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American Football History

What is a down in NFL football?

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Wiki User
September 30, 2008 6:09PM

You get four chances (downs) to advance the ball 10 yards. If you get the 10 yards then you get 4 more "downs" to work with. However, if you fail to advance 10 yards then the opponent gets the ball at the point of your last play (except in the case of a punt). Typically, if a team does not get the 10 yards after the 3rd down then they will punt on the 4th down in order to make the opponent start further back.