American football, known in the United States and Canada  simply as football, is a competitive team sport. The object of the game is to advance the football towards the opposing team’s end zone and score points. The ball can be advanced by carrying the ball, or by throwing or handing it from one teammate to the other. Points can be scored in a variety of ways, including carrying the ball over the goal line, throwing the ball to another player past the goal line or kicking it through the goal posts on the opposing side. The winner is the team with the most points when the time expires and the last play ends.
Outside of the United States and Canada, the sport is usually referred to as American football (or sometimes as gridiron or gridiron football) to differentiate it from other football games, especially association football (soccer) and rugby football. In Japan, it is referred to as “amefuto” (an abbreviation). American football evolved as a separate sport from rugby football in the late 19th century. Arena football is an invented variant of American football. Canadian football, which also descended from rugby, is closely related to the American sport with a few key differences; the word “football” in Canada can mean American football or Canadian football depending on context. Many in both Canada and the northern United States consider American and Canadian football to be two codes of the same game.
- ^ The word “football” in Canada can mean American football or Canadian football depending on context. An Association for Canadian Studies survey finds that more Canadians watch the National Football League than the Canadian Football League (PDF file), but both codes are popular in Canada.