2-Point Conversion: When a team that just scored a touchdown starts a play at the opponent’s 2-yard line (3-yard line
3-3-5 Defense: A variation of the Nickel formation with 3 linemen (2 De & 1 DT), 3 linebackers (2 OLB & 1 MLB), and
3-4 Defense: A defensive formation with 3 linemen and 4 linebackers. A professional derivative in the 1970s of th
4-3 Defense: A defensive formation with 4 linemen and 3 linebackers. Several variations are employed. First used
4-4-4 Defense: Illegal participation (name so derived from the fact that 4+4+4=12 men on the field; each team is li
46 Defense: (pronounced forty-six defense) a formation of the 4-3 defense (four linemen and three linebackers) i
50 Defense: A once popular college defense with 5 defensive linemen and 2 linebackers. Also known as the 'Oklaho
A-11 Offense: An offensive philosophy designed to appear as if all 11 players are eligible receivers. The offense
Air Raid: An offensive philosophy derived from the West Coast Offense but adapted to the shotgun formation. In
Air Yards: The yards gained by a pass through the air. It is the distance gained by a pass forward of the line
All-Purpose Yardage: The sum of all yards gained by a player who is in possession of the ball during a play. This include
Astroturf: An artificial surface used instead of grass on many football fields.
Audible: A play called by the quarterback at the line of scrimmage to make a change from the play that was ca
Automatic First Down: For several of the most severe fouls against the defensive team, a first down is awarded to the offe
Back: A position behind the offensive and defensive linemen. Offensively, mostly used for running plays: R
Backfield: The area behind the line of scrimmage.
Backs: The running backs; the halfback and the fullback.
Backup: A second string player who does not start the game, but comes in later in relief of a starter.
Backward Pass: A pass thrown to the side or backward. Also called 'onside pass' in Canadian football. There is no l
Ball Carrier: Any player who has possession of the ball.
Ball Security: The ability of a player to maintain control over the football during play and thus avoid a fumble.
Ballcarrier: Any player who attempts to advance the ball during a rushing play, or any player in possession of th
Beat: When a player gets past an opponent trying to block or tackle him.
Blackout: When a regional network TV affiliate is forbidden from showing a local game because it is not sold o
Blitz: A defensive maneuver in which one or more linebackers or defensive backs, who normally remain behind
Blocking: When a player obstructs another player's path with his body. Examples: Cut block, Zone block, Trap b
Blocking Back: Early name for quarterback
Blocking Sled: A heavy piece of practice equipment, usually a padded angular frame on metal skids, used for develop
Blowout: A game in which one team dominates another in scoring from an early point in the contest.
Bomb: A long pass thrown to a receiver sprinting down the field.
Bootleg: An offensive play predicated upon misdirection in which the quarterback pretends to hand the ball to
Bowl Game: A college football game played in late-December or early-January, after the regular season, between
Bump-And-Run: A technique used by pass defenders, where they hit a receiver once within 5 yards (1 yard in college
Bust: Term often used to refer to a player, usually one drafted in the first day of the NFL Draft, who fai
Buttonhook: The buttonhook route is when a receiver runs straight upfield a certain distance and then plants har
Call A Play: Instruct players to execute a pre-planned play.
Carry: Or carries is a statistic referring to the number of times a rushing player attempts to advance the
Center (C): A player position on offense. The center usually snaps the ball. The middle lineman is not always th
Center-Eligible: A trick play (made famous by the film M*A*S*H) wherein at the snap, the entire offe
Chain: The 10-yard long chain that is used by the chain crew (aka 'chain gang') to measure for a new series
Checkdown: The checkdown pass is when the quarterback has to complete a short pass to a running back or tight e
Chop Block: Similar to a cut block in which one offensive player blocks a defensive player below the knees and a
Chuck And Duck: A degrading way to refer to the Run And Shoot offensive strategy.
Clipping: An illegal block in which the victim is blocked from the back and at or below the waist; the penalty
Coffin Corner: The corner of the field of play. A punter, if he is close enough, will often attempt to kick the bal
Comeback Route: A receiver or tight end route where the player runs straight upfield a specified number of yards (co
Complete Pass: A forward pass to a teammate who catches it in the air.
