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Football Terminology

Last updated on December 06, 2008

Ever wonder what it is that the TV Announcers and other people are referring to when they are talking football? Learn all the football and NFL lingo here.

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A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z


+  abbreviation for yards gained

-   abbreviation for yards lost

% ATT  An acronym for Percentage of Attempts - usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports

% AVERAGE THROW  The average distance between the line of scrimmage and the intended receiver on pass attempts.

% INC   An acronym for Percentage of Incompletions - usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports

0-9 n-m defense

a defense with n down linemen and m linebackers, such as:


3-4 defense
4-3 defense
4-4-4 Defense
4-6 defense 


1Ds  abbreviation for first downs (found in STAT records)

1st An acronym for First Down - usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports

1st % An acronym for First Down Percentage - usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports

12th MAN  See Twelth Man

2PT abbreviation for  2 point conversions (found in STAT records)

2 POINT CONVERSION:  See Two Point Conversion

3 AMIGOS   The trio of wide receivers on the Denver Broncos of the late 1980s and early 1990s: Mark Jackson, Vance Johnson, and Ricky Nattiel.

3 AND OUT  See Three And Out

3-3 a defense with 3 linemen, 3 linebackers, and 5 defensive backs. Often called a 3-3 stack.

3-3-5 DEFENSE  also known as a 33 Stack: Consists of three downed linemen, three linebackers, and five defensive backs(two corners, two strong safeties, and one free safety). Used as a substitute to the 4-2-5 taking away a linemen to add a linebacker. By using the strong safeties in the same way as the 4-2-5 this can be quite effective against the short pass and the outside run but is not as good against the short run up the middle. This formation is a good choice if you lack a high number of defensive lineman and linebackers but have many defensive backs. Once again your strong safeties need to be strong, fast, physical and be able to cover receivers

3-4 DEFENSE  a basic defensive formation that is used by several NFL teams. Bud Wilkenson devised the alignment at the University of Oklahoma in the late 1940s. The alignment features three down linemen and four linebackers in the front seven, thus the name 3-4.

If you take a look at the illustration on the right, you will see a diagram outlining the 3-4 defense. The Os in the diagram represent offensive players while the Xs represent the placement of the defensive players.

Notice the lowest row of Xs on the line of scrimmage (imaginary line seperating the offense and defense).

You have two defensive ends (DE), one on each end of the line, and one nose tackle (NT) in between. Right behind the defensive line are four linebackers (LB). At times, one or more of the linebackers will line up on the line of scrimmage.

Two cornerbacks (CB), one on each side of the field, line up to cover the wide receivers. There are also two safeties. The exact positioning of the defensive backs (cornerbacks and safeties) depends on the type of pass coverage they are in.


The 3-4 Eagle defense evolved from Buddy Ryan's 46 defense and Fritz Shurmur first unveiled it with the Los Angeles Rams in the early 1980s. The alignment is basically the same as a normal 3-4, but a linebacker is inserted in the nose tackle's spot, leaving the formation with just two linemen and five linebackers.

If you take a look at the illustration on the right, you will see a diagram outlining the 3-4 Eagle defense. The Os in the diagram represent offensive players while the Xs represent the placement of the defensive players.

Notice the lowest row of Xs near the line of scrimmage (imaginary line seperating the offense and defense).

In this formation, you have just two defensive linemen on the field, normally defensive tackles (DT). In the middle of the line, where the nose tackle would normally be, is a linebacker (LB).

Two more linebackers line up as ends, outside the defensive tackles. The last two linebackers line up behind the defensive line.

Two cornerbacks (CB), one on each side of the field, line up to cover the wide receivers. There are also two safeties. The exact positioning of the defensive backs(cornerbacks and safeties) depends on the type of pass coverage they are in.

3 POINT STANCE:  See three Point Stance

33 STACK  See 3-3-5 DEFENSE

3 YARDS AND A CLOUD OF DUST  See Power Football

3rd year WR Rule
3rd year Wide Reciever Rule (fantasy football term)  There is a common belief among fantasy football players that most NFL wide receivers do not "break out" until their third year in the league. Some recent examples of players who blossomed in their 3rd year: Santana Moss, Chris Chambers, Steve Smith, and Javon Walker

4-2-5 DEFENSE  Consists of four defensive linemen, two linebackers, and five defensive backs (two corners, a free safety, and two strong safeties). By bringing the strong safeties up close to the line of scrimmage they can be used like linebackers to stop the run or as defensive backs to cover tight ends, slot receivers, or pass receiving running backs. A common practice with this formation is to blitz the strong safeties from the outside. When lined up with the strong safeties close to the line a quarterback may think that the defense is in a 4-4 and believe there is a mismatch with a linebacker on a wide receiver giving the advantage to the defense. Works best if a team has two strong, fast, and physical strong safeties and a reliable free safety to play center field.

4-3 DEFENSE  a defensive formation with 4 linemen and 3 linebackers. Several variations are employed. First used by coach Joe Kuharich.

 The 4-3 defense is a basic defensive formation that is widely used today. The alignment features four down lineman and three linebackers in the front seven, thus the name 4-3.

If you take a look at the illustration on the right, you will see a diagram outlining the 4-3 defense. The Os in the diagram represent offensive players while the Xs represent the placement of the defensive players.

Notice the lowest row of Xs on the line of scrimmage (imaginary line seperating the offense and defense). You have two defensive ends (DE), one on each end of the line, and two defensive tackles (DT) in between. Right behind the defensive line are three linebackers (LB).


Two cornerbacks (CB), one on each side of the field, line up to cover the wide receivers. There are also two safeties.

The exact position of the defensive backs (cornerbacks and safeties) depends on the type of pass coverage they are in.

4-3 DEfENSE OVER/UNDER  See Over/Under 4-3 Defense


The 4-4 defense is a basic defensive formation in the game of football. The alignment features four down lineman and four linebackers, thus the name 4-4.

If you take a look at the illustration on the right, you will see a diagram outlining the 4-4 defense. The Os in the diagram represent offensive players while the Xs represent the placement of the defensive players.

Notice the lowest row of Xs near the line of scrimmage (imaginary line seperating the offense and defense). You have two defensive ends (DE), one on each end of the line, and two defensive tackles (DT) in between. Spread out behind the defensive line are the four linebackers (LB).

Two cornerbacks (CB), one on each side of the field, line up to cover the wide receivers. There is just one safety.

The exact position of the defensive backs (cornerbacks and safety) depends on the type of pass coverage they are in.

4-4-4 DEFENSE  a  Infamous defense, coined by coach and color commentator John Madden when referring to a penalty having 12 men on the field.

4-6 DEFENSE  a  (pronounced four-six defense) a defense with four (4) down linemen and six (6) linebackers


(pronounced forty-six defense) a formation of the 4-3 defense (four linemen and three linebackers) in which three defensive backs(the two cornerbacks and the strong safety) crowd the line of scrimmage. The remaining safety, which is the free safety, stays in the backfield. It is also known as the "Bear" defense because it was popularized by Buddy Ryan while coaching for the Chicago Bears.

Not to be confused with the 4-6 (four-six) defense.

 The 46 Defense designed by Buddy Ryan at the Chicago Bears and named after the jersey number of Doug Plank, generally it has more than the normal number of pass rushers and the pass defenders are in man pass coverage

49ERS   See San Francisco 49ers

49ERS FAITHFUL  Nickname given to the fans of the San Francisco 49ers.

4 LOSS abbreviation for tackles for losses (found in STAT records)

5-2 DEFENSE   The 5-2 defense is a basic defensive formation in the game of football. The alignment features five downed linemen and two linebackers in the front seven, thus the name 5-2.

If you take a look at the illustration on the right, you will see a diagram outlining the 5-2 defense. The Os in the diagram represent offensive players while the Xs represent the placement of the defensive players.

Notice the lowest row of Xs near the line of scrimmage (imaginary line seperating the offense and defense). You have two defensive ends (DE), one on each end of the line, and three defensive tackles (DT) in between. Behind the defensive line are two linebackers (LB).

Two cornerbacks (CB), one on each side of the field, line up to cover the wide receivers. There are also two safeties.

The exact position of the defensive backs (cornerbacks and safeties) depends on the type of pass coverage they are in.

51 Swing 749 East  see I-formation


The 6-1 defense is a variation of the 4-3 formation. The alignment features four downed linemen and three linebackers in the front seven, but two linebackers move up on the defensive line, putting a total of six defenders on the line.

If you take a look at the illustration on the right, you will see a diagram outlining the 6-1 defense. The Os in the diagram represent offensive players while the Xs represent the placement of the defensive players.

Notice the lowest row of Xs on the line of scrimmage (imaginary line seperating the offense and defense). You have two defensive tackles (DT) in the middle of the line and two defensive ends (DE) ligned up just outside of the tackles. The outside linebackers move up so they are lined up on the outside of the defensive ends. The third linebacker lines up behind the line.

Two cornerbacks (CB), one on each side of the field, line up to cover the wide receivers. There are also two safeties. The exact position of the defensive backs (cornerbacks and safeties) depends on the type of pass coverage they are in.

8 IN THE BOX   See Eight In The Box

12TH MAN    See Twelth Man

60 MINUTE MEN  Any player who played every minute of a game.

700 LEVEL   The notorious upper levels of the former Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia between 1971 and 2002. This section was notorious for brawls between Philadelphia Eagles fans and those of visiting teams, especially Cowboys fans.

  A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z


AG   AF   AK   AR   AS   AU

A/G abbreviation for assists per game (found in STAT records)

A acronym for 1. A GAP
                      2. Away (as in an Away Game)


1. the gap between the center and offensive guard 
2. the running back in a one-back offense.

ACE FORMATION (also known as the "Lone Setback" or "Single Back" formation or "Oneback" or "Solo"): Consists of 1 running back lined up about five yards behind the quarterback. This formation can either have four wide receivers, three wide receivers and a tight end, two wide receivers and two tight ends, one wide receiver and three tight ends, or four tight ends (the latter two are very rare). This formation is good for passing, but is also good for running if a team has an athletic running back.

A typical Single set back formation, many variables can be implemented, but this is the basic setup teams use

This formation has gained popularity in the NFL as teams have started trading out a fullback, or blocking back, in favor of another wide receiver or tight end who is usually faster and better able to receive the ball, while still helping the run game with down-field blocks. The effectiveness of the formation is further increased if the team has athletic tight ends with good hands, thereby increasing the versatility of the formation. It is, moreover, good for bootlegs and reverses.

Single-back offenses have gained popularity due to zone blocking and advanced defenses. There are several combinations of single back formations that are used in Division 1 and NFL football. Speed offenses will use single back because the defense still has to respect the run out of these formations since you can line up many tight ends and still have a down field running game. Single back offenses create match-up problems in the defense. Linebackers will often have to cover receivers in passing routes while defensive safeties are used more to come up and stop the run on the line of scrimmage. Teams that run a single-back offense typically rely on quick receivers that run great routes, balanced tight ends (blocking/receiving), intelligent, shifty running backs, fast and intelligent offensive lineman, and a quarterback that can read defenses and make safe throws under pressure. Single-back offenses are more common in the NFL than in college or high school.

Here are a variety of plays that start in the ace formation.

Ace Stretch Play Action Boot
Ace Stretch Right
Jailbreak Screen

ACE STRETCH PLAY ACTION BOOT  This play-action pass is set up by the stretch play. Once the defense starts committing itself to stoping the run out wide, this play should open up for the tight end cutting back across the middle of the field. The quarterback and running back must do a good job of selling the run and the line must execute the same blocking pattern as the stretch play in order to set up the play.

ACE STRETCH RIGHT   As the name suggests, this single back running play is designed to stretch the defense to the right. The single back lines up at least 6 yards behind the line of scrimmage, and the handoff takes place at least 3 yards to the right and 3 yards behind the quarterback so that the lineman have time to develop their blocks. This extra time that it takes for the running back to reach the line of scrimmage allows holes to develop in this zone blocking scheme. Each of the linemen is responsible to block a path 45 degrees to the right from his initial position. Several of the defensive linemen are doubleteamed immediately, then one of the blockers releases to pick up a linebacker. As the linemen are blocking their areas, there is no set path that the running back is supposed to take. He should have time to read the blocks and see where the hole is likely to develop.

ADJUSTMENT  change in the approach of a team or player during a game as a result of less than satisfactory success with the original approach; also changing defensive alignment in response to offensive shifts or motions; the ability to make during-game adjustments is a must for all football coaches; many who do well in the first half but not the second are manifesting an inability to make appropriate adjustments definition

ADP acronym for Average Draft Position   (fantasy football term)

AFL   An acronym for either the American Football League or the Arena Football League.

The AFL (Arena Football League) is similar to the NFL, but is played indoors on a smaller field.
The old AFL - American Football League merged with the NFL in 1970, creating an expanded NFL made up of two conferences, the AFC and NFC.


The American Football Conference (or AFC) is one of the two conferences that comprise the National Football League. The AFC was formed before the 1970 NFL season from the American Football League when the AFL merged with the NFL. The NFL's Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, and the then-Baltimore Colts agreed to join the new AFC. Initially, this proved to be very unpopular with fans in these cities.

The AFC currently consists of 16 teams, organized into four divisions (North, South, East, and West) of four teams each. Each team plays the other teams in their division twice (home & away) during the regular season in addition to 10 other games/teams assigned to their schedule by the NFL the previous May. Two of these games are assigned on the basis of the team's final record in the previous season. The remaining 8 games are split between the roster of two other NFL divisions. This assignment shifts each year. For instance, in the 2005 regular season, each team in the NFC East will play a game apiece against each team in both the AFC West and the NFC West. In this way division competition consists of common opponents, with the exception of the 2 games assigned on the strength of each team's prior season record. The NFC operates according to the same system.

At the end of each football season, there are playoff games involving the top six teams in the AFC (the four division champions by place standing and the top two remaining non-division-champion teams ("wildcards") by record). The last two teams remaining play in the AFC Championship game with the winner receiving the Lamar Hunt Trophy. The AFC champion plays the NFC champion in the Super Bowl.

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME   The AFC Championship Game is an American football game played every year to determine the champion of the American Football Conference (AFC) of the National Football League (NFL). The winner receives the Lamar Hunt Trophy and advances to face the winner of the NFC Championship Game in the Super Bowl.

It began in 1970 after the merger between the NFL and the American Football League. The AFC was formed by joining the 10 former AFL teams with 3 NFL teams: the then-Baltimore Colts, the Cleveland Browns, and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Playoff Structure

For more details on this topic, see NFL playoffs.

At the end of each football season, a series of playoff games involving the top six teams in the AFC are conducted, consisting of the four division champions and two wild card teams. The two teams remaining play in the AFC Championship game.

AGAINST THE GRAIN  superfluous description of the direction a ball carrier goes when he cuts back to the opposite side from the side he was originally running toward as in, "he cut back against the grain"

AGILLITIES  short for agility drills;  drills commonly used by position coaches during the 10- to 20-minute position-coach period at the beginning of most football practices; the theory behind them is that agility is a desirable football skill and agility drills make players more agile; I do not believe the drills make players better at football to any significant degree; rather, they make the players better at doing the agility drill in question; I would appreciate hearing about any scientific study that proves any football agility drill pays a game-day dividend worth the practice time it takes; I suspect the real reasons for the widespread use of agility drills are they fill practice time and look footballish, that's the way it's always been done, the logic that agility drills increase agility seems correct, a number of companies make and/or sell products for agility drills and therefore have financial incentive to encourage belief in their efficacy, many coaches are afraid to deviate from football group norms because it increases the probability they will be blamed for losses; doing the same as every other coach enables coaches to subtly blame the players for losses, e.g. "someone needed to make a play but no one did;" I believe that agilities should never be used and that the practice time saved is far better spent on learning assignments, blocking techniques, practicing reading defenders and throwing passes, option reads, and so forth; carioca is an agility drill, as are running through tires (now ropes or a ladder), running around large hoops on the ground, etc.; may be the best you can do at the college level in the off-season when more productive activities are prohibited by rule

AINT'S - Nickname given to the New Orleans Saints after their 1980 season of 14 consecutive losses. The name persisted somewhat as they were the only team in the league to never win a playoff game, until their defeat of the Rams in the Wild Card round of the 2000-01 playoffs.

AIR CORYELL   Nickname given to the high powered passing offenses of the early 1980s San Diego Chargers, led by quarterback Dan Fouts and coached by Don Coryell.

The "Air Coryell" Offense was originated by Don Coryell and adopted by his assistant coaches including Joe Gibbs, Jim Hanifan, and Ernie Zampese. The offense features a power running game similar to that of former University of Southern California head coach John McKay. What has made this offense popular is the ability to stretch the field vertically with the passing game and its numbered pass routes. The Arizona Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins, and the University of Maryland are among those who run this type of offense.

AIR RAID   an offensive philosophy derived from the West Coast Offense but adapted to the shotgun formation. In this offense the running game is heavily de-emphasized while the quick pass, medium pass, and screen game are highly developed.



The Akron Pros were a National Football League team that played in Akron, Ohio from 1920-1925 and as the Akron Indians in 1926.

The team started out in 1916 as the Akron Burkhardts, named after a local family of brewers that sponsored the team. As from 1917 the team competed as the Akron Pros.

The Pros became a charter member of the NFL (then known as the American Professional Football Association) in 1920 and won the first ever league title.

Fritz Pollard, the first African-American head coach in the NFL, co-coached the Pros in 1921. In 1926, the name was changed to the Akron Indians, which had been an earlier Akron semi-pro team, but that didn't help. Because of financial problems, the team suspended operations in 1927 and surrendered its franchise the following year.

ALLEY  area between the cornerback and the box and safety definition

ALONZO STAGG    See Amos Alonzo Stagg here


The All American Football League, scheduled to begin play in April 2008, is a professional American football league in which all players must possess a four-year university degree. The players will be employees of the AAFL rather than of the franchises, and the league will pay each player an average compensation of approximately $100,000 to attract the best non-NFL talent.

Read more about The AAFL here

ALL PRO PLAYER  An All Pro Player is any NFL player who has been selected and appeared in an NFL Pro Bowl Game.


The American Football League (AFL) was a professional league of American football that operated from 1960 to 1969. In 1970, the AFL merged operations with the National Football League. All ten AFL franchises became part of the merged league, which retained the NFL name.

Note: There were three earlier and unrelated American Football Leagues of the same name: One in 1926, one in 1936-1937 and one in 1940-1941.

AMERICA'S TEAM - Nickname given to the Dallas Cowboys due to having a large number of fans outside its immediate local area. (The term itself is derived from the title of the team's 1978 highlight film).

AMOS ALONZO STAGG    See Amos Alonzo Stagg here


ARC BLOCK   running-back inward block on a defensive contain man or linebacker; the word "arc" refers to the blocker taking a somewhat circuitous route to the blocking target, that is, he initially moves outward then comes back in to make the block; the running back's path to the block is roughly a half circle; such a path often causes the defender being blocked to conclude prematurely that the running back does not plan to block him


The Arena Football League (AFL) was founded in 1987 as an American football indoor league. The AFL's attendance has increased dramatically over the last few years, rising to over 12,400 people per game in 2005. The AFL also maintains a minor league called arenafootball2.


