Beginner’s Guide to Football Basics & NFL Rules

For anyone new to the game of football, understanding all the rules can seem like a burden. If the NFL has taught us anything in the last few seasons it’s that the rules of the game can be difficult for even the referees to fully comprehend, let alone an eager new fan. Whether you’re a little confused and scared to interrupt the game to ask your questions, in need of a quick refresher before the season gets underway or have a young fan in the house who’s ready to learn, this beginner’s guide to the basic NFL rules is a great place to start.

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Offense, Defense & Special Teams

Offense
The offense and defense are each allowed 11 players on the field. The offense consists of the quarterback, five offensive linemen, and a five man combination of offensive players like running backs, wide receivers, tight ends or fullbacks. The five linemen consist of a center who snaps the ball to the quarterback, 2 guards who line up on both sides of the center to protect the quarterback, and 2 tackles, one on each end, who are also in charge of protecting the quarterback. In addition, the linemen are in charge of blocking the defense to create paths for the running back or fullback, and holding the defense at bay to allow the quarterback the time he needs to throw the ball. The wide receivers, tight ends and even the backs are eligible to catch the ball from the quarterback, while the tight ends are also used for additional blocking during certain plays.

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Defense
The responsibility of the defense may seem straight forward, but the complexity of the offense makes it just as difficult, if not more so. The players on the defensive side of the ball depend on the defensive package, which is essentially split into man-to-man defenses or zone defenses. But let’s review the players first. The players on defense consist of the defensive line, linebackers and defensive backs. The defensive line sets up opposite the offensive line, and consists of the defensive tackles who challenge the offensive guards or center, and the defensive ends, who among other things are the ones tasked with putting pressure on the quarterback. The linebackers line up behind the defensive line. As the second line of defense, they have to read the offense to stop the run, rush the quarterback or pick up free receivers, tight ends or running backs. The defensive backs cover receivers and tight ends, protect against the pass and try to intercept the ball.

Special Teams
Special teams refer to the players who take the field for plays that involve kicking the football. This includes field goals, punts and kickoffs. This team consists of  a placekicker who specializes in field goals and kickoff plays, and a punter. A holder holds the ball during field goals. A long snapper specializes in getting the ball from the offensive line to the holder, which requires a different skill than the center who snaps the ball to the quarterback. The rest of the team is responsible for holding the defense at bay during field goals and punts, racing down the field after kickoffs to tackle the kickoff returner, or blocking players for the kickoff returner.

The Field, The Clock & The Scoreboard

The Playing Field
The actual playing field for football is 100 yards from endzone to endzone. The endzone is 10 yards long and contains the field goal, which is situated directly outside the back of the endzone. Horizontal lines are painted across the field every 5 yards, with individual hash marks each yard to help players navigate. The field goal is 10 feet high and a little more than 18 feet wide, significantly narrower than the college goals.

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The Clock
How long is the game? When is it over? Though understandable to those who aren’t football fans, it’s more forgiving to learn the basics of the clock to avoid upsetting irritable die-hard fans. An NFL game is split into four 15-minute quarters, so 60 minutes total. The average NFL game in 2015 was a little over 3 hours long. How does 60 minutes stretch into nearly 200 minutes? Halftime is around 12 minutes, there’s a two-minute warning at the end of the first and second half, and several commercial breaks during timeouts (each team is allowed 3 timeouts per half). But that doesn’t account for even half of the 3-plus hours. The reason why a game lasts so long is because the clock stops so often. When the clock stops depends on what type of play is run, the outcome of the play and even the time of the game. However, all you need to know to start is that the clock stops when there’s an incomplete pass, when a player with the ball goes out of bounds, and after penalties or timeouts. Overtime is a single 15-minute period where the first team to score wins the game.