Completion Percentage: The percentage of passes thrown by a player that are completed. For example, if a running back throw
Conferences: Groups into which teams are divided in professional and college football; the NFL is divided into Na
Contain: A defensive assignment. On outside runs such as the sweep, one defensive player (usually a cornerbac
Controlling The Game Clock: The use of tactics by an offensive team to either save or use up time on the game clock, which often
Cornerback (CB): A defensive back who lines up near the line of scrimmage across from a wide receiver. Their primary
Counter: A running play in which the running back will take a step in the apparent direction of the play (ie,
Cover: There are two general schemes for defending against the pass: Man-to-man, where each eligible receiv
Cover Four Coverage: As above, with the corners and safeties dropping into deep coverage, with each taking one-fourth of
Cover One Coverage: Man-to-man coverage with at least one safety not assigned a player to cover who can help out on deep
Cover Or Coverage: Preventing a player from gaining yards; in pass coverage, a defender follows a receiver to prevent h
Cover Three Coverage: Zone coverage as above, but with extra help from Strong Safety/Cornerback, so that each player cover
Cover Two Coverage: One coverage with the safeties playing deep and covering half the field each. Can be Cover 2 man, wh
Cover Zero Coverage: Strict man-to-man coverage with no help from safeties (usually a blitz play with at least five men c
Crackback Block: An illegal block delivered below the opponent's waist by an offensive player who had left the area o
Cut: A sharp change of direction by a running player. Also called a cutback.
Cut Back: A sudden change in direction taken by a to make it more difficult for defenders to follow and tackle
Cut Blocking: A blocking technique in which offensive linemen, and sometimes other blockers, block legally below t
Dead Ball: A ball becomes dead when a play is over and becomes live as soon as it is snapped for the next play.
Defensive Back (DB): A cornerback or safety position on the defensive team; commonly defends against wide receivers on pa
Defensive End (DE): A player position on defense who lines up on the outside of the defensive line and which principal f
Defensive Tackle (DT): A player position on defense on the inside of the defensive line and which principal function is to
Defensive Team: The team that begins a play from scrimmage not in possession of the ball.
Delay Of Game: A foul which occurs when the offensive team does not put the ball in play before the play clock runs
Dime Back: The second extra, or sixth total, defensive back. Named because a dime has the same value as two nic
Direct Snap: A play in which the ball is passed directly to the presumed ball carrier by the center. Contrast wit
Dive: A play in which the ball hand off to the running back and attacks the middle of the offensive format
Division: In the NFL, sub-groups within conferences, such as the Eastern, Northern, Southern and Western Divis
Double Coverage: When 2 defensive players cover one receiver.
Double Reverse: A play in which the ball reverses direction twice behind the line of scrimmage. This is usually acco
Double Wing: A formation with 2 tight ends & 2 wingbacks in which the snap is tossed by the center between his le
Down: A unit of the game that starts with a legal snap or legal free kick after the ball is ready for play
Down Box: The post used with the chain gang to mark the line of scrimmage and designate the current down.
Down Lineman: A player stationed in front of his line of scrimmage and who has either one (three-point stance) or
Down The Field: In the direction of the opponent’s goal line.
Draft Choice: A player chosen by a professional sports team from a pool of college players in an annual draft.
Draw Play: A play in which the quarterback drops back as if to pass, then hands off to a running back or runs w
Drive: The series of plays a team puts together in an attempt to score.
Drop Back: When a quarterback, after taking the snap, takes a few steps backward into an area called the pocket
drop kick: A kick in which the ball is dropped and kicked once it hits the ground and before it hits it again;
Dual Threat Quarterback: A quarterback who is skilled at both passing and rushing the ball. These quarterbacks may be difficu
Eligible Receivers: Players who may legally touch a forward pass. On the passer's team, these are: the ends (see below),
Encroachment: If a player (besides the center) is in the neutral zone and contact occurs prior to the snap; a foul
End Around: A play, often confused with a reverse, where the quarterback hands the ball off to a wide receiver.
End Line: The boundary line that runs the width of the field along each end.
End Zone: The area between the end line (or deadline in Canadian amateur football) and the goal line, bounded
Extra Point: A single point scored in a conversion attempt by making what would be a field goal during general pl
Face Mask: A foul in which a player grabs the face mask or helmet opening of another player's helmet, usually i
Fair Catch: When a kick returner decides only to catch a punt or kickoff and not advance it, protecting himself
Fair Catch: An unhindered catch of an opponent's kick. The player wanting to make one must signal for a fair cat
False Start: The sudden movement of the offense in an effort to draw the defense offsides.