The Arizona Cardinals American football club is a Phoenix, Arizona-based National Football League team. In 2006, the club will move to the new Cardinals Stadium in the suburb of Glendale, Arizona.

The Cardinals are the oldest existing American football club in the United States.

The Cardinals roots actually stretch back to 1898 when a neighborhood group that gathered to play football in a predominantly Irish area of Chicago's South Side, playing under the name Morgan Athletic Club. Chris O'Brien, a painting and decorating contractor acquired the team later.

O'Brien later moved them to Chicago's Normal Field and the team was named ''The Racine Normals'', since they were originally located on Racine Avenue in Chicago. In 1901, O'Brien bought used Maroon uniforms from the University Of Chicago . The colors had faded by this time, leading O'Brien to exclaim, "That's not maroon, it's cardinal red!" It was right there that the team changed its name to the Racine Cardinals.

The team disbanded in 1906 due mostly to a lack of local competition, but reformed in 1913 . They were forced to suspend operations for a second time in 1918 due to World War I and the outbreak of the Spanish Flu Pandemic . They resumed operations later in the year, and have operated continuously since then.

The American Professional Football Association, the direct forerunner of the NFL, began play in 1920. The Racine Cardinals faced an immediate challenge for territorial rights in Chicago from a team named the Tigers, who joined the league on September 17. O'Brien and the Cardinals promptly challenged the Tigers to a game, with the loser to leave town. The Cardinals won the game, 6-0-and franchise rights-thanks to the legendary Paddy Driscoll's touchdown

The team became a charter member of the American Professional Football Association (which became the NFL in 1922) in 1920, for the franchise fee of $100. According to some, the team's name was erroneously recorded as " Racine, Wisconsin ." The team was renamed the Chicago Cardinals in 1922 after a team from Racine, Wisconsin entered the league. That season the team moved into Comiskey Park .

In 1932 the team was purchased by Charles W. Bidwill, then a vice president of the Chicago Bears . The team has been under the ownership of the Bidwill family since then. (Charles' son, William V. Bidwill, now operates the team.)

In 1944, owing to player shortages caused by World War II , the Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers merged for one year and were known as the "Card-Pitts," or derisively as the "Carpets" as they were winless that season.

Bidwill kept the team going through the Depression and World War II, and finally managed to put together a winning unit just as the war ended. Bidwill's building program produced a team that won the NFL championship in 1947. The Cardinals' 28-21 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1947 championship game still stands as the team's last playoff victory.

Not all was rosy as the Chicago Cardinals were drowning in red ink, and were no longer able to compete with the Bears in the Windy City. Owner Violet Bidwell decided it was time for a change and began looking for a new nest for the NFL's oldest franchise. A study prior to expansion suggested St. Louis would be able to support a team nicely. With the newly formed rival league, the AFL, eyeing this promising bit of territory, the NFL wanted to secure a team in the area. So, on March 13th the NFL owners unanimously voted to allow the Chicago Cardinals to relocate to St. Louis.
In order to avoid confusion with the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team, management even considered changing the team's nickname, but in the end, the name St. Louis Cardinals was retained. Sharing old Sportsmen's Park (now known as Busch Stadium) with the baseball Cardinals.

 Sports fans and local news broadcasters got into the habit of calling them "the football Cardinals" or "the Baseball Cardinals " to distinguish the two.

The team left St. Louis when owner Bill Bidwill was unable to convince the city to build a new stadium. 
In 1988 the Cardinals moved to Arizona , became the Phoenix Cardinals, and started playing home games in Sun Devil Stadium on the campus of Arizona State University . They became the '''Arizona Cardinals''' in 1994.

The Cardinals have won NFL Championships in 1925 and 1947. But the team has not won a league title since then, and thus currently holds the record for the longest championship drought (period of not winning) in NFL history.

City: Tempe, Arizona

Team Colors: Cardinal Red, Black, and White

Head Coach: Dennis Green

Helmet design: White with a cardinal head

Home fields

 Since 1920

Normal Field (1920-1921), (1926-1928)
Comiskey Park (1922-1925), (1929-1959)
Sportsman's Park (1960-1965)
Bush Stadium (1966-1987)
  Sun Devil Stadium (1988-2005)
Cardinals Stadium (2006 -present)

Team history 

Morgan Athletic Club (1898)
Racine Normals (1899-1900)
Racine Cardinals (1901-1906, reformed 1913-1919)
Chicago Cardinals (1920-1943)
Card-Pitt (1944)
Chicago Cardinals (1945-1959)
St. Louis Cardinals (1960-1987)
Phoenix Cardinals (1988-1993)
Arizona Cardinals (1994–present)

 A football club on the southwest side of Chicago was formed in 1898. The team was known as the Normals until 1901, when founder Chris O'Brien secured some hand-me-down jerseys from the University of Chicago. The jerseys were actually maroon, but the color had faded, striking O'Brien as more of a cardinal tint. The team became the Racine Cardinals, keeping the nickname as the club moved from Chicago (1922) to St. Louis (1960) and, finally, to Phoenix (1988).

ARM PADS  Protection mainly for the forearms and wrist. Some arm pads have integrated webbing which will provide protection for the hands.

ARTIFICIAL TURF   Artificial turf, or synthetic turf, is a man-made surface manufactured from synthetic materials, made to look like natural grass. It is most often used in arenas for sports that were originally or are normally played on grass. However, it is now being used on residential lawns and commercial applications as well.

In 1988 artificial turf gained a bad reputation on both sides of the Atlantic with fans and especially with players. The first artificial turfs were a far harder surface than grass, and soon became known as an unforgiving playing surface which was prone to cause more injuries, and in particular, more serious joint injuries, than would comparatively be suffered on a grass surface. Artificial turf was also regarded as aesthetically unappealing to many fans.

NFL stadiums now use Fieldturf

ASSISTANT COACH    The coaches that specialize in specific areas of the team and are directly under the supervision of the head coach. Also Known As: coordinator

 Each NFL team generally has assistant coaches for offense and defense, as well more specialized areas like quarterbacks and linebackers.

AST An acronym for Assisted tackles usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports

ASTROTURF:  an artificial surface used instead of grass. A grass-like playing surface manufactured from synthetic materials. It is most often used in arenas for sports that were originally or are normally played on grass.

The advantage of AstroTurf turf over grass turf is quite evident: an artificial turf requires minimal maintenance. It is also ideal for indoor stadiums, since it does not require sunlight. However, an AstroTurf surface is much harder than one of natural grass. Players describe the impact as similar to falling on concrete (Vince Lombardi called AstroTurf "fuzzy cement"). Players' cleats can get caught in the turf, which does not give the way grass and dirt does, causing the injury known as "turf toe".

AstroTurf turf is being replaced in many stadiums with newer types of artificial turf - two common brands of this new generation being FieldTurf and Sport Grass. These materials have properties much closer to natural grass turf. AstroTurf's version of this new artificial grass was called AstroPlay, but in 2004, Southwest Recreational Industries, who held the rights to making AstroTurf, went out of business after filing for bankruptcy. It is now sold by AstroTurf, LLC.

AstroTurf is a registered trademark of Textile Management Associates, applied to a particular kind of artificial turf.

AstroTurf turf was invented in 1965 by employees of Monsanto, patented in 1967, and originally sold under the name "Chemgrass." It was renamed AstroTurf after its first well-publicised use at the Houston Astrodome stadium.

ASTROTURF TREADS  If the team is playing on Astroturf, there are three general shoe styles that are used depending on the weather. The goal is to wear the least amount of "bottom" possible: In dry conditions, very light bottoms are used. In damp conditions, a little more bottom (a thicker sole) is more appropriate. And in wet conditions the team switches to "Destroyers," shoes that have a lot of bottom (very thick soles).

These shoes would be appropriate for dry weather conditions

Damp conditions require a thicker sole.


The Atlanta Falcons American football club is a National Football League team based in Atlanta, Georgia. The Falcons joined the NFL as a 1966 expansion team.


City: Atlanta, Georgia

Head Coach: Jim L. Mora

Team colors: Home jerseys are red and white with white letters and black trim. Away jerseys are white with black letters and red trim.

Helmet design: Black with a black face mask and a red and black falcon logo with a grey and white border on both sides, which forms the shape of an F.

Unofficial Nickname(s): "Dirty Birds" (The team's nickname during their 1998-99 NFC Championship season)

Home fields:

 Atlanta Fulton County Stadium (1966-1991)
Georgia Dome (1992-present)

Team history 

Atlanta Falcons (1966–present)  

Atlanta held a contest in 1965 and many chose Falcons for the NFL's newest team. The best argument was submitted by Julia Elliot, a teacher from Griffin, Ga. - "the Falcon is proud and dignified, with great courage and fight. It never drops its prey. It is deadly and has a great sporting tradition." 

ATS An acronym for Record Against The Spread

ATT  An acronym for Attempts usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports

ATTEMPTS  usually found in STAT Reports
Normally in The:
PASSING STATISTICS meaning Pass attempts by a Quarteback
RUSHING STATISTICS meaning rush attempts or carries by a Runningback
RETURN STATISTICS meaning Total attempts (kickoffs/punts)

AUCTION DRAFT  (fantasy football term)   A type of fantasy draft in which owners are allotted a certain amount of fantasy cash to fill their roster spots by bidding on NFL players. Owners take turns introducing an opening bid for a player.

AUDIBLE: (from Latin audire = to hear, to listen to) An audible is a play called by the quarterback at the line of scrimmage which changes the play that was previously called in the huddle; a change of plans in game play, just before the ball goes into play. Also called an automatic.

An audible is often called by the quarterback when he doesn't like the play call after getting a look at the defensive formation.

Also known as Automatic

AUTOMATIC: See audible

AUTOMATIC FIRST DOWN   for several of the most severe penalties, including pass interference and all personal fouls, a first down is rewarded to the offensive team even if the yardage of that penalty is less than the yardage needed for a first down.

See Official Ruling

AVERAGE DRAFT POSITION   (fantasy football term)  A report that lists NFL players by the position they were drafted in fantasy football drafts on average. The source can be mock drafts or real ones. ADP is a useful draft preparation tool.

AVG An acronym for Average usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports in
* RUSHING STATISTICS - Average yards per carry (Total yards divided by attempts)
* RECEIVING STATISTICS - Average yards per reception  (Total yards divided by receptions)
* RETURN STATISTICS - Average kickoff/punt yards per return (Total yards divided by attempts)
* PUNTING STATISTICS - Gross punting average
                                             Average return yards on punts

AWARDS  Different awards presented in The NFL:

Vince Lombardi Trophy
Lamar Hunt Trophy
George S. Halas Trophy
Most Valuable Player
Coach of the Year
Offensive Player of the Year
Defensive Player of the Year
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Super Bowl MVP
NFL Comeback Player of the Year
Walter Payton Man of the Year Award
Pro Bowl MVP

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z


BAL   BAS    BE    BI    BL    BLO    BO    BOW    BR    BU


B   acronym for Back Judge (Official)

1. the gap between the offensive guard and tackle 
2. letter used to designate linebackers in a diagram of a defense

BACKFIELD:  the area behind the line of scrimmage.

BACK(S):    An offensive player whose primary job is to run with the football. The running backs; the halfback and the fullback.

 A back generally lines up in the offensive backfield, but will occasionally split out as a receiver.

Jersey Numbers: 20 - 49

BACK JUDGE:  (B or BJ) The official who sets up 20 yards deep in the defensive backfield on the wide receiver side of the field. His duties include:

Make sure the defensive team has no more than 11 players on the field
Watch all eligible receivers on his side of the field
Watch the area between the umpire and field judge
Rule on the legality of catches and pass interference penalties
Watch for clipping on kick returns
On field goals, stand under the goalpost and rule on whether the kick is good

Click Here to see where The Back Judge is Positioned on the Field

Responsibilities and positioning of each game official.

Referee     Umpire     Head Linesman     Line Judge     Field Judge     Side Judge     Back Judge

BACKUP   A player who does not start the game, but comes in later in relief of a starter.

BACKWARD PASS   See Lateral Pass

BADGERS   See Milwaukee Badgers

BALANCED LINE: A formation with an equal number of linemen on either side of the center.

BALL  Click Here

BALL CARRIER:  any player who has possession of the ball.

 A ball carrier is generally a running back, wide receiver, or quarterback, but can include any player that happens to legally end up with the football in his hands.


In 1953, Carroll Rosenbloom became the principal owner of the new NFL Baltimore Colts. In 1958, coached by Hall of Famer Weeb Ewbank and led by Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas, the Colts defeated the New York Giants at Yankee Stadium 23-17 in the NFL championship game, an overtime contest sometimes called "The Greatest Game Ever Played."

The original incarnation of the Baltimore Colts started in the All-America Football Conference in 1946 as the Miami Seahawks. After a 3-11 season, they moved to Baltimore in 1947. In 1950, they joined the National Football League and finished the season with a record of 1 11.

Due to financial difficulties after the 1-11 losing season, Colts owner Abraham Watner gave his team and its players contracts back to the NFL for $50,000. But many Baltimore fans protested the loss of their team. Supporting groups such as its fan club and its marching band remained in operation and worked for the team's revival. Three years later a new team was given to Baltimore, which is now known as the Indianapolis Colts located in Indianapolis, Indiana. The supporting groups, including the fan club and a marching band remained, however, again working to revive a team in Baltimore. They were ultimately successful and are now part of the Baltimore Ravens located in Baltimore, Maryland.

Faced with the aforementioned competitive difficulties and wanting a new stadium, team owner Robert Irsay moved the team to Indianapolis in Mayflower Transit trucks in the middle of the night on March 29, 1984, after the Maryland legislature threatened to give the city of Baltimore the right to seize the team by eminent domain. Since 1987, the Indianapolis Colts have had mixed success at best. They have appeared in the playoffs seven years since then, with their best advance to the AFC championship game in 1995, when they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-16, and in 2003, when they won the AFC South Division title, defeated the Denver Broncos in the wild-card playoff (41-10), and advanced to play the Kansas City Chiefs in a divisional playoff, winning 38-31. In the AFC Championship game, they were decisively defeated 24-14 by the eventual Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots, with quarterback Peyton Manning throwing four interceptions, in a game which was widely criticized for its minimal officiating (only seven penalties were called during the entire game, six of them were pre-snap fouls).

Meanwhile, most of the prominent old-time former Baltimore Colts players disassociated themselves from the team, and instead started to attend events of the Baltimore Ravens team that began play in 1996.

Many Baltimore fans who are still bitter about the Colts football team moving from Baltimore to Indianapolis, Indiana in 1984, along with many of the Colts' former players, view the pre-1984 Baltimore Colts organization and the Ravens as one continuous entity. In fact, the old Colts marching band and fan club became part of the Ravens organization.

Also see Dallas Texans as the beginning of Baltimore Colts


The Baltimore Ravens American football club is a National Football League team based in Baltimore, Maryland. They have won one Super Bowl title.

The history of the Baltimore Ravens is unusual due to the unprecedented actions taken by the cities of Baltimore and Cleveland, Ohio, and the NFL in 1996. On November 6, 1995, then-Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell announced his intention to move the team to Baltimore, citing the inadequacy of Cleveland Stadium and the lack of a sufficient replacement. The decision triggered a flurry of legal activity that ended when representatives of both cities and the NFL reached a settlement on February 9, 1996. It stipulated that the Browns' name, colors, and history of the franchise were to remain in Cleveland. A reactivated Cleveland Browns team would then begin play in 1999, while the relocated club would technically be a new expansion team, the Ravens.

For that reason, past records and Pro Football Hall of Fame players are attributed to the Browns and not to the Ravens. For more information on the move, see Cleveland Browns

However, some consider the Ravens and the pre-1995 Browns organization as one continuous entity, using the term The Modell Franchise to denote it. Also, many Baltimore fans who are still bitter about the Colts football team moving from Baltimore to Indianapolis, Indiana in 1984, along with many of the Colts' former players, view the pre-1984 Baltimore Colts organization and the Ravens as one continuous entity. In fact, the old Colts marching band and fan club became part of the Ravens organization.

City: Baltimore, Maryland

Head Coach: Brian Billick

Team Colors: Black, Purple, and Metallic Gold

Uniform colors: Black, Purple, Metallic Gold, and White. (The primary home uniform is a purple jersey and white pants. Traditional away gear (also worn at home during late summer day games, but mostly on the road, are white jersies and white pants. In 2004, the team introduced an alternate attire of black jersey and black pants for select prime-time national game broadcasts.)

Helmet design: A black helmet with a purple and black raven's head in profile, with the letter "B" superimposed in metallic gold and white. Purple "talons" rise up from the facemask up the center of the helmet.

Home fields

Memorial Stadium (Baltimore) (1996-1997)
M&T Bank Stadium (1998-present)
a.k.a. PSINet Stadium (1998-2002)
a.k.a. Ravens Stadium (2002-2003)

Team history 

Baltimore Ravens (1996–present)  

After a 12-year void, Baltimore again acquired an NFL team in 1996 when the Cleveland Browns relocated. Owner Art Modell allowed the Browns' name, colors and history to remain in Cleveland. Baltimore then set up focus groups and fan polls to help secure a new name. Ravens won out over Americans and Marauders. The name refers to the mythical bird in Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Raven." Poe lived and died in Baltimore.

BASE DEFENSE  defensive alignment used most often by a team; may also have a personnel dimension to it; often used when the offense has 1st & 10; their default defense when they are not sure what to do; other defenses are typically defined by the coach in question as modifications of the base defense; an offense that operates at a hurry-up tempo typically hears the opposing coaches and linebackers yelling Base! Base! because they do not have time to call a different defense between plays.

BAY OF PIGS  Nickname given to matchups of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Green Bay Packers by ESPN anchor Chris Berman from the mid-1980s through the early 1990s, when both teams hovered at the bottom of the NFC Central division.

BEAN BAG   Used to mark various spots that are not penalties. For example, it is used to mark the spot of a fumble, or where a player caught a punt. It's either colored white or blue, depending on the official's league, college conference, or level of play.

Blue for NFL

BEARS  See Chicago Bears

BEAT:  when a player gets past an opponent trying to block or tackle him.

BELICHEAT  See Bill Belicheat

BENGALS    See Cincinnati Bengals

BERT EMANUEL RULE   the ball can touch the ground during a completed pass as long as the receiver maintains control of the ball

BERTH:   Ample space or distance to avoid an unwanted consequence

BETTIS, JEROME  Jerome Abram Bettis, nicknamed "The Bus" (born February 16, 1972), is a former American football halfback for the NFL's Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers. Bettis is considered one of the best big backs of his era, and is fifth on the National Football League's all-time rushing list. He retired in 2006 after a Super Bowl victory. Bettis attended Mackenzie High School in Detroit, and the University of Notre Dame.

