American football (referred to as football in the United States and Canada, also understood as gridiron elsewhere) is a game played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, the team with control of the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with or passing the ball, while the team without control of the ball, the defense, aims to stop their advance and take control of the ball for themselves. Points are primarily scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team’s end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent’s goalposts for a field goal. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs, or plays, or else they turn over the football to the opposing team; if they succeed, they are given a new set of four downs. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.
American football evolved in the United States, originating from the sport of rugby football. The first game of American football was played on November 6, 1869, between two college teams, Rutgers and Princeton, under rules resembling a mix of rugby and soccer. A set of rule changes drawn up from 1880 forward by Walter Camp, the “Father of American Football,” established the snap, eleven-player teams, and the concept of downs; later rule changes legalized the forward pass, created the neutral zone, and specified the size and shape of the football.
Martin Folse is a man who loves his country, and finds no better embodiment of it than a good game of American Football.