Fantasy Football: A game in which the participants (called 'owners') each draft on their own or with the aid of softwa
Field Goal: A place kick that passes above the crossbar and between the uprights of the goalpost, earning the te
Field Goal: Score of 3 points made by place- or drop-kicking the ball through the opponent's goal other than via
Field Judge: The official traditionally in charge of timekeeping
Field Of Play: The area between both the goal lines and the sidelines, and in some contexts the space vertically ab
Field Position: The location of a team on the field relative to the two goal lines; good field position for a team i
First Down: The first of a set of four downs. Usually, a team which has a first down needs to advance the ball 1
Flanker: A player position on offense. A wide receiver who lines up in the backfield outside of another recei
Flat: An area on the field between the line of scrimmage and 10 yards into the defensive backfield, and wi
Flea Flicker: A trick play in which a running back throws a backward pass back to the quarterback, who then throws
Flexbone: A formation involving three running backs where a fullback is lined up behind the quarterback and tw
Formation: An arrangement of the offensive skill players. A formation usually is described in terms of how the
Forward Pass: A pass that touches a person, object, or the ground closer to the opponent's end line than where it
Forward Progress: The location to which a ball carrier has advanced the ball, even if he was pushed backwards after ge
Foul: A violation of football’s rules by a team or player, punishable by a penalty.
Four-Point Stance: A down lineman's stance with four points on the ground, in other words, his two feet and his two han
Fourth Down: The final of a set of four downs. Unless a first down is achieved or a penalty forces a replay of th
Fourth Down Conversion: The act of using a fourth down play to make a first down. These are comparatively uncommon. If a tea
Franchise: A team; the legal arrangement that establishes ownership of a team.
Free Agent: A player whose contract with his most recent team has expired, allowing him to sign a new contract w
Free Kick: A type of kick taken to start or restart play after a team has scored, with no defenders nearer than
Free Safety (FS): A player position on defense. Free safeties typically play deep, or 'center field', and often have t
Fullback (FB): A player position on offense. Originally, lined up deep behind the quarterback in the T formation. I
Fumble: When a ball carrier loses possession by dropping the ball or having it knocked away before a play en
Goal: A surface in space marked by a structure of two upright posts 18 feet 6 inches apart extending above
Goal Area: The end zone in Canadian professional football.
Goal Line: A line drawn across the width of the field, 10 yards inside each end line, which a team must cross w
Goalpost: A tall metallic structure that stands at the back of each end zone; consists of a crossbar and two u
Going For It: When a team facing a fourth down decides to try for a new first down instead of punting; if it fails
Grasping: A foul in which a player grabs the face mask or helmet opening of another player's helmet, usually i
Gridiron: Either (a) the field of play; a football field; or (b) the game itself, now often used to distinguis
Guard: OG one of two player positions on offense.
Gunner: The widest player on the line in a punting formation.
Gunslinger: Term for a quarterback who plays with an aggressive and decisive manner by throwing deep, risky pass
H-Back: A player listed in a roster or depth chart as a fullback but with better athletic / pass-catching ab
Hail Mary: A long pass play, thrown towards a group of receivers near the end zone in hope of a touchdown. Used
Halfback (HB): A player position on offense. Also known as a tailback.
Halfback Option Play: A trick play in which the halfback has the option to throw a pass or run
Halo Violation: From 1983 until the end of the 2002 season, in the NCAA (college football) the halo rule was a foul
Hand-Off: (also known as backward pass) a player's handing of a live ball to another player. The hand-off goes
Hands Team: A group of players, mostly wide receivers, that are responsible for recovering an onside kick. They
Hang Time: The length of time a punt is in the air.
Hard Count: A strategy used by offenses to convert on fourth down and less than five yards to go. An offense wil
Hash Marks: Lines between which the ball begins each play. The lines are parallel to and a distance in from the
Heisman Trophy: An award presented annually by the Downtown Athletic Club of New York to the best college football p
Hero: A term used by the Penn State football team to refer to the strong safety.
Hike: Synonym of 'snap' - the handoff or pass from the center that begins a play from scrimmage.
Holder: A player who holds the ball upright for a place kick. Often backup quarterbacks are used for their s
Holding: There are two kinds of holding: offensive holding, illegally blocking a player from the opposing tea
Home And Away: A method of scheduling opponents, such that the two teams play one game at each team's home stadium.
Home Field Advantage: The benefit a team gets by playing games in the area where it is based, due to fan support, familiar
Home Game: A game played in a team’s own stadium.