BICKERING BILLS -  Name given to the Buffalo Bills the year before their Super Bowl runs, 1989, due to their underachievement that year, which many attributed to locker room disagreements.

Big An acronym for Big Plays - usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports

BIG BLUE WREKING CREW - Name of the New York Giants defensive team during their 1986 championship season.

BIG I FORMATION  places a tight end on each side of the offensive line (removing a wide receiver). Coupled with the fullback's blocking, this allows two additional blockers for a run in either direction. This is a running-emphasis variant.

See I Formation

BIG BLUE   See New York Giants

BIG GAME  The Big Game is the annual football game between Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley (known simply as "Cal"), held in late November or early December. The first Big Game was held in March 19, 1892 on San Francisco's Haight Street grounds when Stanford beat Cal 14-10. It is the tenth longest rivalry in NCAA Division 1A football.

BIG PASS PLAY  Any pass completion that gains 25 or more yards.

BIG RUNNING PLAY   Any running play that gains 10 or more yards.

BIG SOMBRERO   Nickname given to Tampa Stadium, first home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, so named because of its curved outline that resembled the brim of a sombrero. Raymond James Stadium, the Bucs' home since 1998, has been christened The New Sombrero by ESPN anchor "Boomer" Chris Berman

BILL BELICHEAT Nickname given to The New England Patriots Coach, Bill Belichick as they were caught cheating in 2007.

Camera confiscated after claims of Pats spying on Jets

Outcome of investigation
Goodell determines Pats broke rules by taping Jets' signals

BILLS   See Buffalo Bills

BILLS BACKERS Buffalo Bills fans. Due to the massive population displacement of Western New Yorkers, "Bills Backers Bars" can be found in almost every major city throughout the United States.


The facemask donned by linemen which has extra vertical and horizontal bars.

BIRDS   See Philadelphia Eagles

BJ   acronym for Back Judge (Official)

BK  An acronym for Blocked kicks (both punts and field goals attempts) -  usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports


BLACK HOLE   Name of the section behind the south end zone at McAfee Coliseum, home of the Oakland Raiders, known for having some of the most rabid fans in the NFL.

BLACKOUT:    when a regional network TV affiliate is forbidden from showing a local game because it is not a sold out game.

BLIND SIDE: The side opposite the side the player is looking towards. 

BLITZ: An all-out run by linebackers and defensive backs, charging through the offensive line in an effort to sack the quarterback before he can hand off the ball, or pass it.

A defensive strategy in which a linebacker or defensive back vacates his normal responsibilities in order to pressure the quarterback. The object of a blitz is to tackle the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage or force the quarterback to hurry his pass.

When a defensive line is having trouble putting pressure on the quarterback, the defensive coordinator may decide to help them out by sending one or more linebackers or defensive backs on a blitz.

The most common blitzes are linebacker blitzes. Safety blitzes, when a safety (usually the free safety) is sent, and corner blitzes, where a cornerback is sent, are less common. Sending a defensive back on a blitz is even more risky than a linebacker blitz, as it removes a primary pass defender from the coverage scheme, but is also less likely to be picked up by the offensive teams blockers.

History of The Blitz
The name of the play is taken from the Blitzkrieg, a German strategy of the "lightning war" during World War II.

Don Ettinger, a defensive tackles for the New York Giants, invented the blitz during his brief NFL career (1948 - 1950). Larry Wilson, free safety for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1960 to 1972, pioneered and perfected the safety blitz, a play originally code-named "Wildcat". Defensive coordinator Chuck Drulis is widely credited with inventing the safety blitz.

Also known as quarterback rush   or   red dogging.

Related Terms: Zone Blitz

BLITZBURGH - Name of the Pittsburgh Steelers defensive unit since the mid-1990s and their tendency to relentlessly attack opposing quarterbacks.

BLITZ EFFICIENCY  Measures the defensive effectiveness of the blitz. To figure this rating add the number of sacks, stuffs, poor throws, quarterback knockdowns, batted passes, passes thrown away, passes caught out of bounds, and passes dropped as a result of miscommunication between receiver and quarterback generated by a team's defense, then divide by total number of blitzes.

BLITZ, INC. - Name of the Philadelphia Eagles defensive team from 1999-2004 seasons.

BLK  An acronym for Blocked - usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports

BLOCK: To contact your opponent, with any part of the body. There are various types of blocks, such as the basic block (which involves chest to chest contact), the shoulder block (which, obviously, involves using one's shoulder to contact), the scramble or reach block (designed to tangle up an oncoming opponent who is playing outside of your position), and pass blocking (delaying the oncoming defensive line to allow your quarterback to act).

BLOCKING  a legal move occurring when one player obstructs another player's path with his body. The purpose of blocking is typically to clear a path for the ball carrier, or to protect the quaterback. The rules of blocking are very complicated and are frequently changed to favor either the offensive or defensive team. As a general rule, one is not allowed to grab someone, or hold themback. Blocking is also not permitted after five yards from the line of scrimmage until the quaterback has given the ball to the runner, or a reciever has secured the ball.

BLOCKING BELOW THE WAIST', also called a crackback block (15 yards) - an illegal block, from any direction, below the waist by any offensive player not on the offensive line (e.g. wide receivers, quarterbacks and running backs), by any player after change of possession, by any player in high school with certain exceptions.

Referee signal: both hands brought down, wrists turned inward, in a chopping motion across the front of the thighs.

BLOCKING SLED  a heavy piece of practice equipment, usually a padded angular frame on metal skids, used for developing strength and blocking techniques

BLUE NATION  Indianapolis Colts Fans

BOB IRSAY   See Irsay, Robert

BO JACKSON   See Jackson Vincent

BOOTLEG: The quarterback fakes a hand-off to backs going one way while he goes the other way to run or pass.

 A bootleg is often used against a defense that is overpursuing the  ball carrier.

See Bootleg Play

BOOTLEG PLAY    an offensive play in which the quarterback runs with the ball in the direction of either sideline behind the line of scrimmage. This can be accompanied by a play action, or false hand off of the ball to a running back running the opposite direction.

The quarterback can be accompanied by an offensive lineman to block for him, or run without a blocker, which is known as a naked bootleg. More complex versions involve multiple offensive linemen moving with the quarterback to block and multiple false hand offs; one such variation is known as a rollout. After escaping the area behind the offensive line, the quarterback may either throw a pass downfield or run with the ball himself to gain yards.

A bootleg is called to confuse the defense, by moving the quarterback away from where they expect him to be, directly behind the center. The quarterback's motion may also attract the attention of the defensive backs, allowing one of the receivers to become uncovered. The play is typically used by teams with mobile, or fast, quarterbacks, such as Michael Vick, Steve Young, and Randall Cunningham.

The names comes from the fact that on a play action the quarterback often hides the ball from the defense by his thigh to make the run look more convincing. This is similar to the way bootleggers would hide whiskey in their trousers during prohibition.

BOLTS   See San Diago Chargers

BOMB:  a long pass thrown to a receiver sprinting down the field.

BORDER SHOWDOWN  The Border Showdown is the name of an intense rivalry between the University of Missouri and University of Kansas athletic teams, the Missouri Tigers and the Kansas Jayhawks.

In 2004 its name was changed from Border War which had capitalized on the border wars between the states of Missouri and Kansas in the 1850s when skirmishes predated the American Civil War.

The Missouri-Kansas football series is the second most played rivalry in college football history.

BORDER WAR  See Border Showdown

BOSTON BULLDOGS  See Pottsville Maroons

BOSTON BRAVES  The “Football” Boston Braves, owned by George Preston Marshall, entered the National Football League in July 1932 after the Newark Tornadoes franchise folded. He originally named the team "Braves" because it used Braves Field, home of the National League baseball team.

They had tried to base the team in New York, but were blocked by the NFL’s territorial rule. The Braves head coach was Lud Wray, and were led by Hall of Famers Cliff Battles (Running Back) and Turk Edwards (Offensive Tackle). Their first game was held on October 2, 1932 in which they lost to the Brooklyn Dodgers. The next week, the Braves would gain their first franchise victory, with a 14-6 win over the New York Giants The Braves would complete their first season with a 4-4-2 record.

When the team moved to Fenway Park in July 1933, the name was changed to the Boston Redskins

  In 1936, the Redskins won the NFL Eastern division championship, but Marshall, unhappy with the fan support in Boston, moved the championship game to the Polo Grounds in New York.

Not surprisingly, the Redskins moved to Washington, D.C., for the 1937 season therfore becomming The Washington Redskins

BOSTON REDSKINS   in 1932 after the Newark Tornadoes folded the franchise was sold back to the NFL. The players and spot in the league would eventually be handed over to George Preston Marshall who wanted to place a team in Boston. Marshall named his team after Major League Baseball's Braves, whom they shared a stadium with.

In 1933 now led by Lone Star Dietz, a Native American Coach, the team moves to Fenway Park. With the move the team also undergoes a name change becoming the Boston Redskins.

BOSTON YANKS  The Boston Yanks was a National Football League team based in Boston, Massachusetts that played from 1944 to 1948. The team played its home games at Fenway Park. Team owner Ted Collins, who managed singer Kate Smith, picked the name "Yanks" because he originally wanted to run a team that played at New York City's Yankee Stadium. Unfortunately, the Yanks could only manage a 2-8 record during its first regular season.

Due to a shortage of players caused by World War II, the Yanks were merged with the Brooklyn Tigers for the 1945 season, and styled as the Boston Yanks. The merged team played four home games in Boston and one in New York. But fans from neither cities cared as they finished with a 3-6-1 record.

When Brooklyn Tigers owner Dan Topping announced his intentions to join the All-America Football Conference in 1946, his NFL team was revoked and all of its players were assigned to the Yanks. After three continuous losing seasons, Collins finally was allowed to move the Yanks to New York and renamed it the New York Bulldogs. They played in the Polo Grounds, sharing it with the football Giants. The team was renamed the Yanks in 1950, when it moved to Yankee Stadium, adding many new players, most of them from defunct All-America Conference teams. Ted Collins sold the team back to the NFL in January of 1952. The franchise was awarded to a Dallas group in 1952 and the team name became the Dallas Texans. After drawing very few fans to four games in the Cotton Bowl, the Dallas owners gave up and the NFL took the team over for the rest of the season, during which the Texans had to play all their games on the road. At the end of the season the franchise was disbanded. Finally, in January of 1953, the holdings of the defunct Dallas Texans were sold to Carroll Rosenbloom and the franchise was moved to Baltimore, Maryland as the Colts.

The Boston Yanks are the only defunct NFL team ever to have the first overall NFL draft pick. They had it twice in 1944 and 46. Both times they selected a quarterback from the University of Notre Dame: Angelo Bertelli (44) and Frank Dancewicz

BOWL GAME:  a college football game played in late-December or early-January, after the regular season, between two successful teams.

In college football, bowl games are played in leiu of a playoff system such as the NFL uses. There are numerous bowl games every year, and a national champion is crowned by matching up the No.1 and No.2 ranked teams in a championship bowl game.

BOX  see The Box

BP  An acronym for Blocked punts -  usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports

BRACKET  A Double team scheme to take away a certain receiver. There are two types of Bracket coverage: High/Low & In/Out.

High/low coverage involves one defensive player staying between the line of scrimmage and the receiver, protecting against short passes, and another defender playing behind the receiver to protect from deep routes.

Skilled personnel can beat this coverage, however, based on running a route that breaks to the inside. On an "in" route the receiver makes a near-90 degree turn to the inside of the field and uses his speed to get away from the underneath defender. A higher-difficulty option is the "post" or "skinny post" route, which involves a turn of 30-60 degrees to the inside. The receiver again uses his speed to separate from the defender playing underneath, and the quarterback must deliver the ball over this defender and far enough inside that the defender protecting against deep passes cannot come down/across the flight path of the ball and deflect or intercept it. Though the difficulty on this pass is much higher, its success will gain many more yards.

In/out coverage is a scheme where one defender protects against routes run to the inside and another protects against routes to the outside. The easiest way to beat this coverage is a simple "go"/streak route: the receiver simply sprints down the field past the defenders. Any hesitation on the defenders' part to drop their coverage assignment and run with the streaking receiver can be exploited.

BRONCOS   See Denver Broncos

BRONKO NAGURSKI TROPHY  The Bronko Nagurski Trophy has been awarded annually since 1993 to the collegiate American football player adjudged by the membership of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) to be the best defensively in the United States; the award is presented by the Charlotte Touchdown Club and the FWAA. The award is named for Bronko Nagurski, who played football for the University of Minnesota and the Chicago Bears.

BROOKLYN DODGERS  The Brooklyn Dodgers were an American football team that played in the National Football League from 1930 to 1943, and in 1944 as the Brooklyn Tigers. The team played its home games at Ebbets Field. In 1945, due to financial difficulties, the team was merged with the Boston Yanks. The franchise is not related to the Brooklyn Dodgers franchise that played in the All-America Football Conference from 1946 to 1948. Another NFL team that played in Brooklyn was the Brooklyn Lions in 1926.

The team began play in 1930 after Brooklyn businessmen William B. Dwyer and John C. Depler bought the Dayton Triangles, moved it, and renamed it the Brooklyn Dodgers. Four years later, the team was eventually sold to New Yorker Dan Topping. On October 22, 1939, at Ebbets Field , the Dodgers played the Philadelphia Eagles in the first NFL game shown on television. The Dodgers won the game 23-14.

Beginning in 1942, the team went into a steep decline, as World War II caused a shortage of players. In 1944, the team was renamed the Tigers but suffered a 0-10 regular season record. In a desperate attempt for survival, the team merged with the Boston Yanks for the 1945 season. The merged team played four home games in Boston and one in New York. But fans from neither cities cared as they finished with a 3-6-1 record. The merger happened after the 1945 NFL draft.

In December 1945, Topping announced his intentions to accept the All-America Football Conference's New York franchise. In response, the NFL cancelled his NFL team and all of its players were assigned to the Yanks.

Brooklyn Dodgers
Pro Football Hall of Famers

Morris "Red" Badgro 
Benny Friedman 
Frank Kinard 
Clarence "Ace" Parker 

BROOKLYN LIONS   The Brooklyn Lions was a National Football League team that played in 1926. The team was formed as the league's countermove to the original American Football League, which also planned to field a team in Brooklyn called the Brooklyn Horsemen.

In the months before the regular season began, both leagues battled with each other for fan support and the right to play at Ebbets Field. The NFL emerged as the winner, as the Lions signed the lease to use the stadium on July 20.

Neither the Lions or the Horseman had much success. In fact, both teams merged just after four games into the regular season. The team finished the NFL season as the Brooklyn Lions. But both the Lions and the Horsemen folded following the season.

BROOKLYN TIGERS  See Brooklyn Dodgers

BROWNS   See Cleveland Browns

BrUp abbreviation for broken up passes (found in STAT records)

BT  An acronym for Broken Tackles -  usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports

BT% An acronym for Broken Tackles Percentage -  usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports

BUCCANEERS   See Tampa Bay Buccanners    or   Los Angeles Buccaneers


A play usually run from a wing-t formation that includes a variety of play fakes. The quarterback takes the snap and fakes trap to the fullback. He then hands off to a halfback or wingback, who runs to the outside. The buck sweep is normally blocked by pulling the playside gaurd to kickout the force defender, and the backside gaurd pulling and turning up on the playsided linebacker. This allows for the other linemen to downblock on the other defenders, giving the offense an advantage when it comes to blocking angles. The buck sweep also provides an advantage in the possibilities off of its action, with the fullback trap before the sweep, the waggle pass or bootleg after it, and the sweep itself.

BUD WILKINSON  See Wilkinson Bud

BUFFALO ALL AMERICANS   Buffalo, New York had a turbulent, early-era National Football League team that operated under three different names and several different owners between 1920-1929 NFL seasons. The early NFL era franchise was variously called the Buffalo All-Americans from 1920-1923, Buffalo Bisons from 1924-1925, 1927 and 1929, and the Buffalo Rangers in 1926. The franchise, experiencing financial problems in 1928, did not participate in league play.


The team went through several owners and name changes, but nothing seemed to work. Finally, after failing to field a team in 1928, the original Buffalo franchise folded after the 1929 season. Tommy Hughitt was a player on the team in the early 20s.

The team has no official relation to future Buffalo pro football franchises: the Buffalo Tigers of the 1930s AFL, the Buffalo Bills of the AAFC, or the Buffalo Bills of today which were one of the new AFL teams (formation announced in 1959) that first played in 1960.



The Buffalo Bills American football club is a Buffalo, New York-based National Football League team which plays its home games in the suburb of Orchard Park. The team began play in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League and joined the NFL as part of the AFL-NFL Merger.

The Bills won two consecutive AFL titles in 1964 and 1965. The club is also the first team to appear in four consecutive Super Bowls, but they lost all of them.

Year founded: 1960

City: Buffalo, New York

Head Coach: Dick Jauron

Team Colors: Dark Navy, Red, Royal, Nickel, and White

Uniform colors: 19601961: Light blue and white; 1962Present: Red, white and blue

    Helmet design: 19601961: Silver with blue side numerals; 19621964: White with red center stripe and red stationary bison; 19651973: White with red and blue center stripes and red standing bison; 19741983: White with red and blue center stripes and blue charging bison with a red slanting stripe streaming from its horn;
 1984 Present: Red with blue center stripes and blue charging bison as before.

Home fields

War Memorial Stadium (1960-1972)
Ralph Wilson Stadium (1973-present)
a.k.a. Rich Stadium (1973-1998)

Team history 

Buffalo Bills (1960–present) 

The nickname refers to William F. Cody, who was known as "Buffalo Bill." Buffalo had a football team called the Bison's, but the city's minor league baseball and hockey teams had the same name. The football team held a contest to select a new nickname following the 1946 season. More than 4,500 entries were submitted and Bills beat out Bullets, Nickels and Blue Devils.

BUFFALO BISONS See Buffalo All Americans

BUFFALO RANGERS  See Buffalo All Americans

BULLDOGS   See    Canton Bulldogs  or   Boston Bulldogs  or   Cleveland Bulldogs

BUMP AND RUN:    a technique often used by defensive backs,  pass defenders, where they hit a receiver once within 5 yards (1 yard in college) of the line of scrimmage to slow him down, in which a defensive player will line up directly in front of a wide receiver and try to "bump" them with their arms in order to disrupt their intended route and then follow him to prevent him from catching a pass.

This varies from the more traditional defensive formation in which a defensive player will give the receiver a "cushion" of about 5 yards in order to prevent the receiver from getting behind them. This tactic is possible because of the rule allowing defensive players to initiate contact within five yards of the line of scrimmage

BUNGLES - Name referring to the Cincinnati Bengals teams of the 1990's, whose string of losing seasons with records 8-8 or worse spanned consecutive 14 years. Name also used for any failing Cincinnati Bengals team thereafter.

