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Football Differences – NFL, NCAA and AFL

Changing your television channel from NFL to NCAA or even to AFL may get you confused. Each has the same football game fundamentals but is rather unique from one another. To understand the pro league, college football and arena game better, here are their significant differences.

The Field

The professional, college and large high-school football have identical field dimensions. Minus the end zone, the regulation football field is 100 yards long and divided into 10, 10 yards parts (the field is 53 1/3 yards wide). On each end, there is a goal post that stands 10 feet high and 18.5 feet wide for the NFL. NCAA uses a much wider goal post measuring at 23 feet and 4 inches wide. The yards are measured from each respective end zone until they meet in the middle field indicated with a 50-yard marker. In arena football, the indoor field is much shorter with just 50 yards long with 2 eight-foot end zone at opposite ends. The goal post for the arena game varies in widths.

The Clock

A professional football game runs for 60 minutes which is divide into four 15-minute quarters. This is also use for the college and arena game. High school football game, on the other hand, runs 12 minutes shorter at four 12-minute quarters. Another difference is the amount of time that is allow for the team to consume in between plays.

The overtime system varies widely. In case of a tie at the end of regulation, the professional game goes into sudden death. That is, the first team to score is the victor within the 15-minute overtime period. In most college games, both teams trade possessions in a “shootout.” The team who scores without the other team doing the same wins the game. The arena football uses both the college and professional football overtime systems.

The Play

The professional, NCAA and other large secondary schools employ 11-man players on the field on each side. The arena games and other smaller secondary schools have only 8 players on the field. Moreover, the term “out of bounds” is use differently from each league. For example, the player from NFL has to have both feet inside the field to considered inbound and to score a touchdown if at the end zone. An NCAA player only has to have a foot inside the field to score a touchdown at the end zone.

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