The Scoring System
There are several ways to score in a football game, but the majority of points come from touchdowns or field goals. Touchdowns occur when a player with possession of the ball puts the ball over the barrier (goal line) catches the ball in the endzone, or establishes possession of the ball in the endzone, such as on a fumble. A touchdown can also occur after the defense intercepts the ball and returns it, or on kickoff or punt returns. Touchdowns are worth 6 points. After a touchdown, the offense has the choice of kicking an extra point for an additional 1 point, or “going for two” by trying to get the ball in the endzone on a single possession that’s worth 2 points. A field goal, when the ball is kicked between the upright posts, is always worth 3 points.

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Football is easy enough to understand once you’ve watched a few games. It can also get a bit complicated. Knowing a little information on the players, their responsibilities and the basics of the scoring system should be enough for anyone to enjoy the game. Reading the rules is a good place to start for beginners. However, nothing beats watching the action yourself. Enjoy the NFL season with all the NFL products from LTD!

Fantasy Drafts to Tailgating: Get Ready for Football Season

For NFL fans and their family members, the season is bigger than a 16-game schedule. There are parties to plan and tailgating menus to prepare, traditions to follow and fantasy football rosters to manage. Fans who have been around awhile know there’s nothing like the beginning of the season. Hopes are high. Anything can happen. Get in on the excitement with these articles on fantasy drafts, fashion tips and tailgating advice.

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Tips for Hosting a Successful Fantasy Football Draft Party
Almost a quarter of the entire American population participates in fantasy football at some point during the NFL season. Needless to say, fantasy sports are extremely popular, and with the regular season about to start, there are going to be plenty of fantasy football draft parties happening in the weeks leading up to the season. Get some tips on how to put together a draft party for your league and make it a monster success.

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Game Day Fashion Tips: Simple Touches to Support the Team
True fans don’t always feel the need to sport their team’s colors, but loyalties might be questioned if there isn’t at least a couple pieces of apparel hanging in a true fan’s closet or resting on the dresser. Fans have different fashion preferences, but with all the NFL gear out there, every fan can find an option that fits their taste. Get your outfit ready for football season with these game day fashion tips that focus on accessories.

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Unique Fall Football Traditions
As we leave behind summer fun and start heading back to school, we have an entire new set of fun activities to enjoy. In America, the fall season is football season. All across the country, people have many different ways of showing their school spirit or celebrating their favorite franchise. Here are some of the most unique fall football traditions that take place all around the United States throughout the fall and into the winter.

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Tailgating Essentials
Whether you’re a football fan or a friend along for the ride, the tailgating party is one of the most important elements of the fall football experience. Every region and team has different techniques for making the pre-party lively, but there are a few essential items everyone needs for their tailgating party. Here are a few tailgating essentials to create a spirited experience no matter what region you’re in or team you support.

Fall Fashion: Assemble Your Brand New Outfit

The summer season is coming to an end. Soon it will be time to put away swim gear, shorts and sunglasses and start digging out sweaters, slouchy hats and scarves. Most of us haven’t put away our spring wardrobes and plan to use many of the same pieces of apparel for the colder fall months. However, fall fashion is much different from spring fashion in terms of materials, colors, cuts and accessories. Check out some of our new women’s fall fashion favorites for the upcoming season to save big while assembling some autumn outfits.

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Fall Sweaters, Skirts & Ponchos
Women’s Embellished Tunic Sweaters
Women’s and Plus-Size Flowy Knit Skirts
Women’s Button-Up Neck Sweater Poncho

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Autumn Essentials for Extra Warmth & Comfort
Sets of 3 Button Knit or Slouch Hats
Women’s Printed Fleece-Lined Leggings
Women’s Genuine Suede Moccasins

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Fashion Accessories to Accent Fall Outfits
Leatherette Studded Owl Crossbody Bags
Stone Mountain Leather Totes or Hobos
Leather Zip-Around Wallets

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Trending Bracelets, Charm Necklaces and Watches
Heartstring Stretch Bracelets
Floating Charm Locket Necklaces
Leather Charm Bracelet Watches

End of Summer Activities & Fashion Advice

Unfortunately, summer is coming to a close. Once the dog days of summer start to dwindle, autumn will fall into place. It’s already starting to feel like the end of summer for most. Many kids are already back in school and holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving are close enough for parents to start making holiday plans. With all the schedule changes signaling the end of summer it’s easy to forget that the season isn’t over yet. There’s plenty of time left to enjoy the warm weather and take advantage of summer activities like concerts and picnics. Take back the last few weeks of summer with these end of summer activities and fashion tips.