BUS  see The Bus

BUST  (fantasy football term)   A player, usually drafted in the first three rounds of a fantasy draft, who is predicted to have a poor season. The player might be injury-prone, have a future star behind them in the depth chart, or just won't be able to live up to their hype

BUTTONHOOK: A pass route in which the receiver heads straight downfield, then abruptly turns back toward the line of scrimmage.

For a buttonhook to be effective, the receiver must convince the defensive back covering him that he is going to continue his pattern downfield.

BYE WEEK    Each NFL team plays 16 games out of 17 weeks in the NFL schedule. The game that they don't play is called their bye week.

BYRON "WHIZZER" WHITE AWARD    The NFL Players Association gives the Byron "Whizzer" White award to one NFL player each year for his charity work. Michael McCrary, who was involved in Runyon v. McCrary, grew up to be a professional football player and won the Byron "Whizzer" White award in 2001.


A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z



CAR    CE    CHA    CHE    CHI    CHO    CI    CL    CLI    CO    COL    CON    COR    COU    CR    CU


C  acronym for Center

CALL A PLAY:   instruct players to execute a pre-planned play.

CANADIAN FOOTBALL: Similar to American football, but with some differences, including different field size and scoring.  See Full Definition

CANADIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE (CFL):Canada's equivalent of the NFL; the association of Canadian professional football teams from various cities in that nation.

Similar to American football, but with some differences, including different field size and scoring.

See Full Definition

CANTON BULLDOGS  The Canton Bulldogs was a professional American football team based in Canton, Ohio, in the National Football League from 1920 to 1923 and 1925 to 1926. The Bulldogs won the 1922 and 1923 NFL championships. In 1924, Sam Deutsch, the owner of the team in Cleveland called the Indians, bought the Canton Bulldogs and took the team nickname and players to his Cleveland franchise as the Cleveland Bulldogs. He offered to sell the Canton franchise back to Canton to play in the 1924 season, but there were no buyers so he "mothballed" the Canton club. The Canton team was re-established in 1925, and the NFL considers the 1925–1926 Canton Bulldogs to be the same team as the 1920–1923 incarnation.

Jim Thorpe was Canton's best player. In 1921–1923, the Bulldogs played 25 straight games without a defeat (including 3 ties) winnning the 1922 and 1923 NFL titles, which as of 2007 remains an NFL record. As a result of the Bulldogs' early success along with the league being founded in the city, the Pro Football Hall of Fame is located in Canton.

The Canton Bulldogs
Pro Football Hall of Famers

Guy Chamberlin
Joe Guyon
Wilbur "Pete" Henry
William "Link" Lyman
Jim Thorpe


The Capital One Bowl is an annual college football bowl game played in Orlando, Florida at the Citrus Bowl, and previously known as the Tangerine Bowl (1947-1982) and the Florida Citrus Bowl (1983-2001). Financial services company Capital One has been the title sponsor of the bowl since 2001 when it was the Capital One Florida Citrus Bowl but with the exclusive Capital One Bowl moniker since 2003. The bowl is operated by Florida Citrus Sports, a non-profit group which also organizes the Champs Sports Bowl and Florida Classic.

CAPTAIN COMEBACK  (Captain Comeback and the Cardiac Colts)  After a 1-2 start Jim Harbaugh earns back the starting QB jobs and leads the Colts on a wild ride that would see them finish 9-7 and qualify for the playoffs. In Harbaugh's first 3 games at QB He led the Colts to comeback wins in each of his first 3 starts earning him the nickname "Captain Comeback", and the team the "Cardiac Colts." Many of the Colts wins were close hard fought games that the gutsy Colts just pulled out by the strength of their wills.

CARDIAC CARDINALS - the St. Louis Cardinals NFC East championship teams of 1974 (10-4) and '75 (11-3). Noted for their come-from-behind wins under their head coach, Don Coryell. The name was resurrected for the 1998 team that upset Dallas in the wild card game.

CARDIAC CATS   the Carolina Panthers of the late 1990s and early 2000s, known for close games often decided in the final minutes or the final play, thus giving their fans heart attacks.

The Jacksonville Jaguars also earned this nickname in the late 90's after pulling off last minute wins, especially during the 1996 season.  See Cardiac Jags below

CARDIAC COLTS   After a 1-2 start Jim Harbaugh earns back the starting QB jobs and leads the Colts on a wild ride that would see them finish 9-7 and qualify for the playoffs. In Harbaugh's first 3 games at QB He led the Colts to comeback wins in each of his first 3 starts earning him the nickname "Captain Comeback", and the team the "Cardiac Colts." Many of the Colts wins were close hard fought games that the gutsy Colts just pulled out by the strength of their wills.

CARDIAC JAGS  the Jacksonville Jaguars earned this nickname due to making several comeback wins and/or winning nail-biters.

CARDINALS  See Arizona Cardinals

CARD PITT   Card Pitt was the name for the team created by the temporary merger of two National Football League (NFL) teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Chicago Cardinals, during the 1944 season. The teams were forced to merge because both had lost many players to military service due to World War II. After the season the merger was dissolved. The two teams together did not do so well as the combined team with 0-10 record in the Western Division. Sportswriters called the team the "Car-Pitts" (carpets). The Steelers had previously combined with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1943 as the "Steagles".

The teams merged at the request of the League to avoid the scheduling difficulties associated with what would otherwise have been 11 teams. The team was so bad that three players were fined $200 each for “indifferent play.”

CARDS:  Short for Cardinals  See Arizona Cardinals


The Carolina Panthers American football club is a National Football League team based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers, along with the Jacksonville Jaguars, joined the NFL as 1995 expansion teams.

City: Charlotte, North Carolina

Head Coach: John Fox  

 Uniform colors: Black, Panther Blue, Silver, and White

    Helmet design: Silver helmet, a black snarling panther outlined in blue

    Nickname: The Cardiac Cats

Home fields:

Memorial Stadium, Clemson (1995)
Bank of America Stadium (1996-present)
a.k.a. Ericsson Stadium (1996-2004)

 Team history 

Carolina Panthers (1993–present)  

The nickname for Carolina's 1995 expansion team was selected by team president Mark Richardson, the son of owner Jerry Richardson. The younger Richardson also chose the Panthers' colors of Panther blue, silver and black.

CARR, JOSEPH    see Carr, Joseph here

CARROLL ROSENBLOOM   See Rosenbloom. Carroll

CARRY  Also called offensive rushing.  An offensive player advances the ball by running from behind the line of scrimmage (a running play)

CB  acronym for Cornerback

CENTER: (C) An offensive line position at the center of the line of scrimmage. The center snaps the ball to the quarterback or punter.

Jersey Numbers: 60 - 79

After snapping the football, the center must be ready to block the defensive linemen.

The center is at the center of the offensive line, and it is the center who snaps the ball between his legs to the quarterback at the start of each play. On most plays, the center will snap the ball directly to the quarterback's hands. In a shotgun formation, the center snaps the ball to the quarterback lined up several yards behind him. Before the snap, the center will often be responsible for making calls to adjust the blocking assignments of all the offensive linemen. After the snap, the center must block defensive players from reaching the  ball carrier (on running plays) or the quarterback (on passing plays). On passing plays in particular, the center often must block blitzing defensive players. In special teams situations, the center is referred to as a "long snapper," who snaps the ball with two hands to a punter standing approximately 12-14 yards behind him, or to the holder for the placekicker, kneeling approximately 7 yards behind him. These long snappers are often players particularly talented at performing these snaps, and are not necessarily the same center used on other plays. In fact, professional football teams may carry a player on their roster for the sole or primary purpose of long snapping.

The Center for The Indianapolis Colts is Jeff Saturday

CFL  See Canadian Football League

CHAIN CREW:  Assistants to the officials whose job is to mark where a team begins a series and how far they need to go to get a first down.

 The chain gang brings the chains onto the field for measurements on plays that end too close to the first down for the officials to make a determination by simply comparing the spot of the ball with the marker on the sideline. The chains are brought out to give an exact measurement from the spot where the series started.

The Chain Crew are assistants to the referee who handle the first down measuring chain and the down indicator box. The members of the chain crew who operate the measuring chain are called rod men and the person who works the down indicator box is called the box man.

The down indicator box is a pole with a sign indicating what the current down is. Before every play from scrimmage, it is placed on the sideline to mark the current line of scrimmage.

The first down measuring chain is used to measure the yards that the offensive team needs to gain a first down. It is a 10-yard metal chain with poles attached to each end. The poles, usually called "the sticks", are almost always covered in bright orange padding.

When a team gains a first down, one of the rod men places one end of the chain on the sideline parallel to the spot of the ball. The other rod man then stretches the chain out to mark the first down line. To ensure an accurate measurement, a clip is usually attached to the chain on the closest 5-yard mark on the field.

The chains will be brought directly onto the field whenever the referee needs an accurate measurement to determine if a first down has been made. A team may also request an accurate measurement to determine how far they have to reach for the first down.

For professional and college football games, an auxiliary chain crew operates on the opposite side of the field. Here, another "stick" and down indicator box is used so that players and officials can also look at the other side of the field to know where the first down line and the line of scrimmage is, respectively. The auxiliary chain crew also includes the drive start indicator, which is placed at the beginning of a team's drive and stays there until they lose possession. This indicator is only used for statistical purposes to calculate the distance of each drive. It looks similar to a "stick", but it has an arrow that points in the direction to where the offensive team is going.

Members of the chain crew are usually picked by the offices of the home team instead of the league or conference that they play in.

CHAIN GANG: See Chain Crew

CHAMBERLIN, GUY  See Chamberlin, Guy

CHAMBERLIN TROPHY   given annually to the outstanding senior football player. Founded after Guy Chamberlin.

CHARGERS   See San Diago Chargers   and/or  Los Angeles Chargers


CHEAP SHOT: A deliberate foul or other violent act against an unsuspecting player.

CHEAT SHEET (fantasy football term)  A drafting tool that lists NFL players ranked in order of predicted fantasy points; however there are no accompanying stats, so it is possible that it isn't accurate for a league's scoring system

CHECK OFF:  Changing a play at the line of scrimmage by calling out a predetermined set of signals.

A check off is often called by the quarterback when he doesn't like the play call after getting a look at the defensive formation

Also Known As: audible, automatic

CHEERLEADER:   a performer who makes the crowd cheer: a member of a group of uniformed performers who encourage the crowd to support a team at sports events

Cheerleading is an activity that uses organized routines made up of elements from dance and/or gymnastics to cheer on sports teams at games and matches, and/or as a competitive sport.

Cheerleaders are present at all NFL Professional Football games, each team has its own set of cheerleaders who dance, cheer and spur the crowd on. But Cheerleading is not restricted to American Football in fact Cheerleading is a recognized sport of its own. Its beginnings though are by no means as glamorous a spectacle as they are today.

Colts Cheerleaders

CHEESE HEADS    A name given to people of Wisconsin (mainly Packer fans) by Chicago Bears fans after the Bears won the Super Bowl. The name mocks Wisconsin's love of cheese. The name eventually gained acceptance. "Cheeseheads" can refer to the "Packer Nation", being synonymous to Green Bay's massive diaspora of fans nationwide.


The Chicago Bears American football club is a National Football League team based in Chicago, Illinois. The club began play in 1919 and became a charter member of the NFL in 1920.


The Bears have won 9 total league titles, including 8 NFL Championships and Super Bowl XX. They have played in over 1,000 games and currently lead the NFL in overall franchise wins with over 660. The Bears also lead the league in the number of Pro Football Hall of Fame players with 26 enshrinees.

City: Chicago, Illinois

Team Colors: Navy Blue, Orange, and White

Head Coach: Lovie Smith

Home fields

Staley Field (1919-1920)
Wrigley Field (1921-1970)
Soldier Field (I) (1971-2001)
Memorial Stadium (Champaign) (2002)
Soldier Field (II) (2003-present)

Team Nicknames 

Da Bears
The Monsters of the Midway  

Team history

Decatur Staleys (1919–1920)
Chicago Staleys (1921)
Chicago Bears (1922–present) 

George Halas moved the Decatur Staleys to Chicago in 1921. The Staleys played at Wrigley Field, the home of baseball's Cubs. Halas determined that if the baseball tenants were Cubs, then his more rugged gridiron combatants should be known as the Bears.

CHICAGO STALEYS   Originally named the Decatur Staleys, the club was established by the A. E. Staley Company of Decatur, Illinois in 1919 as a company team. This was the typical start for several of the early professional football franchises. The company hired George Halas and Edward "Dutch" Sternaman in 1920 to run the team, and turned full control of the team over to them in 1921.[2] However, official team and league records cite Halas as the founder as he took over the team in 1920 when it became a charter member of the NFL.

Along with the Arizona Cardinals (originally from Chicago themselves), the Bears are one of only two charter members of the NFL still in existence. The team relocated to Chicago in 1921, where the club was renamed the CHICAGO STALEYS. Under an agreement that was reached by Halas and Sternaman with Staley, Halas purchased the rights to the club from Staley for US $100.

CHICAGO TIGERS  The Chicago Tigers of the American Professional Football Association (now the NFL) played only in the first year of the league (1920). They had a record of 2 wins, 5 losses and 1 tie. The team played its home games at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

The Tigers' main claim to fame is that they helped start the tradition of playing on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1920, when they were defeated by the Decatur Staleys (later the Chicago Bears).

CHIEFS   See Kansas City Chiefs

CHIN STRAP  The chin strap keeps the helmet strapped on to the players head.

CHOP BLOCK:  A block below the knees.

 Offensive linemen often try to cut defensive linemen by using chop blocks.

CHUCK BEDNARIK AWARD   The Chuck Bednarik Award is presented annually to the defensive collegiate football player adjudged by the Maxwell Football Club to be the best in the United States.

CHUCK and DUCK  a style of offense with minimal pass protection requiring the quarterback to "chuck" the ball then "duck" to avoid a defensive lineman.

CHUCKING: Warding off an opponent who is in front of a defender by contacting him with a quick extension of arm or arms, followed by the return of arm(s) to a flexed position, thereby breaking the original contact.

Stiff arm


The Cincinnati Bengals American football club is a National Football League team based in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals began play in the American Football League as a 1968 expansion team, and joined the NFL as part of the AFL-NFL Merger.

City: Cincinnati, Ohio

Head Coach: Marvin Lewis

Team Colors: Black, Orange and White

Head Coach: Marvin Lewis

Uniform colors: Black, Orange and White

Helmet design: Orange background with black tiger stripes


Bengals Logo

Home fields:

Nippert Stadium (1968-1969)
Cinergy Field (1970-1999)
a.k.a. Riverfront Stadium (1970-1995)

Paul Brown Stadium (2000-present)

Team history 

Cincinnati Bengals (1968–present)  

The Ickey Shuffle

The most commonly recognized contribution comes from the "Ickey Shuffle", a celebratory dance created by Bengals running back Ickey Woods in his rookie season of 1988 during the Bengals' Super Bowl run. This dance, done after Woods would score a touchdown, was the catalyst for the NFL instituting penalties against excessive celebratory performances (resulting in the backronym "No Fun League"), and before the 1989 season was over it was relegated to the sidelines. 

Paul Brown chose this nickname for Cincinnati's 1968 AFL expansion team because there had been earlier football teams in the city called the Bengals. The elder Bengals were members of the AFL in 1937, competed as an independent club in 1938, then played in a new AFL from 1939-41 before the league again folded.

CINCINNATI REDS  The Cincinnati Reds were a National Football League team that played the 1933 season and the first eight games of the 1934 season. The team was suspended for failure to pay league dues. The St. Louis Gunners, an independent team, replaced the Reds on the schedule for the last three games of the 1934 season.

CLEATS  An Astroturf field is essentially an asphalt parking lot covered over with thin padding and carpeting. It is very unforgiving and has been known to put many players out with knee and ankle injuries. Players prefer natural grass fields -- the type of field a team has will often factor into a player's choice between teams.

On natural grass fields, players can use molded-bottom shoes like these:

Cleats come in four sizes: 

  • 1/2 inch (at the start of the season on dry fields)

  • 3/8 inch (for normal field conditions once fields have been used in several games)
  • 3/4 inch (for wet or soft fields)
  • 1 inch (for extreme cases -- think Lambeau Field and the "Frozen Tundra" game)

If it rains in the middle of a game, The Equipment Manager and staff have a big job. If the team is playing on grass, they have to replace all of the cleats on 53 pairs of shoes down on the field. This is fairly easy using electric stud drivers. On Astroturf, the job is more difficult because the players have to change shoes. Many players tape their shoes and most wear orthopedics to custom-fit them, so the process involves untaping the shoes, pulling out the orthopedics, putting the orthopedics in the shoes the player is switching to and then retaping. With 53 players, this process is repeated 106 times! -- not a fun job in the rain or snow.

Also See Shoes for more types and styles


The Cleveland Browns American football club is a National Football League team based in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns began play in 1946 as a charter member of the All-America Football Conference and joined the NFL in 1950 after the AAFC merged into the older league. The team has won 4 AAFC titles and 4 NFL Championships.

In some accounts, there may be confusion regarding the team's history due to unusual and unprecedented actions taken by the cities of Cleveland, Baltimore, Maryland and the NFL in 1996. On November 6, 1995, then-Browns owner Art Modell announced his intention to move the team to Baltimore, citing the inadequacy of Cleveland Stadium and the lack of a sufficient replacement. The decision triggered a flurry of legal activity that ended when representatives of both cities and the NFL reached a settlement on February 9, 1996. It stipulated that the Browns' name, colors, and history of the franchise were to remain in Cleveland. A reactivated Cleveland Browns team would then begin play in 1999, while the relocated club would technically be a new expansion team, the Baltimore Ravens.

For that reason, past records and Pro Football Hall of Fame players are attributed to the Browns and not to the Ravens. However, some consider the Ravens and the pre-1995 Browns organization as one continuous entity, using the term The Modell Franchise to denote it.

Team owner Art Modell complained that he wanted a new stadium in the late 1980s. Cleveland City Council offered Modell an indoor stadium that would seat 68,000. Modell was upset that the new stadium would be too small, so he decided to put his own money into renovation of the old Cleveland Stadium. After seeing new stadiums built for other major teams, after years of complaining that a new stadium would be necessary to sustain the viability of the franchise, and despite years of sellouts and profitability, in November 1995, Modell announced he would relocate the Browns to Baltimore, Maryland for 1996.

The announcement was met with unprecedented resistance from Browns fans, with over 100 lawsuits filed by fans, the city of Cleveland, and a host of others. Virtually all of the team's sponsors immediately pulled their support, leaving Cleveland Stadium devoid of advertising during the team's final weeks. Modell was forced to resign from the membership (and in many cases, leadership positions) of local civic and charitable organizations, and would literally be forced to leave the city - never to return.

The 1995 season was a disaster on the field, too. After starting 3-1, the rumors and eventual announcement cast a pall on the team, who finished 5-11. When fans in the Dawg Pound became rowdy during their final home game against the Cincinnati Bengals, action moving towards that end zone had to be moved to the opposite end of the field.