Hook And Ladder: A trick play in which a receiver (usually a wide receiver) runs a hook pattern (i.e., moving toward
Hook And Lateral: A trick play in which a receiver (usually a wide receiver) runs a hook pattern (i.e., moving toward
Huddle: An on-field gathering of members of a team in order to secretly communicate instructions for the upc
Hurry-Up Offense: An offensive strategy designed to gain as much yardage as possible while running as little time off
I Formation: A formation that includes a fullback and tailback lined up with the fullback directly in front of th
Illegal Formation: On offense, there must be exactly seven players lined up on the line of scrimmage for at least one c
Illegal Motion: On offense, a player may be in motion but cannot be going forward at the time of the snap (except in
Illegal Shift: On offense, only one person is allowed to be in motion at the snap. If not, it is an illegal shift.
In Bounds: The region of the field inside the sidelines and end lines.
Inbounds Lines: The hash marks.
Incomplete Pass: A forward pass that touches the ground before being caught.
Indirect Snap: A play in which the ball is handed to the quarterback rather than thrown directly to the ballcarrier
Ineligible Receiver: Certain players on the offense are not allowed to catch passes. For example, in most situations offe
Inside: Inside of a player's path: relatively close (in reference to the sides of the field) to where the ba
Intentional Grounding: A type of illegal forward pass; thrown without an intended receiver and no chance of completion to a
Interception: A pass caught in the air (picked off) by a defender whose team immediately gains possession of the b
Jack: Interior Linebacker (ILB) of the 3-4 formation, that plays in the weak side of the formation. Also k
Jumbo: An offensive package which includes two tight ends, a full back and a half back. Similar to heavy ju
Kick: As a verb, to strike the ball deliberately with the foot; as a noun, such an action producing a punt
Kick Returner: A player on the receiving team who specializes in fielding kicks and running them back.
Kicker (K): Player who specializes in placekicking (i.e. Field goals and kick offs).
Kickoff: When a player kicks a ball from a tee at his own 30-yard line (35 in college) to the opposing team,
Kneel: A low risk play in which the player in possession of the ball kneels down after receiving the snap,
Lateral: A pass thrown to a teammate backwards from the team’s line of scrimmage or parallel to it; unlike
Letterman: A player who has been awarded a 'letter' for excellence in an activity, especially a varsity sport.
Letterwinner: A player who has been awarded a 'letter' for excellence in an activity, especially a varsity sport.
Line Of Scrimmage: One of two vertical planes parallel to the goal line when the ball is to be put in play by scrimmage
Line To Gain: A line parallel to the goal lines, such that having the ball dead beyond it entitles the offense to
Linebacker (LB): A player position on defense. The linebackers typically play 1 to 6 yards behind the defensive linem
Lineman: A defensive or offensive position on the line of scrimmage. On offense, the player snapping the ball
Live Ball: Any ball that is in play, whether it is a player's possession or not. The ball is live during plays
Live Ball Foul: A foul given for various infractions such as changing numbers during a game
Long Snapper: A center who specializes in the long, accurate snaps required for punts and field goal attempts. Mos
Loose Ball: A ball that is not in possession of either team, such as after a fumble or a kickoff; it can be reco
Lost Gems: A term coined for undrafted free agents that have played well, much like steals, but steals have bee
Man Coverage: A defense in which all players in pass coverage, typically linebackers and defensive backs, cover a
Man-In-Motion: A player on offense who is moving backwards or parallel to the line of scrimmage just before the sna
Man-To-Man Coverage: A defense in which all players in pass coverage, typically linebackers and defensive backs, cover a
Margin Of Victory: The total difference in points in a game, expressed as possessed by the winning team.
Marty Ball: A conservative gameplan which involves an offense based around the use of halfbacks with use of the
Maryland-I: An I formation with three running backs aligned behind the quarterback in a straight line.
Max Protect: A modification used on pass plays (usually combined with a shotgun formation) which keeps the tight
Midfield: The 50-yard line, which divides the length of the field in half.
Mike (MLB): The middle linebacker in 4-3 formation. In the 3-4 formation Mike is the Interior Linebacker(ILB) th
Mo: Also known as Jack. The Interior Linebacker (ILB), 3-4 formation, that plays in the weak side of the
Motion: The movement of offensive players prior to the snap.
Mr. Irrelevant: The final player that is drafted within a class of draftees.
Muff: Loose ball that is dropped or mishandled while the player is attempting to gain possession.
