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American Gridiron

American Gridiron was first played in the early 1900 and is a splinter of the 'rugby'gene pool.Mainly played in North America and Canada,but does have a following in Australia and New Zealand.

In the early years there were two associations, the AFL (American Football League) and the NFL (National Football league), who merged and now play under the auspices of the NFL. it has a huge fan base and is one of the most lucrative sports in the world.

The usage of the name 'GRIDIRON 'came about from the field marking layout which resembles a grid. Field size is normaly 120 yards long by 53 yards wide, and gameslast 60 minutes.

Its distinction from other forms of RUGBY is the padding and helmuts worn by players and the passing forward of the ball. The ball is spheroid shaped like a rugby ball, but smaller and lighter. Other major differences is the system of downs, positions, formations, free substitutions, lines of scrimmage and platooning of players for offense or defense.

Gridiron falls under the International Federation of American Football governing body. There are a host of variable rules that are applied by various governing bodies, such as high school,college and NFL boards. Teams consist of eleven players on the field and a number of substitutes who are on the sideline who may be called on as required, either for injury replacements or impact players.

Points are allocated from either a touchdown (the opposition scores by being in the 'end zone' with the ball) or a penalty goal which is kicked between the uprights and over the crossbar of the opponents side of the field.

The toss of a coin, prior to starting determines which team will kick off and from which direction they will play. The opposing team must stand a minimum of ten yards from the kick off. The team in possesion of the ball are known as the 'offence' and the other team is called the 'defence'. From this point on play begins with a scrimmage, until points are scored then a new kick off will start the game again.

Scrimmaging is when the opposing teams line up opposite each other, with the ball at a players feet. This player is known as the 'snapper'. When the teams are ready he passes the ball back to one of his players. the opposing team may not move until the ball has been passed.

The aim of the game is to get a player in the opposition end zone with the ball, so often long forward passes are made to team mates to get maximum field distance. In order to keep the game moving the offence have to go forward and make at least 10 yards in four plays starting from a scrimmage. These are called downs. If the offence fail to make the required distance in the allocated downs they forfeit possesion of the ball.when a team have a player in the oppositions end zone with the ball, this is referred to as a 'touch down' and is worth 6 points.The team scoring a touch down now have the oppotunity to increase the points scored, by 2 by taking a field goal.

If a player is tackled or fumbles the ball in his own end zone the opposing team score a 'safety' which is worth 2 points.

At the end of each quarter, teams switch direction of play.

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