Put that backyard to good use! There’s no greater, more American way to spend an afternoon with friends and family than playing some football.
Most backyard football games use ad hoc house rules which vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, or even from household to household. Do you have “house rules” for your football games? Not sure what the standards are? Let us help!
First we need to organize the teams. If teams haven’t already been pre-selected, two Team Captains are appointed and take turns picking available players to be on their team.
If there are an odd number of players, the extra player will usually serve as an “official quarterback” or an “all-time QB” who plays offense during the game and can’t run the ball past the line of scrimmage.
Teams are usually identified by shirts vs skins, but in some cases low-cost pinnies are used.
Playing the Game
The two teams organize for the kickoff, but due to size and skill limitations, in many cases a kickoff is replaced with a punt-off or throw-off. As with regular American football, each team has four downs per series, which is accomplished when the team with the ball completes two passes, or reaches a certain point in the field. Because of size and player limitations, most backyard football games can’t maintain the 10-yard first down familiar with most organized leagues.
The use of a center is optional, depending largely on the house rules and the way plays start (eg: the QB picks up the ball directly) are generally used in place of a snap. Play goes on until there’s a turnover on downs, the ball is intercepted, or the offensive team scores a touchdown.
Touchdowns are worth 6, 7, or 1 point, depending on the house rules, which are entirely up to you and how you’d like to play the game.
Generally, field goals and extra point kicks aren’t an option due to space limitations, and because streets and backyards generally don’t have goal posts.
When a touchdown is scored, the offensive team will stay in the end zone where they just scored and the other team will go to the main field and perform the kickoff. Until an interception or turnover on downs, both teams defend and attempt to score on the same end zone.
Ending the Game
The game ends when a team has scored a predetermined number of touchdowns, or an arbitrary time is reached (eg: dinner is ready, or it becomes too dark outside to play safely.)
Penalties are rare in backyard football, and generally are only enforced in the most exceptional of cases, such as a serious injury or blatant interference. Most games don’t have referees and operate based on the honor system. Whatever rules you make for your game, great fun will be had by all!
More Ways to Enjoy Your Backyard:
- Best 5 Minute Games to Play With Your Kids in the Backyard
- Should You Put Chickens in Your Backyard in Savannah?
- 5 Savannah Lawn Service Secrets
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