In early 1996, the National Football League announced that the team would be 'deactivated' for three years, and that a new stadium would be built for a new Cleveland Browns team that would begin play in 1999. Modell would in turn be granted a new franchise for Baltimore, the Baltimore Ravens, and the Browns' history, records, awards and archives would remain in Cleveland, to be given to the new franchise when restored.

City: Cleveland, Ohio

Head Coach: Romeo Crennel

Team Colors: Brown, Orange, and White

Uniform colors: Brown (officially "Seal Brown") and Orange

Helmet design: Orange helmet with brown and white center stripe. No logo
 (for one preseason game in 1965 the initials "CB" in brown appeared on each side).

Home fields

Cleveland Municipal Stadium (1946-1995)
Cleveland Browns Stadium (1999-present)

Team history 

Cleveland Browns (1946–1995) 
Suspended operations (1996–1998)
Cleveland Browns (1999–present)

  Cleveland's All-American Football Conference entry was founded in 1946. Paul Brown was named the team's first coach and general manager. The Browns moved to Baltimore in 1996, but the team's history remained, paving the way for the Browns to be resurrected as an expansion team in 1999.

CLEVELAND BULLDOGS  The Cleveland Bulldogs was a team that played in Cleveland, Ohio in the National Football League. They were called the Indians in 1923. The team's owner bought the defending NFL champions Canton Bulldogs. He "mothballed" the Canton team and took its players and name to Cleveland in 1924 and won the NFL championship. In 1925 owner Sam Deustch, sold the Canton franchise to local owners, and sold his club to Herb Brandt. The Canton-less Bulldogs fell to a dismal 5-8-1. Brandt received authority from the league to suspend operations for a year. They returned in 1927, bolstered by players from the folded Kansas City franchise. However, the front office success didn't match the play on the field, and the team folded.

CLEVELAND INDIANS   The Cleveland Indians was the name of three separate National Football League teams from Cleveland, Ohio. They played in the 1921 (formerly the Tigers), 1923 (from 1924-25, and 1927 called the Bulldogs) and 1931 seasons.

The 1931 team was a league-sponsored club that only played games on the road. The NFL intended to locate this team permanently in Cleveland, but when no suitable owner was found it folded after one season.

CLEVELAND TIGERS  played in the National Football League, then called the American Professional Football Association during the 1920 and 1921 seasons. For 1921, the name of the team was changed to the Cleveland Indians because three Native Americans were signed away from Canton. Like many NFL teams in this era, the team had great financial difficulties and so folded after 1921.

CLEVELAND RAMS (1936-1945) Currently St. Louis Rams

The Cleveland Rams were founded by attorney Homer Marshman in 1936. Their name, the Rams, comes from the nickname of Fordham University. Rams was selected to honor the hard work of the players that came out of that university. They were part of the newly formed American Football League. The following year they joined the National Football League and were assigned the Western division to replace the St. Louis Gunners, who disbanded after the 1934 season. From the beginning, they were a team marked by frequent moves playing in three stadiums over several losing seasons. The franchise suspended operations and sat out the 1943 season because of a shortage of players during World War II and resumed playing in 1944. The team finally achieved success in 1945, which proved to be their last season in Ohio, achieving a 9-1 record and winning their first NFL Championship, a 15-14 home field victory over the Washington Redskins on December 16.

CLIPPING: Throwing the body across the back of an opponent's leg or hitting him from the back below the waist while moving up from behind unless the opponent is a runner or the action is in close line play.

Referee signal: hand striking the back of the leg.

Clipping is a foul, with a 15-yard penalty.

CLOSED FACE MASK   The closed cage usually is the choice of linesmen because the closed cagevertical bar running the length of the mask over the nose with two, three, or four horizontal bars - helps to keep other players' fingers and hands out of their eyes. In the 1970s, vinyl coating was layered onto the bars to protect against chipping and abrasions.

Soon, colors were added to the face masks as another way to distinguish players and teams.
See Facemask

CLOTHESLINE: A foul. To clothesline is to strike another player across the face with one's extended arm.

CLOSE LINE PLAY: The area between the positions normally occupied by the offensive tackles, extending three yards on each side of the line of scrimmage.

CLUTH  In American sports terminology, "clutch" means performing well under extreme pressure. It often refers to high levels of production in a critical game such as an NFL Playoff Game. Being "clutch" is often (perhaps erroneously) seen by sportswriters and fans as an innate skill to be possessed

- some players have it, some players do not.



CM  (also COM, COMP) An acronym for Completions -  usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports

COACH: The trainer of the team who also formulates offensive and defensive strategy. In professional football there is a head coach assisted by several other coaches specializing in certain areas of training, such as offense, defense, strength training, etc.

COACH OF THE YEAR AWARD  The NFL Coach of the Year Award is presented annually by various news and sports organizations to the NFL head coach who has done the most outstanding job of working with the talent he has at his disposal. Currently, the most widely recognized award is presented by the Associated Press (AP). First presented in 1957, the AP award did not include American Football League teams until the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. The Sporting News has given its NFL Coach of the Year awards since 1947. Other NFL Coach of the Year awards are presented by Pro Football Weekly-Pro Football Writers of America and the Maxwell Football Club.

The United Press International (UPI) NFL Coach of the Year award was first presented in 1955. From 1960 to 1969, before the AFL-NFL merger, an award was also given to the most outstanding coach from the AFL. When the leagues merged in 1970, separate awards were given to the best coaches from the AFC and NFC conferences. The UPI discontinued the awards after 1996.

COFFIN CORNER: One of the four corners of the field.

a punter may try to place the ball so that it lands and goes out of bounds, or is downed, near a corner of the playing field just in front of the end zone, thus forcing difficult field position for the receiving team on their next scrimmage. By extension from the real-life usage of the term described above, the corner the punter is aiming for in that situation is sometimes called the "coffin corner", for if the kick is only slightly too far in either direction (out of bounds or into the end zone) a touchback is awarded the ball will be placed on the twenty yard line, losing the advantage that comes with a successful execution of the kick.



Before the start of the game, the quarterback of the visiting team calls heads or tails of a coin flipped by the referee. The winning team kicks off; the loser chooses which goal to defend.

The game begins with a kickoff, which is one type of free kick. Prior to the game, captains from each team participate in a coin toss. The winner of the toss may make one of four choices: to kickoff, to receive and have the other team kickoff, to choose to defend one end of the field, or to choose to defend the other end. The toss winner nearly always chooses to receive; the other team then may choose from the remaining options, usually choosing which end of the field to defend. In amateur football, the winner of the toss may also defer their choice to the second half and give the other team first choice of options in the first half. This is typically done when the captain winning the toss wants to receive to start the second half.

A kickoff is also used to start the second half of the game. The team who did not get first choice at the coin toss now chooses; likewise, they nearly always choose to receive. Kickoffs also take place after each touchdown and field goal, with the scoring team kicking off.

Click Here for Official Deatils

COLLEGE FOOTBALL ALL AMERICA TEAM   The College Football All-America Team is an honor given annually to the best American college football players at their respective positions. The original usage of the term All-America seems to have been to such a list selected by football pioneer Walter Camp in the 1890s.

Currently the NCAA recognizes the lists of All-Americans selected by the AP, AFCA, FWAA, TSN, and the WCFF to determine Consensus All-Americans.

ABC Sports, ESPN and CNN-Sports Illustrated and many others also select All-America teams.

COLTS :    See Indianapolis Colts     formerly known as Baltimore Colts

COLUMBUS PANHANDLES  The Columbus Panhandles were an football professional football team from Columbus, Ohio and later played in the American Professional Football Association, later renamed the National Football League. The origin of the name "Panhandles" was the Pennsylvania Railroad route from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Columbus called the "Panhandle Division," once owned by the Panhandle Railroad (formally the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad) in the late 1800s.

The Panhandles were originally formed in 1901 by the Pennsylvania Railroad Athletic Association in Columbus. Joe F. Carr, who also ran the railroad's baseball team, took over the football team in 1907 until 1922, He utilized a group of exceptionally strong brothers called the Nessers who were a draw throughout the country. The six Nesser brothers were exceptionally large and strong for people living in the early 20th century. (One brother, Frank Nesser, was 6-foot 3-inches tall and weighed 235 pounds.) They all were exceptionally great athletes for their time.

Two decades later, the "Panhandles" played as part of the APFA/NFL from 1920-1922. After the 1922 season, franchise owner Joe F. Carr discontinued the franchise because of cost and salary demands. In 1923, a new team was organized by local businessmen called the Columbus Tigers and played from 1923-1926. The original team often went by the nickname "Handles" and historically are considered charter members of the National Football League because of their membership in the American Professional Football Association in September 1920, playing in the league's very first game against the Dayton Triangles in Dayton, Ohio.

COM  (also CM, COMP) An acronym for Completions -  usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD   The NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award has been given out after every season since 1972, except for 1985 when no winner was selected. The player named Comeback Player of the Year shows perseverance in overcoming adversity, in the form of not being in the NFL the previous year, a severe injury, or simply poor performance.


President Jim Thorpe (1920–1921)
President Joseph Carr (1921–1939) 
President Carl Storck (1939–1941) 
Commissioner Elmer Layden (1941–1946) 
Commissioner Bert Bell (1946–1959) 
Interim President Austin Gunsel (1959–1960, following death of Bell) 
Commissioner Alvin "Pete" Rozelle (1960–1989) 
Commissioner Paul Tagliabue (1989–2006) 
Commissioner Roger Goodell (2006–present) 

COMP  An acronym for Completions usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports

COMPLETE PASS:  a forward pass to a teammate who catches it in the air. A legally caught pass.


1. A legally caught pass. Also known as a reception.  A forward pass that is thrown by the Quarterback and caught by an offensive player that is beyond the line of scrimmage.
2. Usually a term found in STAT Reports meaning Completions made by a Reciever. etc

CONFERENCE:  The National Football League, the professional competition in American football, has two conferences: the National Football Conference (NFC), and the American Football Conference (AFC). The winners of these two conferences go on to play in the annual Super Bowl.

CONFERENCE RECORD  The win/loss status of of an NFL Conference.


AFC East













New England












N.Y. Jets




































AFC North





























































AFC South





























































AFC West













y-San Diego












Kansas City




































CONTACT SPORT: Any sport involving physical contact between players. Football is a contact sport, as are hockey, boxing, and soccer.

CONTROLLING THE TIME CLOCK:  the use of tactics by an offensive team to either save or use up time on the game clock, which often dictates its choice of plays.

CONVERSION   First, it is used to describe when the offensive term advances the ball beyond the "first down" marker during a series of downs.  When the offense does this they are allotted a new set of downs (it is considered first down again).  Secondly, after the offense has scored a touchdown, they will try to score an extra point (also called extra point conversion).

See Point After Touchdown. 

CORNER ROUTE (an offensive play)  a pattern run by a receiver in American Football, where the receiver runs up the field at approximately a 45 degree angle, heading away from the quarterback towards the sideline. Usually, the pass is used when the defensive back is playing towards the inside shoulder of the receiver, thus creating a one on one vertical matchup. The corner route is less likely to be intercepted when compared to the slant route, because it is thrown away from the middle of the field. The pass is used frequently in the West Coast offensive scheme, where quick, accurate throwing is key.

CORNERBACK:   (CB or DB(also referred to as a corner) A defensive player who generally lines up on the outside of the formation and is usually assigned to cover a wide receiver.

A defensive backfield player, almost as deep into the backfield as the safety. There are two cornerbacks. Their job is to tackle runners and intercept passes.

Either one of the two defensive backs who plays behind and to the outside of the linebackers, and whose duties include defending against passes and stopping running plays to the outside.

A position in football, more broadly classified as a defensive back. As this suggests, he is indeed a defensive player. The modern cornerback is ideally very fast, agile, and has good football instinct. Like any defensive player, he must be able to react faster than his opponent, since he does not have the benefit of knowing where a play is going to go. Essential skills for a cornerback include backpedaling, jumping, staying with his man, anticipating a pass route and reading the quarterback.

Most defensive formations in modern pro football use 4 defensive backs. Two of these are safeties, and two of them are corners. A corner's responsibilities vary depending on the type of coverage called. Coverage is simply how the defense will be protecting against the pass. A corner will be given one of two ways to defend the pass (with variations that result in more or less the same responsibilities): zone and man-to-man. In zone coverage, the cornerback is responsible for an area on the field. In this case, the corner must always stay downfield of whoever it is covering while still remaining in its zone, always between the sideline and the opposing player. Zone is a more relaxed defensive scheme meant to provide more awareness across the defensive secondary while sacrificing tight coverage. As such, the corner in this case would be responsible for making sure nobody gets outside of him, always, or downfield of him, in cases where there is no deep safety help. In man coverage, however, the cornerback is solely responsible for the man across from him, usually the offensive player split farthest out.

Jersey Numbers: 20 - 49


COUNT  The offensive count is the numbers, signals and a specific cadence that the Quarterback shouts signaling for the center to hike the ball to initiate a play.  Sometimes the Quarterback will shout a long count, with many signals in an attempt to confuse or draw the defense to off sides

COUNTER   (an offensive playa running play in which the running back will take a step in the apparent direction of the play (ie, the direction the line is moving), only to get the handoff in the other direction. Weak side linemen will sometimes pull and lead the back downfield (sometimes called a counter trap), but not necessarily. The play is designed to get the defense to flow away from the action for a few steps as they follow the linemen, allowing more room for the running back.

COUNTER TREY   (an offensive play) a misdirection running play.

This play is designed for the offensive team to feign rushing one way, then attacking the defense in the opposite direction. In a counter trey right, the center, right guard, and right tackle block left as if the play is going left. The left guard and left tackle "pull" from their positions by moving behind the other linemen and around the right corner.

The running back takes an initial feint step to the left, then cuts back to the right, receives the handoff from the quarterback, and follows behind the pulling left guard and left tackle. The left guard and left tackle will usually be blocking smaller linebackers and defensive backs downfield--this mismatch favors the offense. The counter trey requires quick, athletic linemen for good execution.

Many teams have run this play, but it first became well-known when run by the Washington Redskins in the 1980s. In particular, guard Russ Grimm and tackle Joe Jacoby would open up massive holes for John Riggins, George Rogers, and Earnest Byner.

COVER: To defend a position or location on the field. Preventing a player from gaining yards; in pass coverage, a defender follows a receiver to prevent him from catching a pass; in kick coverage, members of the kicking team try to prevent a long kick return.

COVER ZERO  Strict man-to-man coverage with no help from safeties (usually a blitz play with at least five men crossing the line of scrimmage)

Cover 0 refers to pure man coverage with no deep defender. Similar to Cover 1, Cover 0 has the same strengths and weaknesses.
COVER ONE  Man-to-man coverage with at least one safety not assigned a player to cover who can help out on deep pass routes.

Cover 1 schemes employ only one deep defender, usually a safety. Many underneath coverages paired with Cover 1 shells are strictly man-to-man with LBs and defensive backs each assigned a different offensive player to cover. By using only one deep defender in Cover 1, the other deep defender is free to blitz the quarterback or provide man-to-man pass coverage help.

Cover 1 schemes are usually very aggressive, preferring to proactively disrupt the offense by giving the quarterback little time to make a decision while collapsing the pocket quickly. This is the main advantage of Cover 1 schemes--the ability to blitz from various pre-snap formations while engaging in complex man-to-man coverage schemes post-snap. For example, a safety may blitz while a CB is locked in man coverage with a WR. Or the CB may blitz with the safety rotating into man coverage on the WR post-snap.

The main weakness of Cover 1 schemes is the lone deep defender that must cover a large amount of field and provide help on any deep threats. Offenses can attack Cover 1 schemes with a vertical stretch by sending two receivers on deep routes, provided that the quarterback has enough time for his receivers to get open. The deep defender must decide which receiver to help out on, leaving the other in man coverage which may be a mismatch.

A secondary weakness is inherent its design: the use of man coverage opens up yards after catch lanes. Man coverage is attacked by offenses in various ways that try to isolate their best athletes on defenders by passing them the ball quickly before the defender can react or designing plays that clear defenders from certain areas thus opening yards after catch lanes.


Cover Two zone scheme known as Tampa Two, so named because it took hold with coach Tony Dungy's  Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the late 1990s and early 2000s. It has become the most popular defense in the NFL, a bend-but-don't-break scheme that forces offenses to execute down the length of the field five yards at a time.

The entire concept of the Cover 2 is to make it hard to pass on you. The name comes from the position of the safeties, who both play deep zone coverage. In this normally 4-3 coverage scheme, your safeties play further back, while your linebackers and cornerbacks play zone coverage underneath the safeties. Each person underneath covers about 1/5th the width of the field for about 7 yards deep. The two safeties split the field and each cover half against the deep pass.









T        T




Cover Two Defense




















As Ron Meeks, the Indianapolis Colts' defensive coordinator states it, "We play with so much energy and speed. "When the ball is thrown, we're like piranhas. We're attacking the ball carrier, attacking the receivers, trying to inflict as much pain and play with as much energy as we can. A lot of it is an attitude."

That aggressive approach is the foundation of the Tampa 2, the style of Cover 2 defense made popular by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers under Tony Dungy, starting in the mid- to late-1990s. Actually, it all started in the 1970s with Bud Carson's Steelers defenses, for whom Dungy played defensive back. Dungy learned the Cover 2 from Carson.

 In Cover 2, two safeties play zone (area) coverage, each of them responsible for half of the field. Dungy's Bucs had great success dropping a speedy middle linebacker (the "Mike") down the middle of the field to defend the pass, creating a three-deep look, while four often undersized but quick defensive linemen rushed the passer. And so, the Tampa 2 was born.

So, too, was a trend. Nowadays, most every defense in the league has some form of the Tampa 2 in its package. But no one is making the Tampa 2 do what it does better than the originators -- Dungy in Indianapolis, Smith in Chicago and longtime coordinator Monte Kiffin in Tampa. The Bears and Colts are division champions, and the Bucs a victory away from making it three-for-three for Tampa 2 teams.

The "Cover 2" is a zone defense in which every defender is responsible for a specific area of the field. Instead of playing man to man it's more of a zone type defense where you defend a certain part of the field.

The two safeties, playing well off the line of scrimmage, cover the deep passing routes, while also directing the strategy and of the rest of the defense. Each additional member of the defense is responsible for a specific area of the field.

After the play begins by the opposing Teams Offense, each of the defenders keeps his eyes on the ball and reacts quickly to it, be it a run or a pass. The Cover 2 scheme works best when out-fitted with high-energy personnel that excel at responding quickly to the play and attacking the ball. When executed properly by experienced, skilled personnel, the Cover 2 defense is unbeatable. The Cover 2 defense is thus adaptable to the myriad formations and schemes brought forth by the competition.

COVER THREE   Zone coverage as above, only with extra help from a cornerback, so that each player covers one-third of a deep zone.

Cover 3 refers to 3 deep defenders each guarding one-third of the deep zone. Cover 3 schemes are usually used to defend against passes, mainly those towards the deep middle of the field. Unlike Cover 2 schemes that create a natural hole between safeties, Cover 3's extra deep defender is able to patrol the middle area effectively.

