A glossary of terms and football jargon you’ll need to understand the NFL

With these in your arsenal, whether it’s with family, friends or coworkers, you’ll understand what’s going on and wow others – or at least hold your own – with your diverse knowledge of America’s favorite sport.

Backfield: It is divided into offensive and defensive sections. The offensive backfield is the area behind the offensive line where the quarterback and running back line up. The defensive backfield is the area behind the defensive line where linebackers and defensive backs line up.

Blitz: A defensive tactic where more than four defenders, sometimes including linebackers or defensive backs who do not usually cross the line of scuffle, turn towards the opposing quarterback rather than cover the backfield (see above) in an attempt to tackle or take Choose to run full tilt. possession of the ball.

below: Action phase of play when the ball is declared dead and play is stopped. Most downs begin with a snap from the center position, but can begin with kick offs and punts. An offense consists of four downs or fewer to advance 10 yards from the original position of the ball to earn another first down and to retain possession for another possible set of four downs. Teams start with the first down, and each subsequent down is numbered – second, third and fourth. If an offense fails to progress the required 10 yards ahead from the first down position, the possession passes to the other team.

end zone: The area at each end of the field where teams try to reach to score a touchdown. Players must either catch the ball inside or move the ball to the opponent’s end zone that is 53 yards by 10 yards.

Additional Points: After scoring a touchdown, a team may choose to attempt a kick, equivalent to a 33-year field goal, through upright goalposts at each end of the field to earn an additional point.

field goal: A kick from a placekicker that travels directly through the goalpost earns a team three points. It can be attempted at any point in a team’s four downs, but is usually taken when a team is below its fourth and does not believe a touchdown is possible. The longest field goal in NFL history was scored by Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens in 2021. Tucker successfully converted a 66-yard field goal, which was bounced off the crossbar and over, as time ran out to give the Ravens a 19-17 win. Detroit Lions.

Harrison Butcker kicked a game-tying field goal for the Kansas City Chiefs against the Buffalo Bills at the end of the fourth quarter to send him into overtime in an AFC Divisional game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 23.

thunder: When a player, who is in control of the football, either drops it or the opposing team looses it—and that player is not already on the ground—and is dismissed from contact. Once a player fumbles, either the offense or the defense can recover. If the defense recovers, it is considered a turnover.

Intercept: When a defending player catches a forward pass from the offense, usually the quarterback, it results in a change of possession.

Scramble Line: Virtual lines on which offensive and defensive linemen position themselves. The offensive line extends from edge to edge and is marked by the point forward of the ball after the referee has seen it. Players cannot cross their respective lines until the ball is snapped.

Offensive line: Five players designated to protect the quarterback at all costs – especially on passing plays. However, these same guardians open holes for them to run behind. Each offensive line has a center, which snaps the ball down (see above), two guards and two tackles to start – although more members of the offense may become part of the offensive line.

a punishment: If a team or player is found to have broken the rules of the game, they will be assessed a penalty. These yardages can come in the form of penalties or down losses. When a penalty is assessed, an officer will throw a yellow flag on the field.

Pocket: The area around the quarterback by his offensive line to prevent a defensive player from sacking him.

red zone: The nickname of the field spanning the last 20 yards has to be forward to score a touchdown—from the 20-yard line of defense to the goal line.

Then Dallas QB Tony Romo leads the Cowboys in the red zone against the Detroit Lions on October 2, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.

Haste: When an offensive player takes the ball in his hands and runs the ball forward, it is called rushing.

bag: When a defensive player tackles the quarterback while the ball is in his hands, behind the line of scrimmage make up for the loss of yardage.

Security: If an offensive player is tackled in his own end zone by a defensive player, a defense is awarded and the defensive team scores two points. The same applies if an offensive player goes out of bounds from his own end zone (made famous by Lions QB Dan Orlowski) or if an offense inflicts a penalty in his own end zone. After a safety, play is resumed by a punt. From the team that accepted the defense, which means that the team scoring two points also gets possession of the ball.