Muffed Punt: Occurs when there is an 'uncontrolled touch' of the football after it is punted. May be recovered bu
National Association Of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA): Another governing body of college sports, including college football, whose member schools tend to b
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA): Principal governing body of college sports, including college football
National Football League (NFL): The largest professional American football league, with 32 teams.
Necessary Line: The imaginary line the offense must cross to achieve a new first down.
Neutral Zone: The region that contains the ball as it sits on the ground before each play; the area between the tw
NFL Championship: The game held from 1933 through 1965 to decide the champion of professional football; renamed the Su
NFL Europa: The NFL's former 6-team European spring league, which folded after its 2007 season.
Nickel Back: An extra, or fifth, defensive back. Named after the coin, worth five cents. Popularized by the Miami
Nickel Defense: When a defense brings in a 5th defensive back to replace a linebacker on the field, increasing its p
No Good: Unsuccessful. Often said of an unsuccessful field goal attempt.
No-Huddle Offense: A tactic wherein the offense quickly forms near the line of scrimmage without huddling before the ne
Nose Tackle: A tackle in a 3-man defensive line who lines up 'opposite the center's nose'.
Offending Team: The team that committed a foul.
Offensive Team: The team with possession of the ball
Offside: An infraction of the rule that requires both teams to be on their own side of their restraining line
On Downs: The term used to describe a team’s loss of possession if it fails to reach the necessary line on a
One Back Formation: A formation where the offensive team has one running back in the backfield with the quarterback. Oth
Onside Kick: A play in which the kicking team tries to recover the kicked ball.
Open Receiver: A player who has no defender closely covering him.
Option Offense: An offense heavily relying upon the option run and variations thereof.
Option Run: Usually, a type of play in which the quarterback has the option of handing off, keeping, or laterall
Out Of Bounds: The region of the field touching or outside the sidelines and end lines; as soon as a ball carrier o
Outside: Opposite of inside
Package: The group of players on the field for a given play. For example, the Nickel Package substitutes a co
Pancake: A particularly hard block that leaves the blocked player lying flat on the field. This statistic is
Pass Defender: A defensive player who covers an opposing receiver.
Pass Interference: When a player illegally hinders an eligible receiver's opportunity to catch forward pass.
Pass Patterns: Pre-determined paths receivers follow to help the passer quickly locate them so he can more easily g
Pass Protection: The use of blocking by the offensive line and backs to allow the quarterback time and space to throw
Pass Routes: Pre-determined paths receivers follow to help the passer quickly locate them so he can more easily g
Pass Rush: A surge by defenders to get past blockers and sack the quarterback.
Passer Rating: (also quarterback rating) a numeric value used to measure of the performance of quarterbacks. It was
Passing Play: A play in which a forward pass is made.
Pat: Point After Touchdown.
Personal Foul: A foul that might cause injury; punishable by a 15-yard penalty.
Pick: Use of one player to block a second player. Also used to describe an interception of a pass, e.g. A
Picked Off: Intercepted.
Pistol Formation: A hybrid version of the shotgun in which the quarterback lines up about 3 yards behind the center an
Pitch-Out: A lateral tossed from a quarterback to a running back.
Place Kick: A kick towards the goalpost for a field goal or extra point; held between the ground and another pla
Play: The plan of action the offensive team has for each snap, for example a running play or pass play
Play Action: A tactic in which the quarterback fakes either a handoff or a throw in order to draw the defense awa
Play Clock: A timer used to increase the pace of the game between plays. The offensive team must snap the ball b
Play-Action Pass: A passing play after the quarterback has faked a hand-off.
Playoffs: The post-season tournament that determines the NFL champion.
Pocket: An area on the offensive side of the line of scrimmage, where the offensive linemen attempt to preve
Point-After-Touchdown (PAT): A place kick taken from the opponent’s 2-yard line (3-yard line in college); awarded to a team tha
Pooch Kick: A punt or kickoff that is deliberately kicked with less than full force. It is often used in an atte
Position: A place where a player plays relative to teammates, and/or a role filled by that player
Possession: (a) having the ball on offense for a number of downs, ultimately resulting in either a score, a turn
Post Pattern: Sprint 8 to 10 yards, fake, look back at QB, then sprint deep at 45 degrees, the opposite pattern is
Preseason: In the NFL, games (in or around August) that do not count toward the final team standings. These gam
Prevent Defense: A defensive strategy that utilizes deep zone coverage in order to prevent a big pass play from happe
Previous Spot: Where the ball was snapped to begin the last play.
