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Over the last century and a half, the sport of football has grown from a casual and disorganized variant of rugby to the major team sport in the United States and, by some measures, has even overtaken soccer in popularity worldwide. While on its surface it appears to be a violent contest of brute force, beneath is a dazzlingly complex array of rules that give rise to the most comprehensively strategic—and intellectual—athletic contest ever developed. This book is intended to give the newcomer and casual fan a basic understanding of the most essential elements of the game of football. It is not simply a rules digest, but neither is it a thorough treatment of football strategy. Rather, it explains the basic conceptual elements of all three main phases of the game, and tries to provide historical context as well.

Part 1: General Concepts

Part 2: Offense

  1. Players and Positions
    1. The Line
    2. Blocking Ends
    3. Tight and Split Receiving Ends and Wideouts
    4. Quarterbacks
    5. Running Backs
    6. Blocking Backs
  2. Formations
    1. Important Early Formations
      1. Single-Wing Formation
      2. T Formation
    2. Modern Formations
      1. Pro Set
      2. Wishbone
      3. I Formation
      4. Single-Back Formation
      5. Shotgun Formation
      6. Trips Formation
      7. Goal Line Formation
  3. The Running Game
    1. Run Blocking
    2. Tight Ends and the Strong Side
  4. The Passing Game
    1. What is an Eligible Receiver?

Part 3: Defense

Part 4: Special Teams