|Audible - A new play called by the quarterback at the line of scrimmage. This is done when the quarterback doesn't think the play called in the huddle will work against the defense seen at the line.
Football Glossary / Football Dictionary - B
Backfield - Area behind the line of scrimmage where the running backs usually line up.
Back - Another term for running back (halfback, fullback, wingback, H-back)
Balanced Line - Offensive formation where there are an equal number of lineman located on either side of the center.
Ball Carrier - Any player in possession of and running with the football.
Beat - Term used to describe what happens when a ball-carrier gets past a defender trying to make the tackle. Also used to describe what happens when a receiver gets by the defender to make the catch.
Blitz - A defensive strategy where extra defenders are sent to rush the quarterback than the offensive line can account for.
Football Glossary / Football Dictionary - C
Center - Position on the offensive line. This player "snaps" the football to the quarterback or holder on kicking plays.
Chop Block - A delayed block made at or below the knees while the player being blocked is in contact with the blocker's teammate.
Completion A pass that is caught successfully.
Football Dictionary - D
Dead Ball - When a play is over, the ball is declared "dead" until the next play is started.
Defense - The team without possession of the football that defends its goal by trying to stop the offense from gaining yardage through passing or running the ball.
Football Glossary / Football Dictionary - E
Eligible Receiver - An offensive player allowed under the rules to catch a forward pass. Lineman are not eligible.
End Line - The line that runs the width of the field at the back of each end zone. The end of the field at each end of the field.
End Zone - The ten yards between the goal line and the end line. When a team moves the ball into this area, they score a touchdown.
Football Glossary / Football Dictionary - F
Fair Catch - On a punt, when the receiver wants to catch the ball without being hit, they can do so by raising a hand and waving. The ball is dead at the spot of the catch and the offense starts their drive at this point.
Field Goal - A place-kick that crosses over the cross bar and between the uprights earns 3 points.
First Down - The offense has 3 tries to gain at least 10 yards before needing to punt or deciding to "go for it". After 10 yards or more are gained, the offense has made a first down.
If on 4th down, the offense "goes for it" in the attempt of crossing the first down line and fails to do so, the opposing team now is allowed to go to work on offense from that spot on the field.
Football Dictionary - G
Goal Line - A line across the width of the field located at each end of the field, 10 yards from each end line. When the football is advanced past this line, a touchdown is scored.
Gridiron - Another name for the football field.
Guard - An offensive lineman lined up next to the center. There are two guards in each offense lined up to either side of the center.
Football Glossary / Football Dictionary - KKick - An attempt to kick the ball through the goalposts for an extra point after touchdown or a 3-point field goal.
Kicking Game - The strategies involved in place-kicking or punting the football.
Kickoff - A place-kick from a tee to start the game, half or after a score. The kickoff is done from the 30 yardline in the NFL or the 40 in high school and college.
Football Glossary / Football Dictionary - M
Man-in-Motion - One player is allowed to move parallel to or backwards from the line of scrimmage before the snap.
Midfield - The line at the middle of the field. The 50-yard line.
Football Dictionary - N
Neutral Zone - The imaginary area at the line of scrimmage that neither the offense or defense can enter before the snap.
Nickel Defense - A defensive formation that has 5 defensive backs on the field at the same time.
Football Glossary / Football Dictionary - O
Offense - The team in possession of the football. The offense tries to move the ball across the opponent's goalline by running or passing.
Offensive Linemen - One center, two guards and two tackles. These seven players form the front wall of the offense.
Offside - This occurs when a player enters the neutral zone before the ball is snapped. Results in a 5 yard penalty.
Football Glossary / Football Dictionary - P
Pass Defender - A defender assigned to cover an opposing receiver.
Pigskin - Another name for the football.
Pitch-out - A toss from the quarterback to the running back behind the line of scrimmage. Usually used on a sweep play.
Football Glossary / Football Dictionary - Q
Quarter - Each game consists of four quarters. Each quarter is 15 minutes in length (12 minutes in high school).
Quarterback - Leader of the offense. Calls the plays in the huddle. Takes the snap from center, then either hands the football off to a running back, passes to a receiver or runs with the ball himself.
Quick Count - The quarterback barks the signals at the line more quickly than usual. The idea is to snap the ball faster than normal in an attempt to catch the defense off guard.
Football Dictionary - R
Receiver - Member of the offense whose responsibility includes catching passes from the quarterback as well as blocking for running backs.
Red Zone - Twenty yard imaginary area between the defense's goal line and 20-yard line.
Returner - A player who returns punts or kickoffs.
Football Glossary / Football Dictionary - S
Sack - Tackling the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage before a pass can be attempted.
Scramble - When the quarterback tries to evade tacklers behind the line of scrimmage while looking for an open receiver.
Signal Caller - Another name for the quarterback.
Snap - The exchange of the ball from the center to the quarterback, punter or kick holder that begins each play.
Football Glossary / Football Dictionary - T
Tackle - Two meanings: 1) To bring down a ball carrier to the ground. 2) A position on the offensive line. There are two tackles, one on the outside of each guard.
Third and Long - Game situation when the offense faces a third down and long way to go to convert the first down (usually a 3rd and six or longer).
Touchdown - When the a team moves the ball into the opposition's end zone and is rewarded six points.
Football Glossary / Football Dictionary - U
|Unbalanced Line - Offensive formation where there are an unequal number of lineman located on either side of the center.
Uprights - The two vertical posts resting on the crossbar of the goalpost.
Football Glossary / Football Dictionary - W
Winning Percentage - The percentage of games a team has won during a certain time period.
Weak Side - In an unbalanced formation, the side of the line with the least amount of players.
Wideout - Another term for wide receiver. Sometimes refers to the receiver positioned furthest from the ball.
Wide Receiver - Member of the offense whose responsibility includes catching passes from the quarterback as well as blocking for running backs. This player is usually positioned furthest out from the ball.
Football Glossary / Football Dictionary - Y
Yardage - The amount of yardage gained or lost during any given football play.
Football Glossary / Football Dictionary - Z
Zebra - Slang term for the referee.
Zone Defense - Defensive strategy where each defender has an "area" of the field to defend. If a player comes into that area, the defender guards them. If the offensive player leaves that zone, the defender lets them go and the defender of the new zone now guards.
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