What Does a Football Down Mean? All you need to know….
So what exactly is a football down?
Football downs start with the snap of the ball and conclude when the man in possession of the ball is tackled, leaves the field of play, kneels, or spikes the ball. To gain a first down, a team must travel 10 yards in four downs or opportunities. Some defensive infractions result in the automatic award of new downs.
Continue reading if you’re curious to understand more about the down system in American football and the associated strategy.
How do Football Downs work?
A side that receives the ball has four downs to gain 10 yards in order to get a first down. Then, until a field goal is made, the ball is brought into the end zone, a turnover occurs, or the ball is punted away, the sequence is repeated.
As was previously mentioned, a down starts when the ball is snapped and concludes when a player is brought to the ground. A body member other than the hands or feet must hit the ground in order to be deemed downed.
A player who has the ball is down if a defender touches them and they make contact with the ground. Players carrying the ball who fall of their own will and are not touched by the defensive team are not deemed to be down and are free to stand up and advance farther downfield.
On TV, broadcasters frequently use phrases like “1st and 10,” “3rd and 3,” etc. The announcers are indicating the current down and the distance the team must travel to earn a new set of four downs with this. Inches may be used in place of yards if the ball is very close to the first down marker.
In football, the phrase “2nd and goal” refers to the second down and the team’s two options within its set of four downs: score a touchdown by crossing the goal line (into the end zone) or kick the ball for a field goal.
The down will be replayed after an offensive penalty is called, but the offensive team will be backed up and need to gain more yardage to get a first down. The amount of yardage the offensive team must achieve for a fresh set of four downs drops after a defensive penalty is committed. A new set of four downs are given to the offensive team when certain defensive penalties, such as holding, pass interference, and roughing the passer, are committed.
On fourth down, a team will probably punt the ball or kick it for a field goal if they don’t get a new set of downs. Which option a team selects depends on their field position.
If only one or two yards are needed for a first down, the team is close to the goal line or end zone, or the team is far into the opposing team’s half of the field, they may decide to go for it on fourth down. When the ball is on their side of the field, teams rarely decide to go for it on fourth down because doing so would give the opposing team a great chance to score.
Teams can run or throw the ball 10 yards to advance the ball down the field and earn a fresh set of four downs. Both approaches have advantages, and the best one depends often on how far the first down is. Up until they are within 10 yards of the goal line, teams receive a first down for every 10 yards they advance during their set of downs.
The yellow lines on television when watching American football show how far the offensive squad must travel to get a first down. Though not official, these statements are fairly correct. A team must officially cross the first down marker to receive a fresh set of four downs. The chain crew may arrive to decide whether a first down was earned if a player goes down close to the first down marker.
What in American football is a Chain Crew?
Each set of downs starts with a first down that is 10 yards from the spot where the ball is. The subsequent first down is 10 yards from the area where the previous one was obtained. The players’ view of the line of scrimmage and the position of the first down is provided by two rods or sticks on the sidelines.
These sticks are typically orange so that players can quickly recognize them. The sticks are also joined by a 10-yard chain that shows how many yards are required to get a first down. The “chain crew” or “chain gang” is the group in charge of tending these sticks. Three people make up the chain crew most of the time. The “rod men” are two of the members who hold the sticks. The “rear rod” is one of these rod men, who keeps the stick that marks the start of the set of downs.
Until a first down is obtained or ownership is changed, the rear rod remains in place. Ten yards from the starting point of the set of downs, the other rodman is holding the stick. He stays put until a first down is gained or possession is changed, much like the first Rodman.
The ‘box man’, the third member of the chain crew, is responsible for holding a marker at the line of scrimmage to denote the current down. Every play, the box man travels to the line of scrimmage and adjusts the marker’s side lever to the current down. When the ball is downed close to the first down stick, the crew will enter the field if necessary to aid the referees with measurements. The crew doesn’t make any calls but rather responds to the referee’s rulings by moving as necessary.
What does “Down by Contact” Mean?
When a player with the ball is touched by the opposing team and subsequently makes contact with the ground with a body part other than their hands or feet, this is known as being “down by contact.” For balance, a runner can contact the ground with their hands.
A runner is down at that location if they are touched by the opposing team and touch the ground in the manner described above. Contact does not knock down runners who make contact with the ground but are not touched by the opposing team.
In the event that forward progress is announced, players are also down by contact. If a runner is stopped from moving forward by one or more defenders, the referees may call a timeout. When a quarterback kneels behind the line of scrimmage, they are also regarded as having been hit. The same holds true for players who forfeit through slipping. In both of these situations, the ball is on the ground where the player initially contacted the surface.
Down in Football FAQs
1) What does a football down mean?
1, 2, 3, and 4 Down
You basically get four chances, or “downs,” to advance the ball 10 yards (either running with it or throwing it). You receive an additional set of four downs if you gain 10 yards.
2) In football, what is an up and down?
Start with your arms at your sides and your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your hands in front of you as you start to move your feet fast as if you were sprinting in place. Keep up this vigor for 5 seconds.
3) In football, what is a first down?
The first of four plays in a row during which the offensive team must make at least a ten-yard gain to keep control of the ball. a gain of 10 yards or more by an offensive team qualifies it for additional downs and possession.
4) What does “down” mean?
In American football, the idea of having the ball down resulted in “down” as the requirement of the player so bound, and the ball carrier might willingly request a “down.”