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Summer is the season of concerts, but with summer nearing an end, concert venues are getting close to closing the gates while musicians trade open spaces for stadiums, studios and city bars. It’s the last time for fans to get out and enjoy concert quality sound in the open air. Whether you found a local show or plan on making a trip to see your favorite band, pack up for one final summer concert with these picnic solutions.

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Hot Summer Fashion for Summer’s Hottest Days
Temperatures in the dog days of summer might be higher than any other time of year, but you still need to dress for work, social occasions and casual parties. However, you don’t want to burn up on your commute, find yourself unprepared for office A/C or feel uncomfortable during your night out. Read on to learn about summer fashion tips to keep you cool, stay out of the sun and be ready for temperamental temperatures.

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5 Budget-Friendly Ways to Spend Your Staycation
Scheduling time off work can be tough. Figuring out the entire family’s schedule to plan a vacation can be even more difficult. That’s why staycations are getting more and more popular. If you can get out of the office for a few days, there are plenty of activities to do near your home that won’t drain your wallet. Take a look at these five budget-friendly ways to spend your staycation and take advantage of summer before it all ends.

Top Dog Toys, Treats & Training Supplies for National Dog Day

The dog days of summer are in full swing around the States. For most of us, it’s the final hot stretch of the season. Summer is on its way out and fall is getting closer. Halloween. Thanksgiving. Christmas. They’re going to be here sooner than we expect. While you start preparing for the dates further down the calendar, don’t lose sight of the important dates coming up this month. National Dog Day takes place on August 26th, giving pet owners a special chance to celebrate with their furry friend. Before you begin stringing together your Christmas list, check out some of our top dog toys, treats and training supplies to surprise your pooch.

Terrific Toys (and Where to Hide Them)

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The Set of 3 Gigglers Dog Toys keeps your pup happily entertained for hours. Each critter makes a unique giggling sound when shaken. The battery-free toy also has rope legs for playing a fun game of tug-of-war.

Easily organize and hide your pet’s favorite playthings with the Dog Toy Storage Bucket. It has a soft-sided design and handles on the sides for easy carrying. It’s also collapsible for simple storage when not in use.

Tasty Treats (and How to Keep Them Fresh)

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Give your good dog an early Christmas present with the 75-Pc. Gourmet Dog Treat Gift Box. These quality treats are made with 100% human-grade ingredients that are all natural and perfectly safe for your pooch.

The dog Treat Jar is the perfect place to store some of their favorite snacks. The 48-oz. jar adds a modern look and a cute dog-themed design to your countertop, complete with a bone-shaped lid and paw prints.

Training Gear to Make Your Life Easier

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The Big Jaw Pooper Scooper takes the pain out of bending down to pick up after your dog. It’s lightweight, two feet long and has a convenient spring handle for one-handed operation. Handle has hole for hanging.

Make training your new pup a bit less messy with the No Skid Pet Bowl Tray. The tray has 4 nonskid floor grippers on the bottom, placeholders to keep bowls from sliding and room to collect spilled food and water.

Halloween Decorations: Create Your Haunted House

It’s time to start getting ready for Halloween! Time for creepy costumes, ghoulish party gear and frightening kids from around the neighborhood. The decorations keep getting better year after year, making the friendly competition for most haunting house on the block even more difficult to win. Get the right stuff to make trick-or-treaters tremble and the Halloween decorations to create an unforgettable haunted house for your party.

