In American football, a team has 4 attempts (downs) to advance the ball at least 10 yards (aprox. 10 meters) and earn another 4 downs. When it is first down, we say, "It's first and ten." If the team advances the ball 3 yards in their first attempt, then it is "second and seven" and so forth. If a team has been pushed back, they could have more than 10 yards to go in order to achieve a new first down. The team in this phrase has failed to advance the ball and is in serious trouble.