Speedback is football distilled to its very essence. You play as a running back, who must run the ball past waves of defenders into the end zone. If you get tackled, you lose a 'life' or a possession as it is called in this game, which makes more sense given that it's football. You get 3 lives, and you get an extra possession for every third level you beat. The starting positions are formations that cycle between a set of several, but as you progress the defenders get smarter and faster.