Each game is sixty (60) minutes in duration (excluding | overtime).
- The sixty-minute game is broken down into four 15 minute quarters. The first and second quarters make-up the 1st half. After the 1st half, the players go into the locker-room while a break occurs in the game, known as halftime. When they return, the 2nd half begins, constituting the third and fourth quarters. The clock always starts and stops on the referee's signal.
- The first and third quarters commence with a kick-off.
- To begin the second and fourth quarters, play resumes from the exact opposite spot of the field where it was last placed following the conclusion of the previous quarter. For example, if the ball was on the forty-yard line, it is moved to the opposite forty yard line. Teams switch ends and the game continues.
The main purpose of the game is to score more points than the opposing team (see Scoring).
- A team scores by running and passing the ball down the field into the designated end zone or by kicking a field goal.
- Any time the team is running or passing the ball, they are using their own designed plays.
- These pre-planned plays are intended to gain first downs for the offense and allow them to maintain the ball.
- Each play begins with the offensive line from one team and the defensive line from the other facing each other along an imaginary line called the line of scrimmage. The play begins when one player (the centre) snaps (snapping) the ball to another (the quarterback).
- A play ends when:
1. A player possessing the football is tackled in bounds
2. A player possessing the football goes out of bounds
3. The football is thrown forward and is not caught by anyone
4. A team scores by reaching the end zone for a touchdown or kicking a field goal
5. The football is kicked and goes out of bounds
The object of the offence is to move the ball down the field and to score points. The offence consists of a combination of:
- Five (5) offensive linemen
- Seven (7) backs (includes quarterback, running back, slotbacks and wide receivers)
The object of defence is to stop the opposing offence from moving the football downfield and scoring. A team's defence is made up of different players than the offence. The defence is 12 men made up of any combination of defensive linemen, linebackers and defensive backs.
"Special teams" is a term used to describe all of the units on a football team that are not a team's basic offence and defence. The special teams are comprised mostly of the same players that make up the offensive and defensive teams with a few additions.
The following is a list of all special teams units:
- Punt Team
- Kick-off Team
- Field Goal or Extra Point Team
- Kick-off Return Team
- Punt Return Team
- Field Goal Block/Return