Rookie’s guide to the NFL: All you need to know about American Football ahead of the new season | NFL News

Tom Brady won the most Super Bowls in NFL history with seven and returned to play another season in 2022 at 45 years old!”

The 2022 NFL season got under way oback in September with as many as 32 teams setting out with the same ultimate goal, of making it to, and winning, Super Bowl LVII in Arizona on February 12, 2023.

This year’s Super Bowl is the 57th in the history of the NFL, a game which pitches the best team out of the 16 from the NFC conference against the top side of the 16 from the AFC.

The Los Angeles Rams (NFC) defeated the Cincinnati Bengals (AFC) 23-20 in last year’s big game, while the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots share the record for the most Super Bowl wins, with six.

Tom Brady, however, tops the lot. He has more Super Bowl victories than any one team, with seven to his name – the superstar quarterback claiming six of those with the Patriots before adding a seventh success with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers two years ago. At 45 years old, he is back this year to play an astonishing 23rd season in the NFL!

But what else do you need to know? What exactly is the NFL? And how do the teams get to the Super Bowl? Here, we break down the basics…

What is the NFL?

The NFL is the USA’s National Football League, their premier American Football competition in which 32 teams compete for the end-of-season championship, the Super Bowl.

The 32 teams are divided into two conferences: the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC).

The NFC and AFC are then further divided by regions to comprise four divisions with four teams each:

NFC North – Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings
NFC East – Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Commanders
NFC South – Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NFC West – Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks

AFC North – Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers
AFC East – Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets
AFC South – Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans
AFC West – Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers

How does the NFL work?

Throughout the year, each team plays the three other teams in their division home and away, while the 10 other match-ups that make up their 16-game schedule are predetermined.

Matches are predominately played on Sunday afternoons, with live coverage of a triple-bill of games starting at 6pm on Sky Sports NFL each week, while there’s also late-night televised matches every Thursday and Monday, starting with the 2022 season opener between the defending-champion Rams and Buffalo Bills on Thursday, September 8 – kick-off at 1.20am, Friday morning.

Each game consists of four 15-minute quarters though, unlike in football, the clock is paused with every stoppage in play and so there is no added on time at the end. Play does, however, extend into overtime if the game is tied after four quarters, leaving an additional 15 minutes to be played in order for a winner to be found.

How do you score points?

Teams have to travel a minimum of 10 yards with the ball every time their offense has position, getting four attempts to do so, otherwise the ball automatically turns over to the opposition.

If they are successful in running or passing their way down the field to score a touchdown, they score six points, with the option to extend that to seven or eight with either an ‘extra point’ kick through the goalposts or a ‘two-point conversion’, which is essentially an attempt to score another touchdown from two yards out of the endzone.

If a team fails to make it to the endzone, they can look to add three points to their score by attempting a ‘field goal’, which is another attempt at kicking the ball between the goalposts.

If a field goal is not possible, the team will often the punt the ball back to the opposition deep in their own half for their offense to take to the field.

Are there games in the UK this year?

Since the 2007 season, the NFL has hosted International Series games in outside of the United States, with London playing host to 30 such games – the very first match-up seeing the New York Giants triumph over the Miami Dolphins 13-10.

Wembley Stadium was the exclusive host of one game a year up until 2013, while Twickenham and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium have also hosted matches over the years since. The Jacksonville Jaguars have held one of their regular season games in London every year since 2013, with the Covid-stricken 2020 season being the only exception…

This year, there are three International Series games being held in London, which includes the first visit to these shores for the Green Packers – the last of the 32 teams in the league to play in London – while there is another International Series first scheduled, with Germany playing host to a regular season game for the first time…

Watch the top-10 plays by Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers from the 2021 NFL season

Minnesota Vikings @ New Orleans Saints, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, October 2
New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, October 9
Denver Broncos @ Jacksonville Jaguars, Wembley, October 30
Seattle Seahawks @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Allianz Arena, Munich, November 13
San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals, Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, November 21

At the end of the season, the teams with the best record in each of the four divisions per conference, along with the three teams with the next-best records in each conference (‘wildcard’ teams), qualify for the playoffs.

This means a total of 14 teams – seven from each conference – progress from the regular season on the road to the Super Bowl, with each seeded accordingly based on their win-loss records to determine who they face in the playoffs.

Wild Card weekend: The wildcard teams which qualify are automatically seeded 5th, 6th and 7th in each conference and are drawn to play on the road against the 4th, 3rd and 2nd seeded teams, respectively, while the number one ranked sides receive byes.

Divisional round: The No 1 seed in each conference then hosts the lowest-ranked team left after Wild Card weekend, with the remaining two teams in each conference facing off – the highest other seed left hosting the contest.

Conference Championship: Next up, the two remaining teams in each conference play against each other – the higher-ranked seed having home advantage – to determine the respective champions of the NFC and the AFC and, therefore, the two teams who will compete in the Super Bowl.

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Lee Clarke
Lee Clarke
Business And Features Writer


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