The Rules of American Football. American Football can be very confusing. It can seem particularly baffling to non-Americans who have not grown up surrounded. American Football is one of the biggest North American sports. Whilst the game is played worldwide, the professional leagues in North America (such as the. Simple guide to the basics of American football. DOWNS Downs are the most fundamental, and confusing, part of the NFL rulebook. Because football is a high- contact sport requiring a balance between offense and defense, many rules exist that regulate equality, safety, contact, and actions of players on each team. Retrieved February 4, A kickoff is a type of free kick where the ball is placed on a tee or held at the kicking team's yard line 40 for high school. Even within this structure, offenses can still present a wide number of formations, so long as they maintain the "seven and four" arrangement. As is kronenkorken case with the college overtime rule, the team that wins the coin toss will have the choice as to whether to take the ball first or second, or decide at which end of the field the overtime will be played. If the offensive the rules of american football successfully moves the ball 10 or more yards, it earns a first downand another set of four downs.