What is a series in football?

The term series in football refers to the set of four downs a team has to reach the first down marker.

In football teams advance the ball down the field through these four down series. Each time a team picks up a first down or gains possession of the ball they will start a new series.

During the four plays of the series, the offense will attempt to move the ball forward ten yards in order to get a new set of downs.

If a team reaches the marker on any of the four downs it will result in a first down.

The term series is used to reference these sets of plays that take place while the team attempts to gain the first down.

What is a down in football?

To get a better understanding of what a series is in football it is helpful to understand downs.

A down is essentially another name for a play. Downs start when the ball is snapped and conclude when the play is blown dead.

In each series, a team will have four downs to move the ball. These downs are named 1st down, 2nd down, 3rd down, and 4th down.

3rd downs are especially important in football as they are often the last attempt by the offense to move the ball forward. If an offense fails to reach the first-down marker on third down they will often punt the ball away.

On some occasions teams will risk it and go for it on fourth down. When this happens the fourth down is the most important play of the series.

This is because failing to convert on fourth down means the other team is going to get possession of the football.

Since teams do not want to give their opponents great field position a punt is often the best option.

Each time a team gets possession of the ball or gets to the first down maker they will start again at 1st down.

The worst-case scenario of a drive in football is a three-and-out. This means the offense only performed three plays and then gave up possession of the ball.

The teams will spend these four downs moving the ball down the field. A series in football refers to a set of downs. Once the four downs are concluded or the ball is turned over the series is completed.

If the team gets the first down then a new series of downs will be started.

What is a drive in football?

One more term that may allow you to get a better understanding of downs and series in football is drive.

In football, the term drive is used to describe the possession of the football as a whole.

Say a team gets the ball and marches all the way downfield picking up several first downs along the way. This would be considered a drive.

Drives consist of many downs and usually quite a few series as well. Drives do not necessarily have to be long. In fact, they can consist of only one play if the team turns the ball over.

Here is an easy way to remember what a drive is in football. It starts when a teams offense takes the field and ends when the offense leaves the field.


I hope you have enjoyed our guide to understanding what a series is in football.

Remember a down is a single play of football. A series is a group of up to four downs. And a drive in football represents all the plays that happen in one possession of the ball.

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