The most basic Cover 3 scheme involves 2 CBs and a safety. Upon snap, the CBs work for depth, backpedaling into their assigned zone. One safety moves toward the center of the field. The other safety is free to rotate into the flat area (about 2-4 yards beyond the line of scrimmage), provide pass coverage help, or blitz.

As with other coverage shells, Cover 3 is paired with underneath man or zone coverage in its most basic form.

The main weakness of Cover 3 shells is the 2 retreating CBs. Since the CBs are working for depth, short pass routes underneath the CB can isolate him on a wide receiver near the sideline with little help.

COVER FOUR   As a Cover 3, with the corners and safeties dropping into deep coverage, with each taking one-fourth of the width of the field. Also referred to as Quarters.

Cover 4 refers to 4 deep defenders each guarding one-fourth of the deep zone. Cover 4 schemes are usually used to defend against deep passes. (See Prevent defense).

The most basic Cover 4 scheme involves 2 CBs and 2 safeties. Upon snap, the CBs work for depth, backpedaling into their assigned zone. Both safeties backpedal towards their assigned zone.

As with other coverage shells, Cover 4 is paired with underneath man or zone coverage in its most basic form.

The main weakness of Cover 4 shells is the retreating defensive backs. Since the DBs are working for depth, short pass routes underneath can isolate them on a wide receiver near the sideline with little help.

COWBOYS  See Dallas Cowboys  or   Kansas City Cowboys

CRACKBACK   Eligible receivers who take or move to a position more than two yards outside the tackle may not block an opponent below the waist if they then move back inside to block.

CRACKBACK BLOCK:  Blocking by an offensive player who goes downfield then turns back to the middle to block a player from the side.

This is an illegal block by an offensive player who is usually spread out away from the main body of the formation and runs back in towards the ball at the snap, blocking an opponent below the waist or in the back with the force of the block back toward the original position of the ball at the snap.

An illegal crackback block is penalized 15 yards against the offending team.

CURL IN:   a pattern run by a receiver, where the receiver looks to be running a Fly pattern but after a set amount of steps or yards will quickly stop and turn around, looking for a pass. This generally works best when the defending corner or safety commits himself to guarding the fly and is unable to stop quickly enough to defend the pass.

The curl is a pattern used frequently by the West Coast offensive scheme, where quick and accurate passes are favored.

CUT: 1.To suddenly change direction to lose a pursuing player.
         2. To drop a prospective player from the team roster.  See Waived

CUT BACK:   a sudden change in direction taken by a to make it more difficult for defenders to follow and tackle him.

CUT BLOCKING   a blocking technique in which offensive linemen, and sometimes other blockers, block legally below the waist (i.e., from the front of the defensive player) in an attempt to bring the defenders to ground, making them unable to pursue a running back for the short time needed for the back to find a gap in the defense. The technique is somewhat controversial, as it carries a risk of serious leg injuries to the blocked defenders.

The NFL's Denver Broncos are especially famous (or infamous) for using this technique.

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A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z


DE    DEF    DEL    DEN    DET    DI    DO    DOW    DR    DU

DA BEARS - Slang nickname given to the Chicago Bears made popular by the Bill Swerski's Superfans sketches of the early 1990s on Saturday Night Live.


The Dallas Cowboys American football club is a Dallas, Texas-based National Football League team which plays its home games in the suburb of Irving. The Cowboys joined the NFL as a 1960 expansion team. The team is sometimes referred to colloquially as America's Team due to its having a large fanbase that lives outside its immediate local area (the term itself is derived from the title of the team's 1979 highlight film).


Uniform colors: White jerseys have royal blue numbers and lettering; colored jerseys feature a darker shade of blue as background (similar to that of the star logo) with white numbers and lettering. By tradition, and unlike most NFL teams, the Cowboys normally wear their white jerseys at home (although they may wear their colored jerseys during special occasions). In the 2003 season, the Cowboys revived their 1962 throwback uniform (blue jersey with white sleeves) for special occasions such as Thanksgiving; it was also worn on September 19, 2005 against the Washington Redskins.

Year founded: 1960

City: Irving, Texas

Helmet design: Silver background with a blue star
(throwback helmet is white with a blue star)

Team Colors: Royal Blue, Metallic Silver, Blue, and White

Head Coach: Bill Parcells

Home field: Texas Stadium (1971-present)

Team history

Dallas Cowboys (1960–present)  

This name might seem like an easy choice in Dallas, but Rangers was actually the first name suggested. The club went with Cowboys since Rangers might cause confusion with a local minor-league team of the same name.

DALLAS TEXANS  The Dallas Texans played in the National Football League for one season, 1952, with a record of 1–11. A group led by Texas millionaire Giles Miller bought the remnants of Ted Collins's Boston Yanks/New York Bulldogs/Yanks franchise, which had played from 1944 to 1948 in Boston, and from 1949 to 1951 in New York, from the league. Home games were scheduled to be played at the Cotton Bowl.

Miller thought that Texas, with its longstanding support of college football, would be a natural fit for the NFL. However, they proved to be one of the worst teams in NFL history. The first game, against the New York Giants, set the tone for the season. While the Texans managed to get the first touchdown, they missed the extra point. They never found the end zone again and lost 24-6.

Dallas Texans 1952 NFL logo

Only 17,499 fans showed up at the Cotton Bowl (capacity 75,000) for that game, and attendance continued to dwindle as the losses piled up. Unable to meet payroll, Miller returned the team to the league with five games to go in the season. The NFL moved the franchise's operations to Hershey, Pennsylvania (though it kept the "Dallas Texans" name). It also moved the team's last three home games to the road.

Following the season, the NFL awarded the remains of the Texans operation to a Baltimore-based group headed by Carroll Rosenbloom, who used it to start the Baltimore Colts. However, the Colts (now based in Indianapolis) do not consider themselves a continuation of the Yanks/Bulldogs/Yankees/Texans franchise.

In 1960, the league made a second venture into Dallas and established what would become a more successful team, the Dallas Cowboys. Also in that year, the American Football League began with its own Dallas Texans; that team moved after winning the 1962 AFL Championship and became the Kansas City Chiefs. The "Texans" name has since been revived by the NFL for the current Houston Texans, which started play in 2002.

 Dallas Texans
Pro Football Hall of Famers

Art Donovan (1968 inductee)
Gino Marchetti (1972 inductee) 

Notable players

Weldon Humble
George Taliaferro 
Frank Tripucka 
Buddy Young 
Fritz Von Erich 
(real name: Jack Barton Adkisson)

DAN MARINO  See Marino here

DAVEY O'BRIEN AWARD  officially the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award, is presented annually to the collegiate American football player adjudged by the Davey O'Brien Foundation to be the best of all National Collegiate Athletic Association quarterbacks. The award is generally recognized as more prestigious than the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, insofar as the eligibilty for the latter is restricted to seniors, and than the Manning Award, insofar as the latter, though open to all quarterbacks, has been given only since 2004. The only people to have won the award twice are Danny Wuerffel of Florida, Ty Detmer of Brigham Young, and Jason White of Oklahoma.

Previous winners

1981 Jim McMahon BYU 
1982 Todd Blackledge Penn State 
1983 Steve Young BYU 
1984 Doug Flutie Boston College 
1985 Chuck Long Iowa 
1986 Vinny Testaverde Miami 
1987 Don McPherson Syracuse 
1988 Troy Aikman UCLA 
1989 Andre Ware Houston 
1990 Ty Detmer BYU 
1991 Ty Detmer BYU 
1992 Gino Torretta Miami 
1993 Charlie Ward Florida State 
1994 Kerry Collins Penn State 
1995 Danny Wuerffel Florida 
1996 Danny Wuerffel Florida 
1997 Peyton Manning Tennessee 
1998 Michael Bishop Kansas State 
1999 Joe Hamilton Georgia Tech 
2000 Chris Weinke Florida State 
2001 Eric Crouch Nebraska 
2002 Brad Banks Iowa 
2003 Jason White Oklahoma 
2004 Jason White Oklahoma 
2005 Vince Young Texas 
2006 Troy Smith Ohio State

DAWG POUND  Name of the bleacher section behind the east end zone in Cleveland Browns Stadium, also known for having one of the most loyal fans in the NFL. The name was originally applied to the bleacher section in the same end zone at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, which formerly stood on the site.

DAYTON TRIANGLES   Dayton Triangles of the National Football League played from 1920 to 1929. The team was based in Dayton, Ohio. The nickname "Triangles" came from the name of Triangle Park, located at the confluence of the Great Miami and Stillwater rivers, in north Dayton where the team played its games. The first game of the American Professional Football Association, the precursor to the NFL, was played in Triangle Park between the Dayton Triangles and the Columbus Panhandles on October 3, 1920. The Triangles won that game 14-0. The Triangles were sponsored by the Dayton Engineering Laboratories Co. (Delco), the Dayton Metal Products Co. (D.M.P. Co.), and the Domestic Engineering Co. (DECO, later called Delco-Light). The team was sold to a group in Brooklyn, New York and became the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1930.

DB  acronym for Defensive Back

DEACON JONES  See Jones, David

DEACON JONES RULE  Enacted in 1977 - The Deacon Jones rule, which eliminated head slapping. Jones was a master at ringing bells inside the offensive linemens heads. They say he may have contributed more concussions to the game than any other player in the entire history of the NFL. If you dont believe it hurts, put on a helmet, and have someone slam an open palm against one side, over the ear hole. Youll be seeing stars for a long time.

DEAD BALL: A ball that is no longer in play, that is, a ball that is not held by a player or loose from a kick, fumble, or pass. A ball becomes dead when a play is over and becomes live as soon as it is snapped for the next play.

A play from scrimmage ends when the ball is dead; this occurs when one of the following happens:


the ballcarrier is downed
a forward pass falls incomplete;
the ball or ballcarrier goes outside the field of play ("out of bounds")
the ball, except on a field goal attempt, hits any part of the goalpost (even if it bounces back onto the field);
a team scores;
a punt receiver makes a fair catch;
a member of the punting team "downs" a punt by touching the ball before any member of the receiving team;
a punted ball comes to rest; or
a touchback occurs.


DECATUR STALEYS   Presently The Chicago Bears, one of the most storied NFL teams. Since becoming a charter member of the league in 1920, they have played in over 1,000 games. Through the 2004 season, they led the NFL in overall franchise wins with 660. They were founded in 1919 by the A.E. Staley Company in Decatur, originally as the company team, a typical start for several of the classic NFL franchises. Staley hired George Halas and Edward "Dutch" Sternaman in 1920 to run the team and turned control of the team over to them in 1921.

 George Halas was hired in 1920 by A. E. Staley of the Staley Manufacturing Co. (whose primary product was cornstarch) to form both a football and a baseball team for the company. In order to find opponents, Halas pushed the football team into the new league that was being formed, the American Professional Football Association. A severe recession in early 1921 forced Staley to lay off the athletes he had hired; he suggested to Halas that the football team should move to Chicago, and said he would provide $5000 to assist in the move if the club would keep the name "Staleys" for one season. Thus, in 1921, Halas's men were called the Chicago Staleys when they became the first official league champion. Despite the championship, the team lost money that first season in Chicago: about $70. The next year, the franchise was renamed the Bears - to accentuate its association with the Cubs, with whom it shared Wrigley Field (hoping that some of the Cubs' success would rub off: how times change!) - while the league was retitled to the National Football League (at George Halas's suggestion).

Edward "Dutch" Sternaman, who was Halas's teammate at the University of Illinois, was his partner during the early years of the Bears. Staley actually first approached Sternaman to form his teams; but Sternaman, though tempted, returned to Illinois to finish his degree. He joined the Staley company after graduating and helped Halas to first put the football team together, and later as co-owner move it to Chicago. Dutch's little brother Joey, another Illinois grad, became the Bears' first great quarterback during the '20s. The relationship between Halas and his partner grew increasingly stormy as the decade progressed, and Sternaman began devoting ever increasing amounts of time to other business interests. When the conflicts between the two began hurting the team's success at the beginning of the Great Depression, Halas bought Sternaman out.

Dutch Sternaman has been credited with coining the phrase, "When in doubt, punt!" which he apparently used in a 1924 pre-game pep talk.

Moving to Chicago was not exactly a sure thing. The city already had a professional team: the Racine Cardinals - named for their home field at 61st and Racine Avenue on Chicago's South Side. The city had had two APFA franchises in 1920; the Cardinals had a nearby rival named the Chicago Tigers. The two teams hurt each other's attendance; they agreed their season-ending game in 1920 was for the rights to the city. The Cardinals won, and the Tigers disbanded as they had agreed. Under the circumstances, the Cardinals couldn't have been happy about Halas's transfer to Chicago for the 1921 season, but it obviously worked out. Evidently the Staleys were far enough away in Wrigley Field that they didn't threaten the Cardinals' financial viability -  although the rivalry that developed between the Bears and Cardinals became in some ways even more bitter than that with the Packers. Like the Bears and the league, the Cardinals also changed their name for the 1922 season: they switched to "the Chicago Cardinals" when Racine, Wis., was awarded an NFL franchise.

DEFENSE:  the team that begins a play from scrimmage not in possession of the ball.

The team defending their goal line. The defense does not have the ball; rather, they attempt to keep the offense from passing or running the ball over their (the defense's) goal line.

Unlike the offensive team, there are no formally defined defensive positions. A defensive player may line up anywhere on his side of the line of scrimmage and perform any legal action.

However, most sets of defensive formations used include a line composed of


defensive tackles
nose tackles
defensive ends


nickel backs
dime backs

DEFENSIVE BACK : (DB) Any one of the four members of the defensive backfieldthe two safeties and the two cornerbackswho are positioned behind the linebackers. It's the job of the defensive backs to defend against passes and give support on running plays.

A member of the defensive secondary. Defensive backs generally try to keep receivers from making catches. Safeties, cornerbacks, nickel backs, and dime backs are considered to be defensive backs.

Jersey Numbers: 20 - 49

Defensive Backs for
The Indianapolis Colts


42 Jason David CB
20 Mike Doss SS
43 Matt Giordano S
25 Nick Harper CB
26 Kelvin Hayden CB
27 Von Hutchins CB
28 Marlin Jackson CB
36 Dexter Reid S
21 Bob Sanders FS
38 Gerome Sapp S


Defensive back is a defensive position in American and Canadian football. Defensive Backs are charged with the responsibility of preventing receivers from catching passes. However, similar to other defensive players, Defensive backs can also sack the quarterback and tackle running backs.

It should be noted that "Defensive Back" is a collective term for several other positions, which include cornerbacks, as well as Strong and Free Safeties. Alternately, this term may be referred to as the "defensive secondary".

While defensive backs must exhibit superb displays of speed and agility, they are also required to master the crucial technique of backpedaling, which enables one to follow a receiver while still focusing on the football. Furthermore, Defensive backs must be able to analyze an offensive formation before the play can begin, allowing one to predict intentions of an offense. A defensive back must also possess the ability to change one's path while running at whim, enabling a superior "man-to-man" coverage. Lastly, a defensive back must be capable of voraciously and accurately tackling offensive units. While these tackles may not often make the highlight reel after the game, they prevent the offensive units from breaking away and making big plays.

DE  acronym for Defensive End

DEFENSIVE BACKFIELD: The area or players behind the defensive linemen. The defensive backfield is the last line of defense against the offense. There are two safeties, two cornerbacks, and three or four linebackers in the defensive backfield.

Also see backfield

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR   A defensive coordinator typically refers to a coach on a football team in the National Football League (or at other levels of American football) who is in charge of the defense. This position aids the head coach a great deal in many ways by delegating play calling to other coaches and allowing the head coach to focus on overall play and more important issues during games and practice sessions. A defensive coordinator in the NFL typically has a number of assistant coaches working under him; usually a defensive line coach, a linebackers coach, and a secondary coach. At lower levels the defensive coordinator may also coach one or more of these positions, or one assistant coach may be in charge of more than one position. The defensive coordinator oversees all of these coaches and all the defensive players. He is usually responsible for all defensive playcalling during the game; he calls certain plays depending on what the game situation is and what he expects the opposing offense to do, among other factors.

Similarly, there is the offensive coordinator who is in charge of the offense.

DEFENSIVE END:  (DE) a defensive position in the sport of American football.

This position has designated the players at each end of the defensive line, but changes in formations have substantially changed how the position is played over the years.

Early formations, with six and seven man lines, used the end as a containment player, whose job was first to prevent an "end run" around his position, then secondarily to force plays inside.

When most teams adopted a five man line, two different styles of end play developed: "crashing" ends, who rushed into the backfield to disrupt plays, and "stand-up" or "waiting" ends, who played the more traditional containment style. Some coaches would use both techniques depending on game situations.

Traditionally, D-ends are in a 3 point stance, with there other hand cocked back ready to punch the offensive lineman. Some ends are bigger. They close down there gap so the running back has no hole to run through. Other ends are quicker. They are used to rush the quarterback. They can often times, time the snap of the ball to get a jump on the rush. Most of the time it is the job of the defensive end to keep outside contain, which means that no one should get to their outside; they must keep everything to the inside. The defensive ends are usually fast for players of their size, often the fastest and smallest players on the defensive line. They must be able to shed blockers to get to the ball. Defensive ends are also often used to cover the outside area of the line of scrimmage, to tackle  ball carriers running to the far right or left side, and to defend against screen passes. Defensive ends are usually the only players on the line who are ever used to cover offensive players running receiving routes, albeit ones that are very close to the line of scrimmage.

Jersey Numbers: 60 - 79

Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis are The Indianapolis Colts Defensive Ends

These guys are the heroes of the defensive line, because they play the part of guided missile. As soon as the ball is snapped to the quarterback, these two guys are supposed to jump his creaking bones by any means possible before he gets rid of it.

YOU KNOW THEYRE DOING THEIR JOB WHEN: You see the quarterback in the backfield running around like a rabbit being chased by coyotes. Or flat on his back, like a rabbit caught by em.

YOU KNOW THEY ARENT WHEN: The quarterback is standing around in the backfield, polishing his nails, waiting for one of his receivers to find some spare time to catch the ball.

DEFENSIVE FORMATION   The basic goal of every defense is to stop opposing offenses from advancing down the field, but there are many different philosophies on the best way to accomplish that goal, including which formation is the best.

A defensive formation can be defined as a predetermined allignment of defensive players on the field. Theses are some of the more common defensive formations used in the game of football today.


3-3-5 also known as
33 Stack Defense
3-4 Defense
3-4 Eagle Defense
4-2-5 Defense
4-3 Defense
Over/Under 4-3 Defense
4-4 Defense
46 (Forty Six) Defense
5-2 Defense
6-1 Defense
Nickel Defense
Dime Defense
Quarter also known as
a Penny Defense
Goal Line Defense
Cover 2 Defense
Tampa 2 Defense


In order for coaches and players of American football to exchange information in a rapid manner during practices and games, a more or less standard terminology for defensive schemes has been developed.

