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Offense has a goal of marching down the field and getting to the opponent’s end zone, which will result in a touchdown.

The ball can be moved by passing the ball to your teammates or running the ball toward the end zone. The offense has four chances (we call them “downs”) to get 10 yards. For example, you start with your first chance to get 10 yards which is shown on screen as 1st and 10. If you run two yards then it becomes 2nd and 8 (you are now on your second chance to pick up eight more yards). If you pass the ball two more yards, then it becomes a third down with six more yards to go — 3rd and 6. If you gain six yards, then you get a new set of chances, or downs, and start over at 1st and 10, once again. If you fail to gain 10 yards, you give the ball to the other team via turnover UNLESS you punt (this is when they kick the ball far away from the end zone to make it harder for the other team to score — this is usually done on 4th down).

Defense has a goal of preventing the offense from scoring touchdowns/field goals and getting the ball back for your team to score instead.

You can get the ball in three main ways: interception, fumble, or turnover on downs. An interception is when the offense attempts to pass the ball, but the defense catches it instead (it is now your ball). A fumble happens when a player who is holding the ball drops it or gets it knocked out of their hand — allowing the other team to pick it up (it is now your ball). As explained, the offense has four downs to pick up a new set of downs, or score — in the event they don’t…they lose their chances, and now the other team gets the ball (it is now your ball). As a defense, you are rooting for an interception, fumble, or turnover on downs to happen; you DO NOT want to allow the other team’s offense to score points.

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