Football, game played on a rectangular field by two opposing teams with an inflated leather ball that is roughly oval in shape. The object of the game is to score points by carrying the ball across the opponentís goal line or by kicking the ball through the opponentís goalposts. Football is considered a full-contact sport, meaning that play involves bodily contact by way of checking, blocking, grabbing, and tackling. Because of the rough physical nature of the game, playing football can cause injuries.
This article focuses on the game of American football, a distinct type of football that developed in the United States in the 19th century. It developed out of two other sports, soccer (originally known as association football) and rugby football, each of which remains a separate sport with its own specific set of rules. American football differs slightly in rules and field size from a style of football played mostly in Canada, called Canadian football. Other varieties of the game popular in different parts of the world include Australian football and Gaelic football. For more on Australian football, see the Australia article.
Played by professionals and amateurs (generally male high school and college students), football is one of the most popular American sports, attracting thousands of participants and millions of spectators annually. The sportís premier event is the championship game of the National Football League (NFL), which is called the Super Bowl. For decades this event was held in January, but more recently it has been held in early February. The Super Bowl is watched by millions every year, usually the biggest audience for a single televised event the whole year. College football holds a series of bowl games for its top teams in December and January, and these also attract high levels of interest from fans.