American football is a tough, physical game requiring a wide range of attributes including explosive power, strength, agility, speed, and physical and mental toughness. The huge collisions and intricate plays involving the 22 players on the field are what make the sport the spectacle that it is.
Games can take up to 3 hours to complete and can look quite complex, largely because each play is often highly tactical. In reality football is actually a relatively easy sport to follow and enjoy. It is the complexities of the sport, gained from years of avid watching, which make the game so interesting to watch and make it more than a test of brute strength and muscle. Also referred to as American football, as distinct from football (or soccer as it is also known.) In some countries, American football is often referred to as gridiron or gridiron football to differentiate it from other football games.
What’s the NFL?
The National Football League (NFL) is the pinnacle of the sport in the US and the world. It consists of 32 teams split into two conferences – the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC). Within each conference there are four divisions (North, South, East and West) with four teams in each.
The pinnacle of the season is the final championship game, the Super Bowl, played by each conference champion; a game that is watched by an estimated half of all US households and which is broadcasted in around 150 nations worldwide.
The NFL operated a now defunct developmental league, NFL Europa, with teams in five German cities and one in the Netherlands. The professional Canadian Football League plays under slightly different Canadian rules.
Football is a global sport
The sport is popular at an amateur level in countries such as Mexico and to a lesser extent in parts of Europe, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. Although the sport is mainly played by men, a few amateur and semi-professional women's leagues have sprung up in recent years.
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