How long is an NFL game? American football rules as Bengals face Rams in Super Bowl 2022 in Los Angeles

American football rules for dummies as Cincinnati Bengals go head to head with Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl 2022.

Super Bowl Sunday sees Cincinnati Bengals face Los Angeles Rams to be crowned champions of the NFL 2021 season.

The Bengals are hoping for their first Super Bowl win and NFL title of the Super Bowl era, while the LA Rams are searching for their second success in the big game.

But the Super Bowl is not just a time for avid fans to watch American football, it's a time for casual supporters to tune in and sometimes watch their only game of the year.

Some of that is because of the glitz and glam of the event which is arguably at its most bright when the halftime show rolls around.

However, we have 60 minutes of American football to watch as well and for some out there who might be wondering how long the Super Bowl will last, here is everything you need to know.

How long is an NFL game?

NFL games last 60 minutes across four quarters but unlike some UK sports, the clock actually stops at numerous points.

This can happen after an incomplete pass, penalty, change of possession, end of a quarter or the clock hitting two minutes at the end of the second quarter and fourth quarter.

All in all, NFL games usually last around three hours roughly. With a halftime show expected to run around 30 minutes, Super Bowl 2022 should finish around 3am UK time.

American football rules

Many people tuning into the Super Bowl tonight will know exactly what the rules are in the NFL, but here are some basics for those that don't know.

There are three key aspects of a team, offense, defense and special teams. One team's offense and the other's defense mirror each other depending on which offense has the ball for the most part, while on several occasions throughout the game both teams will have their special teams out there on the field (usually fourth down).

The offense has four chances to move the ball ten yards. If they fail to do that then the opposition offense takes the field where they failed to convert the fourth down. Usually a fourth down will result in a kick (punt) to the opposition to gain better field position.

If an offense goes past the line to gain, they earn a first down and the four attempts to gain ten yards resets. This is why third downs are the biggest plays in the game usually as a team would be unlikely to go for it on fourth down inside their own half as they would give the ball to the opposition near their own endzone.

If the offense is close enough, a fourth down could result in a field goal attempt.

NFL points scoring

This brings us neatly to the points scoring. A touchdown is worth six points, with the offense then having the chance to kick an extra point or find the endzone again from two yards out for an extra two points. Usually teams go with the simpler extra point to make the touchdown/extra point combination seven points.

A field goal is worth three points for an offense, and a defense can earn two points (safety) for their side when they tackle (sack) the quarterback in their own endzone or the ball rolls out of the back of the offense's own endzone. 

Hopefully this helps some novices out there, enjoy!

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