why?
  2. Many football fans gamble. Do you think this is a waste of money, or a fun hobby?
  3. Plan an imaginary Super Bowl party with your class. What kind of food would be there? What would people wear? What would happen at halftime?

Football players have a high risk of physical injury. Concussions (head injuries) are very common, and can have long-term effects. Would this risk prevent you from allowing your young son to play football in high school?

Research Assignment: Pigskin

A football is sometimes referred to as a “pigskin.” Do a little research about this interesting fact.

  • Why is a football sometimes called a “pigskin”?
  • What are today’s footballs made of?
  • Why are footballs shaped the way they are?
  • What is the official football of the NFL?

Contribute to this tackk by adding comments, photos, gifs, or video of the things you find while completing this research assignment.

Additional Resources