Terrify Trick-or-Treaters

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Life-Size Climbing Zombies will make trick-or-treaters think twice about tiptoeing to your doorbell. Its freaky frame has metal hooks on the hand and foot for hanging. It can bend into different positions to fit your needs.

With sound and touch-activated sayings, creepy noises and flashing red eyes, a 71″ Hanging Talking Witch is the surprise factor your front porch needs to make it the spookiest on the block. Arms pose in any position.

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The Interactive Skeleton in Hammock stretches your Halloween decor onto the lawn. The sound-activated design comes to life when trick-or-treaters pass with bone-chilling snoring and lifelike breathing movement.

Make your house the creepiest on the block when you hang the 7-Ft. Hanging Creature on your porch. The larger-than-life decoration is easy to install on the eaves of your house or in the branches of a large tree.

Haunted House Must-Haves

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The Creepy Hand Wall Hanger is guaranteed to send shivers down the spines of your party guests. Its life-sized hands feature dark fingernails and veins that make it look like it’s coming straight from the graveyard.

Terrify party guests or the trick-or-treaters daring to venture onto your porch with the Barking Skeleton Dog. Sound and touch-activated, it unleashes a terrifying bark and its eyes light up when people get too close.

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Haunting Halloween Decor is perfect for creating a spooky atmosphere. The Pumpkin Figure has posable legs. Lighted Haunted House adds a scary accent and the Halloween Wreath provides the finishing touch.

Finally, celebrate the funnier side of Halloween with the Sound & Motion Crashing Witch. Sound-activated, she screams and her legs start kicking as she says a number of phrases to liven and lighten up the party.

Decorating & Lifestyle Tips from the LTD Designer Showcase

LTD is proud to welcome two new creative artists to the LTD Designer Showcase. Get to know more about their backgrounds, learn tips and tricks in their first articles and shop their products, available now at LTD!

Kyra Brown
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Kyra Brown grew up on the west side of Indianapolis. She’s always been intrigued by color and how artists can communicate entirely unique feelings just by selecting the right shade. Growing up in a city surrounded by cornfields, Kyra pored over fashion magazines researching color trends and seasonal style. Surrounded now by her supportive husband, eighteen-month-old daughter and lovable dog, Kyra works from her home office in Grand Rapids, where she focuses on creating original decor pieces to brighten American homes.

Tips on Balancing a Creative Career with Family Life
“Even when you’re working nonstop, you have to find time to make family a priority.”

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Breck Rice
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Breck Rice is the Marketing Manager for Brewster Home Fashions, a wallpaper company based outside of Boston that also produces the WallPops line of peel and stick wall decals. When she is not busy writing fun content, traveling to trade shows and engaging with followers on social media, Breck can be found digging in her garden, spending time with her husband and two children, and tackling her own home DIY projects.

DIY Decor with Wallpaper
“Wallpaper technology has advanced…it is now super easy to install and even easier to remove.”

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Halloween History, Horror Stories and Holiday Tips

Some of the best Halloween deals are starting to pop up early, making it easier and cheaper to stock up on all your spooky decorations. Get inspired with LTD’s Halloween history, horror stories and holiday tips.

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Haunting Halloween History to Inspire Home Decorating
Halloween has deep roots in many Western cultures. During this period in history, there was an emphasis on festivals to commemorate the end of the harvest. These pagan rituals were where Halloween was born. As you decorate your home, consider the history behind common Halloween symbols with these fun facts.

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DIY Bathroom Horror Stories and How to Avoid Them
Anyone who’s undertaken a home remodeling project knows how messy, costly and frustrating the process can be. Sometimes you don’t know what costly surprises you’ll find. Before you fix up your bathroom, heed these possible horror stories so you know what to look for and how to avoid issues down the line.

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Decorating Tips to Bridge the Gap Between Halloween & Thanksgiving
The holidays are the best time of year to decorate your home, but Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are so close together that even the most experienced home decorators can get burned out. However, it can be easy to bridge the gap between holidays. Keep these decorating tips in mind as you brainstorm ideas.