See Defensive Schemes

DEFENSIVE HOLDING:   Use of the hands to hold or push an offensive receiver or back on a passing play beyond the first five yards past the line of scrimmage.

Inside the five yard chuck zone, the defense may jam the receiver, but after that a penalty is called. Defensive holding results in a five-yard penalty on the offending team and an automatic first down.

Also Known As: Illegal Use of Hands

DEFENSIVE LINE:  The defensive players who line up on the line of scrimmage opposite the offensive linemen. A team's first line of defense.

The defensive line is usually made up of the biggest defensive players, including defensive ends and tackles. Unless your The Indianpolis Colts with Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis!

The Defensive Line for
The Indianapolis Colts


93 Dwight Freeney DE
98 Robert Mathis DE
97 Corey Simon DT
75 Larry Tripplett DT
96 Josh Williams DT
79 Raheem Brock DE
90 Montae Reagor DT
95 Darrell Reid DT
91 Josh Thomas DE


DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: The players who line up on the defensive line and are responsible for stopping the run on running plays and rushing the quarterback on passing plays.

The defensive line is comprised of a combination of defensive tackles or nose tackles, and defensive ends.

DEFENSIVE PASS INTERFERENCE - a defensive player physically hinders an offensive player from catching a catchable forward pass that has not been touched by any other player. Referee signal: same as offensive pass interference - two arms in front of the body with palms out and fingers up, moved in a pushing motion out.

NFL: An automatic first down and the ball is moved forward to the location of the interference -- a devastating penalty if the play was a long pass. If the interference takes place in the end zone, the ball is placed on the one-yard line.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR   The NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award is given by the Associated Press to the league's most outstanding defensive player at the end of every NFL season since 1971. Multiple-award winners include Lawrence Taylor, who won it three times, and Joe Greene, Mike Singletary, Bruce Smith, Reggie White, and Ray Lewis, who each won it twice. Lawrence Taylor is the only player to win the award as a rookie (1981).

DEFENSIVE SECONDARY  the defensive secondary (or secondary), is the name for the collection of Defensive Backs.

The main job of the secondary is to be prepared to handle passing plays.


The general goal of defensive strategy is to prevent the opposing team's offense from scoring. While doing so, the defensive players may also attempt to gain control of the football and score points themselves. There are many different defensive strategies.

Defensive formations

Players on the defensive side of the ball are generally split between down linemen (tackles, defensive ends and nose guards), linebackers, and defensive backs (safeties and cornerbacks). To describe the basic defensive alignment of linemen, linebackers and backs, the number of down linemen is usually followed by the number of linebackers. By far the most common alignments are four down linemen and three linebackers (4-3), but alignments with three down linemen and four linebackers (3-4) are currently used by a number of teams. The number of defensive backs is usually not mentioned (as it is, for example, in describing soccer alignments).

However, on plays where the defense expects the offense to pass, emphasis is often placed on the number of defensive backs. When one of the "front seven" (down linemen and linebackers) is removed in favour of a defensive back, the five defensive backs are described as a "nickel" package. When a sixth defensive back is inserted, it is known as a "dime" package.

Unusual defensive alignments are rare, but often successful. In Super Bowl XXV, the New York Giants played with only two down linemen, with four linebackers and five defensive backs. The strategy was very successful in preventing the Buffalo Bills from completing long passes, but it allowed over 190 yards in rushing. Nevertheless, the Giants won. Another example is the New England Patriots using no down linemen and seven linebackers for two plays against the Miami Dolphins during a Monday Night game in 2004.

Basic pass coverage

Even in obvious running situations, the defense must be able to account for the eligible receivers on offense. There are two general schemes for defending against the pass:

* Man-to-man
* Zone

Advanced pass coverage

To create a shorthand, most defensive schemes use the term "cover" (for pass coverage) and a number to describe a combination of schemes. As in American Football there are only five eligible pass receivers on a given play (technically the quarterback is also an eligible receiver, but passes to the quarterback, though known, are rare) while there are at least seven pass defenders in 3-4 alignment in man-to-man defense, some of the pass coverage personnel may either blitz (cross the line of scrimmage with the down linemen in an attempt to sack the quarterback), provide double coverage on a receiver, or help other defensive players with the pass coverage. In zone coverage, all defensive linebackers and backs have a pass coverage assignment.

* Cover Zero
* Cover One
* Cover Two
* Cover Three
* Cover Four

Generally speaking, the effectiveness of a defense against short passes and the run drops as it goes from Cover Zero to Cover Four, but their effectiveness against deep passes increases.

Other coverages

Zone blitz


Effective defense depends on co-operation from defensive players and an understanding of what coverage they are in. For example, in Cover Two, the cornerbacks are afforded with the knowledge that if they decide to jump a route (and thereby intercept or deflect a pass) they will have safety help farther upfield should they be tricked by a fake. In Cover One, the safety must be aware that one of the cornerbacks could have difficulty covering a wide receiver, and must be available to move over to help the cornerback before the quarterback can throw. Typically Cover One is only used if there are more than two wide receivers or other passing threats.

Moreover, mixing up defensive alignments and not being predictable are important since if an offense recognizes an alignment or coverage scheme, or a tendency to use such a scheme, they can often take advantage of it. For example, if the defense is blitzing, and the quarterback forsees it (for example, one of the blitzing players moves towards the line of scrimmage before the snap) the quarterback knows that it is man-to-man coverage and will look for his fastest receiver to get open, or throw to the spot that is vacated by the blitzing player.

Special Cases

In the modern game, with players getting faster and stronger, defensive coordinators often look to a player's special skills in order to surprise the offense. For example, in some defensive schemes, defensive down linemen are given pass coverage responsibility. Since Lawrence Taylor now rush three down linemen and a single linebacker (often a different one on every play), a strategy that was almost unknown before he started to play. Moreover, even defensive backs are being given more responsibility on running plays. For example, on plays where a running back runs wide, it is the responsibility of the cornerback to ensure that the running back does not get directly to the sideline, and that the back is forced to run in front of the cornerback where there is more likely to be help from linebackers.

Modern offenses have adapted to these strategies, and often require different skills from players, particularly running backs who, in addition to running with the ball, are expected to run deep pass routes against linebacker coverage, and to be available to block blitzing players on pass plays

Eight in the box

Coverage Shells

In the following, "cover" refers to the "shell" that the defense rolls into after the snap of the ball, more specifically the number of defenders guarding the deep portion of the field.

* Cover 1
* Cover 2
* Cover 4
* Cover 5
* Tampa 2

Special teams strategy

"Special team" is the term used to describe the specialized group of players who take the field during kickoffs, free kicks, punts, and field goal attempts. Most football teams' special teams include one or more kickers, a long snapper (who specializes in accurate snaps over long distances), kick returners who catch and carry the ball after it is kicked by the opposing team, and blockers who defend during kicks and returns.

Some players may take the field as members of the offense or defense as well as the special teams; one notable example is Steve Smith, wide receiver for the NFL's Carolina Panthers, who also played as a kick returner during the 2005 NFL season, and was drafted primarily as a special teams player.

Although these are risky, there are a variety of strategic plays which can be attempted during kickoffs, punts, and field goals which can be used to surprise the opposition and (hopefully) score points.

Kickoff strategy

A kickoff occurs at the beginning of each half and each overtime period, as well as after a successful field goal or touchdown. A coin toss determines which team kicks the ball away and which team receives the ball. After a field goal or a touchdown, the team which scored the points kicks the ball to the opposing team, which in most cases catches the ball and may attempt to "return" it up the field.

Strategically, the coach of the kicking team may choose to have his players kick the ball in one of several ways:

* Standard kickoff
* Onside kick
* Squib kick
* Kickoff out-of-bounds

Field goal strategy

Field goals are often viewed as a way for teams to turn a disappointing drive into a small victory. However, many football games are decided by field goals in the final minutes or seconds of play, making the ability to kick an accurate field goal vital for any football team.

The strategy for a field goal is fairly straightforward. The team on offense forms a protective semicircle behind the line of scrimmage on either side of the center, who snaps the ball to the holder. The holder positions the ball so that the kicker - moving from a short distance away - can quickly get into position and accurately kick the ball through the goalposts. The remaining players block the opposing team, whose members will be trying to break through the protective circle in order to block the kick or bat it aside for a chance to intercept the ball. If a team misses the field goal, the opposing team takes possession of the ball without a kickoff.

Distance, the amounts of wind and noise within the stadium, and the amount of experience the kicker has are all determining factors in the success or failure of a field goal attempt. The majority of successful field goal attempts are kicked within 50 yards of the goalpost. However, some kickers can - and often do - make good kicks from farther away. The current NFL record for the longest successful field goal was set in 1970 by Tom Dempsey of the New Orleans Saints, who kicked from 63 yards out. It should be noted that Dempsey had a specially shaped prosthetic foot that enabled him to make such long kicks, and that such prosthetics have since been banned. Jason Elam of the Denver Broncos tied this record in 1998.

Modern kickers use a soccer style kick, which involves taking a diagonal approach to the ball and kicking with the inside of the foot. Many kickers in the 1950s and earlier kicked the ball by lining up directly behind it and approaching straight ahead. This is still seen today in a limited capacity in high school and college football.

In some situations, a coach may choose to have his team fake a field goal attempt. The players line up as normal, but instead of holding the ball for a kick, the player receiving the snap may run with the ball, hand it off to another player, or attempt to throw it downfield. This play is quite risky and therefore not used often.

It is possible for the defensive team to return a missed field goal, although this is attempted very rarely. If a field goal attempt is short of the goal posts and the ball is caught by a defensive player before it hits the ground, the player may return the ball just as on a punt. Teams usually try a return only when a very long field goal is attempted at the end of the first half, since in all other cases it is more advantageous for the defense to just let the ball fall short. Recently, returns of this type have happened in 2002 (Chris McAlister of the Baltimore Ravens, for 107 yards versus the Denver Broncos), 2005 (Nathan Vasher of the Chicago Bears, for 108 yards versus the San Francisco 49ers; this currently holds the record for longest play in NFL history), and 2006 (Devin Hester, also of the Bears, tied the previous record of 108 with a return against the New York Giants).

Punting strategy

Most teams punt on fourth down when the chances of gaining enough yards for a first down are slim and when the ball is too far from the goalpost to allow a field goal try. Generally, a member of the opposing team moves into position to catch the ball. He may try to gain yards by running the ball downfield, or he may signal a fair catch by waving one arm above his head, thus agreeing that he will not attempt to return the ball downfield. A player who has signalled a fair catch may not be tackled after catching the ball.

In some cases, a coach may attempt trickery by switching between his offense and special teams players between plays. A coach may call a time-out, send the kicking team onto the field, and then when the play clock resumes quickly run his offense back on and his kicking team off, hopefully disorienting the defending team enough to advance on the ensuing play or cause a penalty if the defending team cannot switch personnel quickly enough. However, this trickery can also result in penalties against the offense if the play takes too long (delay of game) or if too many players remain on the field when the ball is snapped.

Occasionally a coach will line his team up in a shotgun formation and have the quarterback "quick kick" or "pooch punt" -- using the element of surprise to cause the defense not to have a receiver ready.

Downing the ball

Fake punts

In much the same way as a fake field goal (described above), a fake punt is an effort to trick the opposition and either score or gain enough yards for a first down. Fake punts are risky for the same reasons as fake field goals and are thus rarely attempted.

Punts out-of-bounds

Skilled punters may try to punt a ball past the return team so that the ball touches the playing field in bounds, then rolls out of bounds close to the opposing team's end zone. The drawback to such a punt is that the ball may roll into the end zone (touchback), giving the receiving team decent field position. Or, if the kick is angled too sharply, it will go out of bounds too early and result in an unusually short punt. The best punters are highly regarded for their ability to put the ball out of bounds within five yards of the goal line. These punts are also known as "coffin corner punts" due to their ability to act as a "coffin nail" to an opposing offense.

Receiving kicks

The biggest choice facing a kick returner is whether or not to attempt to run the ball back. Generally, a returner who catches a kickoff or punt in the "red zone" between the receiving team's own end zone and 20 yard line will attempt some sort of return, if only to gain a few yards. If the receiving team's players can get into position quickly, they may be able to allow the returner to gain further yardage or break away from the pack entirely and score a touchdown.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE:  (DT) (sometimes called a defensive guard), A defensive player - are linemen who line up inside the defensive ends.

The duties of a defensive tackle include stopping the running back on running plays, getting pressure up the middle on passing plays, and occupying blockers so the linebackers can roam free.

Defensive Tackles, or DT's, are typically the largest and strongest of the defensive players. The defensive tackle typically lines up opposite one of the offensive guards. Depending on a team's individual defensive scheme, a defensive tackle may be called upon to fill several different roles. These roles may include merely holding the point of attack by refusing to be moved, or penetrating a certain gap between offensive linemen to break up a play in the opponent's backfield. If a defensive tackle reads a pass play, his primary responsibilty is to pursue the quarterback. Other responsibilities of the defensive tackle may be to pursue the screen pass or drop into coverage in a zone blitz scheme.

In the 3-4 defensive scheme the sole defensive tackle is referred to as the nose guard. The primary responsibility of the defensive tackle in this scheme is to absorb multiple blockers so that other players in the defensive front can attack ballcarriers and rush the quarterback.


Jersey Numbers: 60 - 79

Why they have the term as a "TACKLE" is beyond me,
They do all sorts of things, but generally speaking, tackling isnt usually one of em. Given any kind of choice, theyd love to clobber somebody, but in truth, mostly they just end up plugging up the inside running lanes while they grapple with the big guys on the other side.

If you had to define their job, it would be to make sure those zippy  ball carriers dont manage to run down the center of the field. So, in theory, they cover that A gap between the opposing center and the guard outside of them on the line, and something called the B gap, which exists between the opposing guard and the tackle outside of them on the line, making sure nobody carrying the ball runs through there.

Ok so theyre trying to stop a guy with the ball: why dont they tackle em? Well, they would if they could get at em. But ordinarily the guy with the ball, seeing the defensive tackle there, slobbering in anticipation, will seek an alternate route, and the opposing guard and tackle will do their best to discourage people like the defensive tackles from going after him.

Of course, sometimes they get lucky and the guy with the ball decides to take his chances and goes for one of the gaps. At that point, all the tackle has to do is bully his way past the opposing guard and tackle who are there pretty much specifically to impede him, and then jump on top of the guy with the ball before hes too far out of reach.

YOU KNOW THEYRE DOING THEIR JOB WHEN: Same as the nose tackle: nobody takes the ball on the hoof and prances down the middle of the field without tasting turf.

YOU KNOW THEYRE NOT WHEN: The other team treats the A and B gaps like exits on the Jersey Turnpike.

DEFLECTED PASS   See Pass Deflected

DELAY OF GAME:  A penalty called on a team for either letting the play clock expire before snapping the ball, having too many players on the field, or calling a time out after having already used all they were allotted by rule.

The 40-second play clock starts running immediately when the previous play ends. If there is a timeout or other stoppage of play, a 25-second play clock starts from when the ball is spotted and declared ready for play.

 Referee signal: Two forearms in front of chest parallel to the body with open fists, one on top of the other.

This penalty can be called on either offense or defense, but the foul is most commonly committed by the offense. The penalty occurs on offense when they allow the play clock to run down to zero without snapping the ball. The penalty can be called on the defense if the referees feel that the defense did not allow the offense to get the play off in time for any reason. A similar foul is delay on kickoff.

penalty: 5 yards

see official Signal

Dempsey, Tom (Tom Dempsey) (b. January 12, 1947) was an NFL kicker for the New Orleans Saints (1969-1970), Philadelphia Eagles (1971-1974), Los Angeles Rams (1975-1976), Houston Oilers (1977) and Buffalo Bills (1978-1979). He played college ball at Palomar College.

He is most widely known for his NFL record 63 yard field goal, kicked in the final 5 seconds to give the New Orleans Saints a 19-17 win over the Detroit Lions on 8 November 1970. This record still stands (as of the start of the 2006 season), although it was equalled by Jason Elam of the Denver Broncos on October 25th 1998.

Dempsey was born with no right hand, and a right club foot, with no toes on his right foot (which was his kicking foot). He wore a modified shoe with a flattened and enlarged toe area, giving somewhat the appearance of a hammer. He used a straight approach to kick the ball as opposed to the "soccer style" used by nearly all place kickers today. Dempsey's accomplishment led to the NFL passing a rule requiring that all footgear be "normal" (their term) regardless of the kicker's personal situation.


The Denver Broncos American football club is a National Football League team based in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos began play in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League and joined the NFL as part of the AFL-NFL Merger.

The Denver Broncos were a small-market team that met with little success in their early years but have since become one of the elite franchises of the league after having advanced to the Super Bowl six times. In their first four appearances, they suffered successively lopsided defeats, achieving near-legendary status as frustrated losers before winning back-to-back Super Bowl championships in 1998 and 1999 under quarterback John Elway, running back Terrell Davis and coach Mike Shanahan.

For most of their history they played in Mile High Stadium, which became one of the shrines of professional football for its unbroken string of sell-outs and its famous home-field advantage percentage for the Broncos, especially during the post-season. Mile High Stadium was one of the NFL's loudest stadiums, with steel flooring instead of concrete, which may have given the Broncos an advantage over opponents. Since 2001, they have played at INVESCO Field at Mile High, built next to the former site of Mile High Stadium.

City: Denver, Colorado

Head Coach: Mike Shanahan

Uniform colors: "Broncos Navy Blue", Orange, and White

Helmet design: Navy Blue background with a white horse-head profile.

Home fields

Mile High Stadium (1960-2000)
INVESCO Field at Mile High (2001-present)

Team history

Denver Broncos (1960–present)   

This nickname was also selected through a contest in January of 1960. Broncos were the winner, referring to Denver's Wild West heritage. Denver's 1921 entry in the Midwest Baseball League team was also named the Broncos.

DEPTH CHART   An NFL team roster with players classified as 1st, 2nd, or 3rd string.


The Detroit Lions American football club is a National Football League team based in Detroit, Michigan. Originally called the Portsmouth Spartans, the team began play in 1930 as one of the NFL's small town teams in Portsmouth, Ohio. However, they were forced to move to Detroit in 1934 due to the Great Depression.

Detroit, Michigan had four early teams in the National Football League before the Detroit Lions. The Heralds played in 1920. The Tigers in 1921. The Panthers from 1925-1926 and the Wolverines in 1928.


The Lions have won four NFL Championships.

City: Detroit, Michigan

Team Colors: Honolulu Blue, Silver, and Black

Head Coach: Rod Marinelli

Home fields:

Universal Stadium (1930-1933)
University of Detroit Stadium (1934-1937)
Tiger Stadium (1935-1974)
a.k.a. Navin Field (1935-1937)
a.k.a. Briggs Stadium (1938-1960)
Pontiac Silverdome (1975-2001)

Ford Field (2002-present)

Team history 

Portsmouth Spartans (1930-1933)
Detroit Lions (1934)–present)

  Detroit radio executive George Richards purchased the NFL's Portsmouth Spartans and moved them to the Motor City in 1934. Richards chose Lions. Felines were already prevalent in Detroit. Baseball could claim the Tigers and a Detroit football team called the Panthers had folded after two years in 1927.

