Understanding: The Swansea Titans

by Meryl Hanmer

The Swansea University American football team, ‘The Titans’ are a force to be reckoned with on the field, year after year out performing their toughest rivals. In recent weeks, their training regimes have been rigorous, their commitment undeniable and with Varsity fast approaching their confidence is unwavering.

After joining the Titans in 2014 as a linebacker, Tom Mann has risen through the ranks to become this year’s club president. When asked to give his score predictions for the 2018 Varsity match he had this to say,

“We’re all very much looking forward to finishing off the season on a big win with the Swansea crowd behind us! Last year’s score was 40-7 (Swansea win), so this year we’ll try to beat that, so we will go with a strong 47-0 prediction.”

The Waterfront paper is certainly ready to report such a strong and assured post-game score! All fingers crossed for our Swansea Titans!

Although many of us are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to support our American football team on the 25th April, how many actually understand the game rules and purposes? For those who don’t here is a quick “idiots guide” to understanding the game.

The game essentials:
Two teams of eleven players each on the field
The game is made up of four 12 minute quarters
Three time-outs are permitted per half for each team
Half time is 15 minutes long
There is a 15 minute sudden-death overtime should the scores be tied

The games ultimate purpose is to move the ball into the opposition’s ‘end zone’. This is achieved either by running with the ball or throwing it downfield to a team-mate.

Player positions
Despite there being only eleven players on the field at any one time, the entire American football team is actually made up of around 50 players.
The offence – these are the teams attacking players who aim to move the ball down field and ultimately score touchdowns. Typically, a centre ‘snaps’ the ball back between his legs to the quarter-back who then can either run with the ball, hand it to a running back or pass it to one of his receivers.
The defence – their role is to prevent the other team from scoring. They attempt to tackle or ‘sack’ the quarterback before he throws the balls, intercept passes or cause a ‘fumble’ by knocking the ball from the ball-carriers grasp.

Downs
Through the game the offence needs to move the ball forward in chunks of at least 10 yards and they have four chances, or ‘downs’ to gain this required yardage. When the ball has advanced the full 10 yards, they are granted an additional set of downs. If the team fails to move forward this distance within four downs, they surrender possession.

Game scoring
A touchdown = six points – a touchdown is scored when a team crosses into the opponent’s end zone with the ball, or catches the ball while in the end zone. This can be scored from anywhere on the field and on any down.
A field goal = three points – this is achieved when a player kicks the ball through the posts, or ‘uprights’.
An extra point = 1 or 2 points – immediately following a touch down the ball is placed on the opponent’s two-yard line and then the offense has two options. First, to kick the ball through the uprights to secure one point (called the point after touchdown, PAT) or the second option is to once again take the ball into the end zone to secure two points.

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