The Olympic Spirit: Athletic Toys and Training Gear

The Olympics are already underway and the opening ceremony takes place tonight. In the Olympic spirit of athletic competition, we’ve assembled some of our favorite kids’ athletic toys and adult athletic training gear.

Toys to Start Their Training

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Boxing is one of the oldest and most honorable sports in the Olympics. Get your kid into fighting shape with this Standing Punching Bag Set. It features a built-in rebound and an adjustable height. For ages 4 and up.

Basketball and Soccer both have a unique history in the Olympics. Now your kid can stay up practicing their skills with a Franklin GLOMAX Ball. All are made of PVC, except for the basketball, which is made of rubber.

Get In Shape — Stay In Shape

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It’s never too late to start getting your body in shape. Start your active lifestyle in a fashionable way with the Women’s Set of 2 Sporty Leggings. Each pair has a comfortable, spandex design and an elastic waistband.

Take care of your body after a long workout with the Hot/Cold Back Therapy Wrap. Its quilted design on the back keeps the beads evenly distributed. Just microwave or freeze the wrap and secure with fabric-magic.

The Olympic Torch Relay: What You Need to Know

Even for longtime fans of the Olympic Games, the origins and symbolism of the Olympic Torch Relay isn’t always entirely clear. One of the iconic symbols of the modern Games, the Olympic flame has some deep roots in the ancient Olympics and Greek mythology, as well as a newer history that dates back to the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam. Although the Olympic torch has been in motion for over three months, it’s not too late to catch the final stretch on August 5th. Read on to learn some facts about the Olympic Torch Relay.

Ancient Origins
The flame has always been an important symbol of the Olympic Games. It symbolizes the titan Prometheus stealing fire from Mount Olympus and giving it to mankind. Fire was a divine symbol in Ancient Greece, and the Olympic flame was known to burn continuously throughout the ancient Games just as it does today.

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Temple of Hera in Olympia, Greece where the Olympic flame is first lit.

Modern Rebirth
The rebirth of the Olympic flame occurred at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam. As continues to be tradition, the flame was lit in a cauldron in the main stadium, but the introduction of the relay was still years away. It wasn’t until the 1936 Olympics in Berlin that the relay began to take shape, even if it wasn’t totally refined.

The First Relay
Both the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam and the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles lit the Olympic flame at their home stadium where the events were held. The 1936 Olympics in Berlin took the lighting of the flame to the next level, a process that’s been repeated ever since, with the flame lit in Olympia and taken to the host city.

Starting in Olympia
The lighting of the Olympic flame always starts in Olympia, and is still lit in one of the known places where it was lit in the ancient Games, at the site of the Temple of Hera. The ancient Greeks utilized a mirror-like tool called a skaphia to light the flame using the sun, a process now mimicked with a parabolic mirror and torch.

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Land, Sea or Air
Once the flame is lit in Athens, it has to be transported to the host nation. As was the case in 2016, the torch had to be transported across the ocean from Athens to Brazil. Because the Olympics take the torch to many different places around the globe, it must travel by air and sea. Once in the host nation it begins its journey.

Special Precautions
The Olympic flame is never supposed to go out. It’s placed in a special container when traveling to secure it during air travel. But special precautions don’t always work. The flame has gone out during the relay several times. However, it is always re-lit with a backup flame that’s also from the first lighting ceremony in Olympia.

Torch Bearers
The longest relay in the history of the Olympics was in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. It took place over 8,000 miles and went to some pretty crazy places. This year in Rio the torch will travel over 12,000 miles on land alone. It seems like a chore, but with over 12,000 torch bearers participating, the effort is evenly shared.

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Opening Ceremony
The final stretch of the relay brings the Olympic flame into the main stadium where the opening ceremony is held, depositing the flame into a cauldron which burns during the entire length of the Olympics. The closing ceremony of each Olympic Games finally extinguishes the flame, waiting until the Winter Games to be re-lit.