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# What does 2nd down and 5 yards mean?

Updated: 12/9/2022

Wiki User

12y ago

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In "gridiron" football (i.e., the varieties played mainly in Canada and US), a team in possession of the football must advance the ball ten yards in order to retain possession of the ball. That team is allowed a certain number of attempts to do so. In football parlance, those attempts are called "downs." In the game as played in the US, a team is allowed four downs in which to advance the ball ten yards. In Canadian football, a team gets only three downs.

"Second down" means that the team has already made one attempt to advance the ball (and was able to advance it five yards). Now it is about to make the second attempt. "Second down and five yards to go" (which is usually shortened to "second and five") means that the team now must advance five more yards. If that team does gain an additional five or more yards, it is awarded another set of downs.

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