Do You Know More About the NFL Than the Average American?



By: Gavin Thagard

6 Min Quiz

Image: Corey Jenkins/Image Source/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Over the course of the 20th century, the popularity of the NFL has risen to the top of American culture. It is almost a tradition, much like Christmas or Thanksgiving, for friends and family to gather around the big screen in the living room on Sunday and Monday nights to watch their favorite teams duke it out on the football field. The only difference with this tradition is that it lasts throughout the entire fall and well into the winter. 

It's no surprise then that Americans are trying to learn more and more about the NFL each day. They are becoming more invested in the debates and controversies that surround the league, and that knowledge is becoming more commonplace, with analysts and commentators at the ready to break down every aspect of the NFL from team decisions to on-the-field strategy. You might start to wonder if you still know more about the game than the average American. 

Here's a quiz where you can test your knowledge of the NFL. Do you think you have what it takes to ace this quiz? How much more do you really know about the NFL than other Americans anyway? If you think you would school most people on the subject, get started and prove it!

How many teams are in the NFL?

The first Super Bowl took place in 1967. The game pitted the Green Bay Packers against the Kansas City Chiefs.


How many conferences are in the NFL?

The Packers captured the first Super Bowl title by defeating the Chiefs 35-10. The Packers would return to the championship game the next season, defeating the Raiders 33-14.


Which player usually throws the ball?

Peyton Manning played quarterback for the Colts and Broncos throughout his legendary career. During that career, Manning won five NFL MVP awards, more than any other player.


Which player snaps the ball?

Many coaches and general managers believe that the offensive line is key to a successful offense. They will start there and build out, as skilled players are often easier to find.


Where is the ball snapped from?

No quarterback is better at controlling the line of scrimmage than Tom Brady. His ability to audible and make checks is why he is a five-time Super Bowl champion.


How many points is a touchdown worth?

Emmitt Smith, former running back for the Cowboys, scored more rushing touchdowns than any player in NFL history. When he retired in 2004, he had scored 164 rushing touchdowns.


How many points is a field goal worth?

Morten Andersen kicked 565 successful field goals throughout his career. That's an outstanding 1,695 points he scored.


What does it mean if the referee throws a yellow flag?

Players once were penalized for celebrations in the end zone after scoring a touchdown. The NFL has lightened up the rule in recent years, limiting only certain actions.


How long is the football field without the end zones?

The last time a play went 99 yards in the NFL was in 2011. It was on a pass from Eli Manning to Victor Cruz against the New York Jets.


What determines who gets the ball first?

Teams that win the coin toss are given the option of receiving the ball in the first half or the second half. Since this rule was introduced in 2008, coaches have increasingly decided to receive the ball in the second half.


How long is each quarter in a game?

Time management really boils down to two contrasting theories. Some teams want to get in as many plays as possible per quarter, while others choose to run the clock down methodically throughout the game.


How many downs do you have to get a first down?

A successful run game can demoralize a defense. If an offense can get first down after first down from running the ball, the defense wears down, and their play starts to suffer.


How does a football game start?

NFL rosters are filled with players who are specifically used for special teams. These players might rarely see the field otherwise.


What can an offense do to change field position on fourth down?

In 1969, Jets punter Steve O'Neal beamed a punt that went 98 yards, the longest distance in NFL history. O'Neal was only a rookie when that ball left his foot.


How many offensive players need to be on the line of scrimmage?

Offenses use various formations to confuse the defense. Occasionally, they will move more players to one side of the ball than the other, known as an unbalanced look.


How long is the play clock between each play?

Peyton Manning was a master at utilizing the play clock. He often yelled crazy words and phrases, many of which meant nothing, while the play clock ran down.


What is it called if the play clock runs out before the ball is snapped?

Inexperienced quarterbacks will get a delay of game call when they can't communicate with their offense. The penalty is most common when teams are playing away games and the crowd is roaring.


How many players are allowed on one side of the ball?

Teams use various formations on both defense and offense. The defense is constantly trying to match the offense, which puts the defense at a disadvantage.


Which team plays in the AFC North?

The Steelers have more Super Bowls than any other NFL team. The franchise won its sixth and latest Super Bowl in 2009.


Who is the head coach of the New England Patriots?

Bill Belichick has seven Super Bowls as a head coach and defensive coordinator. His first two came while he was coaching beside Bill Parcells with the New York Giants.


What penalty is called if the quarterback is hit late?

The NFL is often criticized for protecting certain quarterbacks over others. For example, hits on Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers are often missed because of Newton's physical running style.


What is it called if the quarterback is tackled while he has the ball?

Bruce Smith, who played for the Buffalo Bills, finished his career as the all-time sack leader. When he retired, he had gotten to the quarterback 200 times.


Which team plays in the NFC West?

The Rams offense in the late '90s and early '00s was known as "The Greatest Show on Turf." It was led by star players like Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk and Isaac Bruce.


How many referees call an NFL game?

In 2012, the NFL experienced a referee lockout over a labor dispute. The replacement referees were highly criticized throughout the dispute for missed calls on the field.


How many yards is a false start penalty?

In 2017, the San Francisco 49ers committed 23 false start penalties during the regular season. Strangely, 13 of those were at home in front of their own crowd.


Which team plays in the same division as the Falcons?

The Saints and Falcons rivalry has been quite intense the past few years. Both teams are led by elite quarterbacks and have shared playoff appearances, occasionally​ at the expense of the other.


Who is the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks?

Pete Carroll coached the Seahawks to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances at the end of the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Led by a tough defense, the Seahawks won the Super Bowl in 2013 but lost to the Patriots in 2014.


What is it called if the defense catches a pass?

The Seahawks lost the 2014-15 Super Bowl on a goal-line interception near the end of the game. The play was widely criticized because the Seahawks had Marshawn Lynch, one of the best running backs in the league, and chose not to give him the ball.


Which position usually covers wide receivers on the outside of the field?

Deion Sanders dominated the NFL at the cornerback position throughout the '90s. He had an ability to turn it on in important moments, which earned him the nickname "Primetime."


Which team plays in the AFC South?

Prior to 1984, the Colts were located in Baltimore. The franchise moved to Indianapolis as fan attendance dwindled and the team's stadium deteriorated in Baltimore.


Where is the ball moved to on a touchback in the NFL?

The NFL used to move the ball to the 20-yard line. However, in an attempt to stop kickoff returns, the NFL changed it to the 25-yard line.


In what city are the Cowboys located?

The Cowboys refer to themselves as "America's Team." The name was given to the team in a 1978 highlight film.


How many yards is an offensive holding penalty​?

The offensive tackle position is responsible for protecting the blind-side of a quarterback. Few were better at this than Jonathan Ogden, who protected several different quarterbacks for the Baltimore Ravens throughout his career.


How long is NFL overtime?

If a team scores a touchdown on their first possession in overtime, they win the game. The Broncos defeated the Steelers with this rule in the 2012 AFC playoffs when Tim Tebow hit Demaryius Thomas for an 80-yard touchdown.


Which team plays in the NFC East?

Lawrence Taylor is one of the greatest players in Giants' history. In the '80s, he revolutionized the linebacker position with his ability to sack the quarterback from anywhere on the field.


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