Pro Set: Offensive formation using two backs, lined up side-by-side 2-3 yards behind the quarterback, with on
Pulling: A term used to describe an offensive lineman who, instead of blocking the player in front of him, st
Pump Fake: When the quarterback fakes a pass and keeps the ball in his hand in an attempt to fool the defensive
Punt: A kick in which the ball is dropped and kicked before it reaches the ground. Used to give up the bal
Punt Return: When a punt is fielded by the receiving team and advanced for better field position. The punt return
Punter (P): A kicker who specializes in punting as opposed to place kicking.
Pylon: A short orange marker at each of the end zone’s 4 corners.
Quarter: One of four periods of play in a standard American football game. A quarter lasts for fifteen game c
Quarter Defense: Defensive formation with seven defensive backs, three down linemen and one linebacker.
Quarterback (QB): The leader of a team’s offense, he takes the snap from the center and either hands the ball to a r
Quarterback Controversy: A public outcry from fans or the media when a starting quarterback(sometimes injured and old) is per
Quarterback Scramble: On a called passing play, when the quarterback runs from the pocket in an attempt to avoid being sac
Quarterback Sneak: A play most commonly used in very short yardage or goal line situations. The Quarterback quickly sna
Quick Kick: An unexpected punt.
Rac: Short for Run After Catch. Amount of yardage gained after successful pass reception. A quarterback's
Reading The Defense: Recognition by the quarterback of the defensive formation; he may then call an audible to adjust the
Receiver: An offensive player who catches or attempts to catch a forward pass.
Reception: When a player catches (receives) the ball.
Recovery: To gain or regain possession of a fumble.
Red Flag: A weighted red marker thrown onto the field by a coach to tell the officials that he wants a certain
Red Shirt: A designation given to a college player who did not play in any games during a particular year due t
Red Zone: The imaginary area between the defense's 20-yard line and its goal line from which the offense is mo
Referee (R): The official who directs the other officials on the field, He is one of seven officials.
Regular Season: In college football, it is the portion of the season that is scheduled ahead-of-time by the schools.
Restraining Line: A team's respective line of scrimmage at a free kick, the line the ball is to be kicked from (for th
Return: An attempt by a player who has just caught an interception, punt, or kickoff to advance the ball the
Return Yards: Are those yards gained advancing the ball during play after a change of possession such as a punt or
Reverse: An offensive play in which a running back carries the ball toward one side of the field but hands or
Road Game: A game played in the opponent's home stadium. Games at neutral sites are generally not considered ro
Roll Out: When a quarterback runs parallel to the line, looking for a receiver.
Rookie: A first-year player in the NFL.
Rover: A hybrid safety that has duel responsibilities as a defensive back and a Linebacker. This is more co
Run And Shoot: An offensive philosophy designed to force the defense to show its hand prior to the snap of the ball
Run Out Of The Gun: Running the ball out of the shotgun formation, which is primarily a pass formation.
Running Back (RB): A player position on offense. Although the term usually refers to the halfback or tailback, fullback
Running Out The Clock: A game strategy that involves repeatedly executing simple plays that allow the game clock to continu
Running Play: A play where the offense attempts to advance the ball without a forward pass.
Running Up The Score: A generally discouraged practice in which a team, despite leading by several touchdowns (to the poin
Rush: 1. An attempt to tackle or hurry a player before he can throw a pass or make a kick. 2. A running pl
Rushing Average: (also yards per carry average) the quotient of a player's total rushing yards divided by the number
Sack: Tackling a ball carrier who intends to throw a forward pass. A sack is also awarded if a player forc
Safety: A player position on defense — see free safety and strong safety. A safety scored during a try sc
Safety Valve: A receiver whose job it is to get open for a short pass in case all other receivers are covered.
Sam: The strong side outside linebacker
Scatback: A Running Back that is generally very fast, and good at juking and making defenders miss as opposed
Scrambling: Evasive movements by a quarterback to avoid being sacked.
Screen Pass: A short forward pass to a receiver who has blockers in front of him. The receiver in this play is us
Scrimmage: See also play from scrimmage and line of scrimmage. An informal practice matchup, either between two
Secondary: Refers to the defensive 'backfield', specifically the safeties and cornerbacks. Primarily responsibl
Series: The group of 4 downs a team has to advance 10 yards.