Chopping: An action that begins with a scuffle. For a snap, the center — or in some instances, the tall snapper — passes the ball between his legs to the quarterback, punter or holder. In rare cases, the center can direct the snap to the running back, wide receiver, or tight end.

Special Teams: 22 players on the field during punts, field goals, extra points and kick-offs. Specialist players will be involved in each stage, as will specialist punters, place kickers and kick-off returners.

Touchdown: Worth six points, a touchdown is scored if a player moves the ball across the goal line or catches the ball in the opponent’s end zone.

Business: A delightful pastry often stuffed with a fruit filling – accidentally, we digress. When a defensive player takes possession of the ball, when the offensive team loses the ball, often through fumbles or interceptions.

Two-point conversion: After scoring a touchdown, a team has the option of running a single play from the defense’s two-yard line to earn two points instead of one point via an extra point kick. A two-point conversion is completed if the ball is moved over the goal line or if it is caught in the end zone, similar to scoring a touchdown.

nitty gritty and slang

Audible: When a quarterback called in the huddle changes the original play to a different one in the line of scrimmage.

Encroachment: A defensive penalty when, before the snap, a defensive player enters the neutral zone – the area that the player lined up before the snap.

Gridiron: Playground.

Hail Mary: A long pass thrown by a quarterback (most of the time) toward a group of receivers in hopes of scoring a touchdown. An act of desperation at the end of a game or stop, used as a last-gasp attempt by the previous team to level the score or win the game. The term is a reference to Catholic prayer, and although it had been used in football parlance since the 1930s, it shot to prominence in 1975 when Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach caught wide receiver Drew Pearson in a game. – Throws the winning touchdown pass, later said: “I closed my eyes and said Hail Mary.”

Hard Calculations: A technique used by quarterbacks, by altering their audible snap count, instructs the center when to snap the ball, in an attempt to inadvertently encroach on defensive players in neutral territory and, therefore, result in a penalty, which may result in a penalty of five. Move forward.

Hurry Crime: When an offensive team chooses to play multiple plays in a row without handicap. It is usually used when time is running out, the aim is to use the least amount of time to play as many plays as possible.

Icing the kicker: The act of calling a timeout as the opposing team’s kicker is the resultant kick-taking. Tactics are used to time the kicker and with the hope of temporarily disrupting the process. The theory is that the extra time would put more pressure on the kicker to consider the outcome of the position.

in the trenches: The line of scrimmage where offensive and defensive linemen fight over the snap of the ball.

The line of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' scramble against the Carolina Panthers during the first half at Raymond James Stadium on January 9.

locker room boy Not necessarily a player who is involved in every game, but one who is vital to a team’s success, providing moral support on and off the gridiron (see above). Often an older player, the extra experience helps pick teams after a loss or keeps the team focused after a win.

Onside Kick: A kick-off deliberately reduced in the hopes of the kicking team retaining its possession of the football. Usually used by previous teams at the end of games.

pick-six: An interception (pick) that is driven back for a touchdown.

Pigskin: A nickname for actual football. This nickname is rumored to have come from the story that the first footballs were made from an inflated pig’s bladder encased in a pig hide or similar tough leather. Nowadays, they are made from cowhide.

Pooch-Kick: When a kicker intentionally chooses not to kick at full force for the purpose of denying a potential run back by a dangerous returner. The ball often finds itself landing low – in and around blockers who rarely touch the ball during the season, let alone play. Usually used at the end of a half or game, the offensive team concedes yardage in the hope that it will complete a result.

gun: When the quarterback elects to take the snap several steps back from the center.

Victory Formation: When a team is looking to hold on to the lead and run down the clock, the team’s quarterback will kneel shortly after the snap, reducing time. Usually used by the winning team at the end of a half or game.

CNN’s David Close and Homero de la Fuente contributed to this report.

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