In lesson two of our Sports in America free English class series, we will look at one of the most popular sports in the United States: American football!
Approximately 15 minutes
All About American Football
Click below to listen to a recording of this passage.
Football is a popular American sport that is played by professionals, college athletes, and even recreational sports fans throughout the country. Not to be confused with soccer (which is commonly called “football” outside of the United States), American football is a very unique sport that is an extremely important part of American sports culture.
Every year, diehard football fans dress in their team’s colors to tailgate outside of stadiums and cheer their favorite teams on. Typically, American football is played in large stadiums, some of which seat more than 100,000 spectators!
Though the specific rules and style of play are unique, American football shares a few similarities with soccer and other team sports. In football, there are two teams who compete to score the most points.
Each game is 60 minutes long (not including halftime and timeouts), divided into four, 15-minute quarters. If both teams have the same number of points at the end of the fourth quarter, then the game goes into overtime, giving both teams more time to try to win.
Each team must have 11 players on the field at all times. One team is on offense (they try to score) while the other team is on defense (they try to stop the other team from scoring). The team on offense is led by the quarterback (or QB) who begins every play. The QB can try to run with the ball, hand the ball off or throw the ball to someone else. Meanwhile, players on defense try to stop the players with the ball by tackling them.
A team scores six points when one of their players carries the ball into the end zone. When this happens, it is known as a touchdown. Teams can also score by kicking the ball through two upright posts positioned behind the end zone, which gives the team one point if done right after a touchdown or three points if completed on its own.
While football is one of America’s most popular sports, it is also surrounded by controversy. It is a particularly dangerous sport, with frequent injuries like concussions and broken bones. Though the rules and equipment have changed over the years to ensure the safety of the players, many people question whether the fun and entertainment of football is worth the risk it poses to young athletes.
Watch this beginner’s guide to American football to get a better idea of how it works:
Let’s take a closer look at some of the words in bold from the passage:
Let’s take a look at a sentence from the passage above:
As you can see, this sentence makes use of the word “while.” You’re probably accustomed to using “while” in relation to time:
In these sentences, “while” either functions as a synonym for “as” or “during.” In the third example, “while” refers to an indefinite period of time.
However, “while” can also be used to show contrast, much like “whereas” and “on the other hand” (though the latter does not work as a conjunction).
Here are a few more examples of using “while” to link two contrasting ideas:
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