Shield Punt: When 7 men line up on the line of scrimmage and immediately start to cover the punt while 3 offensiv
Shift: When two or more offensive players move at the same time before the snap. All players who move in a
Shooting: The action of a linebacker or defensive back to blitz
Shotgun Formation: Formation in which offensive team may line up at the start of a play. In this formation, the quarter
Side Zone: The area between a hash mark and a sideline
Sideline: One of the lines marking each side of the field. As adjective: on the field near a sideline.
Sideline: The boundary line that runs the length of the field along each side; a ball carrier or ball that tou
Single Wing: A term used to describe a diverse set of formations, now out of fashion but highly popular between 1
Single-Elimination: A tournament where a team is eliminated after one loss.
Slant: A receiver route. In the slant route, a receiver runs straight up field a few yards, plants his outs
Slobber-Knocker: A particularly gruesome tackle or hit.
Slot: The area between a split end and the offensive line. A pass receiver lined up in the slot at the sna
Snap: The handoff or pass from the center that begins a play from scrimmage.
Snap: When the center while facing forward quickly hands the ball between his legs to a player standing be
Snap Count: The 'hut' sound the quarterback will use to signal for the snap to be made.
Sneak: An offensive play in which the quarterback, immediately on receiving the snap dives forward with the
Special Teams: The units that handle kickoffs, punts, free kicks and field goal attempts. Often manned by second an
Spike: A play in which the quarterback throws the ball at the ground immediately after the snap. Technicall
Spiral: A ball passed or kicked with a spin which propels it further with more accuracy; the ball points the
Split End: A player position on offense. A receiver who lines up on the line of scrimmage, several yards outsid
Split-T: T formation in which the gaps between offensive guards & tackles are nearly twice as large as the ga
Splits: The distance between the feet of adjacent offensive linemen. Said to be wide, if there is a large ga
Spot: A location on the field, determined by an official, to mark forward progress or the place of a foul.
Squib Kick: A type of kickoff in which the ball is intentionally kicked low to the ground, typically bouncing on
Starter: A player who is the first to play his position within a given game or season. Depending on the posit
Steal: In case of players, they are the opposite of a bust, they are either: Players that are drafted later
Sticks: The pole attached to the end of the 10-yard chain that is used by the chain crew to measure for a ne
Stiff-Arm: A ballcarrier warding off a would-be tackler by pushing them away with a straight arm.
Straight-Arm: A ballcarrier warding off a would-be tackler by pushing them away with a straight arm.
Strong I: A formation wherein the tailback is lined up deep directly behind the quarterback, and the fullback
Strong Safety (SS): A kind of safety on defense, as opposed to a free safety. This is a central defensive back; original
Strong Side: Simplistically speaking, the side of the field (left or right) that has the most players, but it dep
Stuff: A tackle of a ball carrier on a running play, behind the line of scrimmage. Compare to sack.
Stunt: A tactic used by defensive linemen in which they switch roles in an attempt to get past the blockers
Succeeding Spot: Where the next play would start if no penalty was called.
Super Bowl: The championship game of the NFL, played between the champions of the AFC and NFC at a neutral site
Sweep: A running play in which several blockers lead a running back on a designed play to the outside. Depe
T Formation: A classic offensive formation with the quarterback directly behind the center and three running back
Tackle: A player position on both the offensive and defensive lines; there is usually a left and right offen
Tackle Box: The area between where the two offensive tackles line up prior to the snap.
Tackle Eligible: A lineman that lines himself up in the position of an eligible receiver.
Tackling: Contacting a ball carrier to cause him to touch the ground with any part of his body except his hand
Tailback (TB): Player position on offense farthest ('deepest') back, except in kicking formations. Also often refer
Take A Knee: A low risk play in which the player in possession of the ball kneels down after receiving the snap,
Territory: The half of the field a team protects against its opponents.
The Box: An area on the defensive side of the ball, directly opposite the offensive linemen and about 5 yards
Third-And-Long: When the offense faces a third down and is more than a short running play away from a first down; us
Three-And-Out: When an offensive team fails to gain a first down on the first three plays of a drive, and thus is f
Three-Point Conversion: A novelty play, in leagues such as the XFL and the proposed New USFL, that is nearly identical to th
Three-Point Stance: A down lineman's stance with three points on the ground, in other words, his two feet and one of his
Tight End (TE): A player position on offense, often known as Y receiver, lines up on the line of scrimmage, next to
Time Of Possession: The amount of time one team has the ball in its possession relative to the other team. Since there a
Total Offense: Is a statistic that combines yards rushing and yards passing.
Touchback: The act of downing the ball behind one's own goal line on a kickoff or punt after the ball had been
Touchdown (TD): A play worth six points, accomplished by gaining legal possession of the ball in the opponent's end
Trap: A basic blocking pattern in which a defensive lineman is allowed past the line of scrimmage, only to
Trick Play: Any of a variety of plays that use deception to catch the other team offguard. Famous trick plays in
Trips: A formation in which 3 wide receivers are lined up on the same side of the field, with one on the LO
True Freshman: A player who is one year out of high school. This contrasts with a redshirt freshman who has practic
Try: A try is a scrimmage down which is neither timed nor numbered, awarded to a team who has just scored
Turn The Ball Over On Downs: When a team uses all four of their downs without either scoring or making a first down, they must re
Turnover: The involuntary loss of possession of the ball during a play, either by a fumble or by throwing an i
Tweener: A player that plays 2 or more positions because he is a very gifted athlete who could not possess en
Two-Level Defense: A defense with only two, as opposed to the usual three, levels of defensive organization. Generally
Two-Minute Warning: A free time out given to both teams when there is two minutes left on the game clock in each half. C
Two-Point Conversion: A play worth two points accomplished by gaining legal possession of the ball in the opponent's end z
Types Of Coverage:: There are 5 main types of coverage: Cover Zero Coverage - Strict man-to-man coverage with no help fr
Unbalanced Line: Usually refers to an offensive formation which does not have an equal number of linemen on each side
Under Center: Refers to the quarterback lining up directly behind the center to take the snap. Contrast with shotg
Undrafted: A player who enters the NFL Draft but is not selected by any team in the draft's seven rounds. Undra
Upback: A player, in a scrimmage kick (punts and field goals) or kneel formations, who lines up behind the o
Upman: During a kickoff, every player on the return team is called an 'upman' with the exception of the one
Utility Player: A player capable of playing multiple positions
Veer: A type of option offense using 2 backs in the backfield, one behind each guard or tackle (referred t
Walk-On: In college, a non-scholarship player. I.e., a player who is not receiving a scholarship to play foot
Weak I: A formation wherein the tailback is lined up deep directly behind the quarterback, and the fullback
Weak Side: When one tight end is used, the side of the field opposite the tight end. In other offensive package
West Coast Offense: An offensive philosophy that uses short, high-percentage passes as the core of a ball-control offens
Wheel Route: A pass route in which the receiver, often a running back, travels parallel along the line of scrimma
Wide Receiver (WR): A player position on offense. He is split wide (usually about 10 yards) from the formation and plays
Wild Card: A team that makes the NFL playoffs by having one of the 2 best records among non-division winners in
Wildcat Offense: An offensive philosophy that dictates that either a quarterback or a running back can receive a dire
Will: The weak side linebacker
Win-Loss: The ratio of wins to loses, usually expressed as a pair of numbers. For example, 6-1 means 6 wins an
Wing Back (WB): A player position in some offensive formations (Flexbone). Lines up just outside the tight end and o
Winning Percentage: The percentage of its games a team has won during a period of time, given by the following formula:
Wishbone: A formation involving three running backs lined up behind the quarterback in the shape of a Y, simil
X-Receiver: Term used in play calling that usually refers to the split end, or the wide receiver that lines up o
Y-Receiver: Term usually used in offensive play calling to refer to the tight end. For example, 'Buffalo Right 5
Yac: Short for Yards After Contact. Amount of yardage gained after initial contact with/from a defender.
Yard: One yard of linear distance in the direction of one of the two goals. A field is 100 yards (120 when
Yard Line: A marking on the field that indicates the distance (in yards) to the nearest goal line.
Yardage: The amount of yards gained or lost during a play, game, season, or career.
Yards From Scrimmage: The amount of yards gained by the offensive team advancing the ball from the line of scrimmage.
Yellow Flag: A weighted yellow marker thrown onto the field by the officials to signify that a foul has been comm
Z-Receiver: A term used in offensive play calling that usually refers to the flanker, or the wide receiver that
Zebra: A colloquial term for an official, referring to their black-and-white striped uniform.
Zone Blitz: A defensive package combining a blitz with zone pass coverage. Allows the defense to choose the blit
Zone Cover: Where certain players (usually defensive backs and/or linebackers, though occasionally linemen as we
Zone Defense: A defense in which players who are in pass coverage cover zones of the field, instead of individual
Zone Read: A type of option offense where the quarterback and tail back line up approximately side by side. Aft