DIME BACK:   The sixth defensive back used in dime coverage.

Teams normally use four defensive backs. When a fifth defensive back comes in the game, he is referred to as the nickel back. When the sixth defensive back comes in, he is refered to as the dime back.

A dimeback is a cornerback who serves as the sixth defensive back on defense. The third cornerback on defence is known as a nickelback. The dimeback position is essentially relegated to backup cornerbacks who do not play starting cornerback positions. Dimebacks are usually fast players because they must be able to keep up on passing plays with 3+ wide receivers.

Usually, dimebacks are brought onto the feild before plays that have a good possibility of becoming pass plays. Usually, a linebacker is substituted for a cornerback in order to gain better pass defence.

DIME COVERAGE:   A pass coverage scheme that involves the use of six defensive backs.

 Dime coverage is generally used only in obvious passing situations.

DIME DEFENSE   The dime defense is a basic defensive formation that is designed to stop the pass. The alignment generally features either four downed linemen, one linebacker, and six defensive backs or three down lineman, two linebackers, and six defensive backs.

If you take a look at the illustration on the right, you will see a diagram outlining the dime defense. The Os in the diagram represent offensive players while the Xs represent the placement of the defensive players.

In this particular dime formation, there are four linemen on the line of scrimmage (imaginary line seperating the offense and defense).

You have two defensive ends (DE), one on each end of the line, and two defensive tackles (DT) in between. Behind the defensive line is one linebacker (LB).

Two cornerbacks (CB), one nickel back (NB), and one dime back (DB) combine with two safeties to cover the defensive backfield.

The exact position of the defensive backs depends on the type of pass coverage they are in. 

DIME PACKAGE:  The use of six defensive backs in a defensive formation.

See Dime Defense

DION SANDERS   See Sanders, Dion

DION SANDERS RULE   the Deion Sanders rule Player salary rule which correlates a contract's signing bonus with its yearly salary. Enacted after Deion Sanders signed

DIRECT SNAP  a play in which the ball is passed directly to the presumed  ball carrier by the center. Contrast with an indirect snap play in which the ball is first handed to the quarterback, who will then pass or hand it to the eventual ball carrier. Also used to refer to formations that use a direct snap, such as the single wing.

Mike Fender / The Star

Colts QB Peyton Manning (18) looks to receiver Brandon Stokley as a diversion during a direct snap to Edgerrin James in the fourth quarter. The trick play gained five yards and help set up the Colts only touchdown on the day giving the Indianapolis Colts a 10-3 victory Sunday September 18, 2005 at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana.

DIRTY BIRDS - The 1998 Atlanta Falcons (but is still used to this day to describe the Falcons). The name originates from an endzone dance started by Jamal Anderson that was adopted by all the players upon scoring.

DIVE  An Offensive Play   See PLUNGE

DIVISION:  in the NFL, sub-groups within conferences, such as the Eastern, Northern, Southern and Western Divisions; also, a grouping of teams in college football, where Division I contains the most competitive teams and Division III the least.

Indianapolis Colts are in The AFC Conference belonging to the South DIVISION

DIVISION RECORD The win/loss status of of an NFL Division.

2006 AFC South Division Record





























































This is for determining Division Champion; also, if there is a tie for a wild-card berth, this is used for breaking ties within a division.

DOLPHINS   See Miami Dolphins

DOME PATROL  The 1980's Saints linebacking corps, rated as #1 by NFL Network. This all star group included Rickey Jackson, Sam Mills, Pat Swilling, and Vaughn Johnson. The linebacker corps made NFL history as having all four elected to the same pro bowl.

DOOMSDAY DEFENSE - The 1970s Dallas Cowboys defensive team. Doomsday I, the unit that led the Cowboys to victory in Super Bowl VI, was anchored by future Pro Football Hall of Fame members Herb Adderley, Bob Lilly, and Mel Renfro, while Doomsday II, which spearheaded the drive to the title in Super Bowl XII, featured Hall of Famer Randy White and fellow defensive linemen Harvey Martin and Too Tall Jones.

DOUBLE COVERAGE:   When 2 defensive players cover one receiver.

Double coverage is a state of defensive playcalling wherein two defensive players are assigned to "cover" one offensive player. This situation is often seen with standout wide receivers and running backs.

Note: It's actually extremely rare to nonexistent to have 2 DBs man-cover a single receiver. Commentators who use the term "double-coverage" almost always mean a CB covering a WR man-to-man, with a safety playing over the top (typically trying to stay in front of the WR's route) for deep ball assistance.

DOUBLE FOUL:   A situation in which each team commits a foul during the same play.

 A double foul usually results in offsetting penalties that negate the result of the play.

See Official Ruling

 DOUBLE OPTION PLAY  The double option is essentially the same play minus the first running back. In addition, various forms of the double option and triple option may allow the quarterback the choice of passing the ball. In this case, the pitch read is faked, with the quarterback motioning as if to pitch, before the quarterback drops into the pocket in preparation to pass.

See Option Play

DOUBLE REVERSE   a play in which the ball reverses direction twice behind the line of scrimmage. This is usually accomplished by means of two or three hand-offs, each hand-off going in an opposite direction as the previous one. Such a play is extremely infrequent in football.

Some people confuse the double reverse with a reverse, which is a play with two hand-offs instead of three.

DOUBLE WING   a formation with two tight ends and two wingbacks.

DOWN  one of a series of plays in which the offensive team must advance at least 10 yards or lose possession. First down is the first of the plays; fourth is the last down in American, and third in Canadian, football. A first down occurs after a change of possession of the ball, after advancing the ball 10 yards following a previous first down or after certain penalties.

a down refers to a period in which a play transpires.

Down is also an adjective to describe the condition of the player with possession of the ball after he has been tackled or is otherwise unable to advance the ball further on account of the play having ended (e.g., "He is down at the 34 yard line").

It may also refer to the ball after it is made dead in one manner or another. The line of scrimmage for the next play will be determined by the position of the ball when it is downed.

A down begins with a snap or kickoff or free kick, and ends when the ball or the player in possession of it is declared down by an official, a team scores, or the ball or player in possession of it leaves the field of play.

Each possession begins with first down. The first down line is marked 10 yards downfield from the start of this possession. If the offensive team moves the ball past the first down line, they make a new first down. If they fail to do this after a specified number of downs (four in American play and three in Canadian play), the team is said to turn the ball over on downs, and possession of the ball reverts to the opposing team at the spot where the ball was downed at the end of the last down.

When the offensive team has not yet made a first down before reaching the final down, the team faces a last down situation (third down situation in Canadian play and fourth down situation in American play), where the team is forced to decide whether to either scrimmage the ball in an attempt to pick up the first down, or alternatively to kick the ball (either by punting or making a field goal attempt). Kicking the ball is typically the safer solution, while scrimmaging may lead to a turnover on downs, potentially giving the ball over to the other team with good field position.

Downing the player with possession of the ball is one way to end a play (other ways include the player with the ball going out of bounds, an incomplete pass, or a score). Usually a player is made down when he is tackled by the defense. If the offensive player is touching the ground with some part of his body other than his hands or feet, then he is down if any defensive player touches him



1st and 10: First down with 10 yards to go for a new first down. The usual starting point for a possession.

 2nd and 5: Second down with 5 yards to go. Similarly, 2nd and 10, 3rd and 2, etc.

 3rd and long: In American football, third down with an unspecified but significant distance to go. Often used as a metaphor for a desperate situation that demands risky actions be taken. The corresponding Canadian football term is 2nd and long.

 3rd and 1: Third down with one yard to go. This is often used in tense situations in Canadian football where the offense is tempted to scrimmage the ball rather than kick for a chance to get another first down. A similar term used in American football is 4th and inches.

1st and goal: First down, where the distance to the first down line is greater than the distance to the goal line, for example, 1st and goal on the 8 yard line. A team cannot make another first down (barring a defensive penalty) without actually scoring. Similarly, "2nd and goal", etc.

down by contact: Describes when a player with possession of the ball is made to touch the ground (other than hands or feet) by a defensive player; for example, if the ball-carrier slips and falls, he can get up and continue, but if he was pushed by a defensive player, he is said to be down by contact and the play is dead. This term is only applicable to professional football; in college and high-school football, the play ends when the player with possession goes down for any reason.



DOWN AND IN: A maneuver where the receiver runs straight downfield, then suddenly cuts toward the middle of the field.

DOWN AND OUT: A pass route In which the receiver runs straight downfield, then cuts sharply toward the sideline.

DOWN BOX  A seven-foot metal rod, on the end of which are four cards (numbered 1 to 4), used to keep track of the number of the down being played.

also known as chains
or Down Indicator 
(yet, not to be confused with an Officials Down Indicator)

DOWN INDICATOR   A specially designed wristband that is used to remind officials of the current down. It has an elastic loop attached to it that is wrapped around the fingers. Usually, officials put the loop around their index finger when it is first down, the middle finger when it is second down, and so on.

          Some officials, generally the Umpire position, may also use an indicator to keep track of where the ball was placed between the hash marks before the play (i.e. the right hash marks, the left ones, or at the midpoint between the two). This is important when they re-spot the ball after an incomplete pass.

          Some officials use two thick rubber bands tied together as a down indicator. One rubber band is used as the wristband and the other is looped over the fingers.

DOWNING THE BALL   If, for whatever reason, the receiving team does not catch the ball, the kicking team may move into position and try to down it as close as possible to the opposing team's end zone. This is achieved by surrounding the ball and allowing it to roll or bounce, without touching it, as close as possible to the end zone. If the ball appears to be rolling or bouncing into the end zone, a player may run in front of the goal line and attempt to bat it down or catch it. If a member of the kicking team touches or catches the ball before a member of the receiving team does so, the ball is blown dead by the official when he has judged that the returner is not going to pick up the ball and return it, or the kicking team picks the ball up and hands it to the official. Once the whistle is blown the play is over and the receiving team takes possession at the spot the ball was spotted by the official.

Thus it is strategically important for kicking teams to get as close to the ball as possible after a punt, so that they may quickly tackle a returner, down the ball as close to the opposing team's end zone as possible, and (if possible) recover the ball after a fumble and regain possession of the ball.

DOWN LINEMAN:  A defensive lineman, including defensive tackles and defensive ends.

Also referred to as Defensive Lineman, Defensive Tackle, Defensive End

DOWN THE FIELD:  In the direction of the opponents goal line.

DOWNED PLAYER   A player carrying the ball is downed when any of the following occurs:


         The ballcarrier is tackled; that is, any part of his body other than the hands, forearms, or feet touches the ground after he is touched by an opponent. (In college a player is considered down whether or not an opponent causes him to fall.) Unlike the use of the word tackle in other sports, if the opposing player fails to down the ballcarrier, it is called an attempted tackle.

         The ballcarrier goes out of bounds; that is, any part of his body touches the ground on or past a sideline or an endline.

         The ballcarrier's forward progress is stopped; that is, in trying to avoid a tackle, his motion toward his opponent's goal is stopped with little chance to be resumed. The exact moment at which the player's forward progress stops is often unclear and is left to the judgement of the officials.

         The ballcarrier intentionally downs the ball; that is, any part of his body other than the hands, forearms, or feet touches the ground with obvious intent to down the ball. (In college such a player is considered down regardless of intent.)

         The ballcarrier scores a touchdown or a two-point conversion.


DRAFTEvery year during April, each NFL franchise seeks to add new players to its roster through a collegiate draft known as "the NFL Annual Player Selection Meeting", which is more commonly known as the NFL Draft.

Teams are ranked in inverse order based on the previous season's record, with the worst record picking first, and the second worst picking second and so on. The exceptions to this order is that the Super Bowl champion always picks 32nd, and the Super Bowl loser always picks 31st.

The draft proceeds for 7 rounds. Rounds 1-3 are run on Saturday of draft weekend, rounds 4-7 are run on Sunday. Teams are given a limited amount of time to make their picks. If the pick is not made in the allotted time, subsequent teams in the draft may draft before them. This happened in 2003 to the Minnesota Vikings

Teams have the option of trading away their picks to other teams for different picks, players, cash, or a combination thereof. While player-for-player trades are rare during the rest of the year (especially in comparison to the other major league sports), trades are far more common on draft day.

Drafted players may ONLY negotiate with the team that drafted them (or to another team if their rights were traded away). The drafting team has one year to sign the player. If they do not do so, the player may reenter the draft and can be drafted by another team.

DRAFT CHOICE:  A player chosen by a professional sports team from a pool of college players in an annual draft.

DRAG ROUTE  A Drag route is a pattern run by a receiver in American Football, where the receiver runs only a couple yards in front of, and parallel to, the line of scrimmage towards the center of the field from his initial position. This type of route is relatively safe and is thrown to an agile receiver who can make a play after the catch. Alternatively, a Drag route may be used as a second option if the principal receiver on a play is covered.

The use of two crossing drag routes can also be used to try to create an open receiver by using the other receiver to block the path of a defensive back in a man coverage scheme.

DRAW PLAY:  (an offensive play)  A fake pass which ends with one of the backs carrying the ball after the defensive linemen are "drawn" in on the pass rush

The offensive linemen fake like they are going to pass-block, the quarterback drops back like he is going to throw a pass, but instead turns and hands the ball to a running back.

The draw is a great play to call when the defense is applying a heavy pass rush.

A draw is a type of play that "tricks" the defense into thinking a pass is being thrown, when in fact a running play has been called. The draw play can be considered the opposite of the play action pass. The idea behind a draw play is to attack aggressive, pass-rushing defenses by "drawing" them upfield, therefore leaving more room to run the ball. Draw plays are usually run out of the shotgun formation, but can also be run when the quarterback is under center. These types of draw plays are sometimes referred to as delayed handoffs.


Offensive movement during a draw play

    * The quarterback drops back to pass, just long enough to get the pass rush to come upfield.

    * The offensive linemen pass block, but also try to push the defenders to the outside, creating a crease in the middle.

    * The running back fakes as if he's staying in to help pass protect, then after about two seconds, takes the hand-off from the quarterback and heads upfield through the crease created by the linemen.

    * The receivers run clear-out routes downfield in order to take the defensive backs out of the play.


A variation of this play is the quarterback draw, where the quarterback takes the snap, drops back to pass for a few moments, then runs upfield through the hole created by the linemen.


1.  The series of plays a team puts together in an attempt to score. A continuous set of offensive plays gaining substantial yardage and several first downs, usually leading to a scoring opportunity.

2. A blocking technique - "drive block" - in which an offensive player through an advantaged angle or with assistance drive a defensive player out of position creating a hole for the  ball carrier.

DROP  See Cut #2

DROPS BACK:   When a quarterback, after taking the snap, takes a few steps backward into an area called the pocket to get ready to pass.

Quarterbacks generally have a set number of steps they drop back on certain plays before setting up to throw the ball.

DROPPED PASS   Any incomplete pass which was catchable with normal effort. To determine if a pass was dropped, STATS compares and reviews the judgment of multiple reporters.

DT  acronym for Defensive Tackle

DUAL THREAT QUARTERBACK  a quarterback who is skilled at both passing and rushing the ball. These quarterbacks may be difficult to defend against since the defensive team cannot focus on one threat to the exclusion of the other.


Dual threat quarterbacks

In recent years in the NFL, partially in response to more mobile defensive linemen and increased use of the "blitz" defense, there has been a resurgence in the importance of the "running quarterback", whose mobility, speed,and power allows him the opportunity to gain yardage by running around the outside of the defensive line, even after initially dropping back to pass. For example, in the 2004-2005 season Michael Vick rushed for 902 yards and 3 touchdowns, while only passing for 2313 yards, 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Although the emphasis of a quarterback's performance is still on his passing abilities, such running ability provides an additional threat that allows greater flexibility in the team's passing game.

Some of the first famous NFL quarterbacks ever to be known as threats for both their passing and running ability were Fran Tarkenton and Roger Staubach, both of whom played in the NFL during the 1960s and 1970s. Quarterbacks of this ilk are sometimes known as "dual threat" quarterbacks, since they can gain yardage by either throwing or running the ball.

Other notable dual threat quarterbacks are Donovan McNabb, Daunte Culpepper, Randall Cunningham, Jeff Garcia, Vince Young, and Aaron Brooks.


DULUTH KELLEYS  Duluth, Minnesota fielded a professional American football team called the Kelleys (officially the Kelley Duluths after the Kelley-Duluth Hardware Store) from 1923-1925 and the Eskimos (officially Ernie Nevers' Eskimos after their star player) from 1926-1927 in the National Football League. The Eskimos were then sold to the Orange Tornadoes. When Ole Haugsrud sold the team back to the league, part of the deal gave him first rights for any future NFL team in Minnesota. So when the NFL voted to expand in 1960 to Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Haugsrud was able to buy 10% of the Minnesota Vikings.

DUKE FOOTBALL   The NFL game ball was known as “The Duke” from 1941-69. The NFL first used a ball in honor of Mara called “The Duke” in 1941 at the suggestion of Chicago Bears owner George Halas, who had helped arrange with Giants owner Tim Mara (Wellington’s father) for Wilson to become the league’s official supplier of game balls.

“The Duke” ball was discontinued prior to the 1970 season, the first to be played in the NFL-American Football League merger.  The NFL and AFL continued using a Wilson football, but with a new design.

The official NFL Wilson football will continue to be manufactured in Ada, Ohio.  Wilson recently extended its NFL contract through 2011, which will mark the 70th year of partnership, believed to be one of the longest agreements in sports history.

One side of the new 2006 "Duke" football features the NFL shield logo in gold, the words "The Duke", and the NFL commissioner's signature.

The obverse side has a small NFL logo above the needle bladder hole, the conference names between the hole, and the words "National Football League" in gold. As per the custom, specially branded balls will be used for the first week of the 2006 season ("Opening Kickoff"), Thanksgiving Classic, playoff, Super Bowl XLI and Pro Bowl games.

DULUTH ESKIMOS  Duluth, Minnesota fielded a team called the Kelleys (officially the Kelley Duluths after the Kelley-Duluth Hardware Store) from 1923-1925 and the Eskimos (officially Ernie Nevers' Eskimos after their star player) from 1926-1927 in the National Football League. The Eskimos were then sold to the Orange Tornadoes.

DUNGY, TONY See Dungy, Tony here

DYNASTY LEAGUE  (fantasy football term)  A league in which you keep your entire roster from year to year. The next season a draft is held to improve your team. Usually the draft order is based on the previous year's finish. Dynasty leagues are a long term commitment.


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- E -    Ea   El   Em   Er

EAGLES  See Philadelphia Eagles

EIGHT IN THE BOX   The area occupied by defensive linemen and linebackers is often referred to as "the box." The box is usually about 3-5 yards in depth and spans the offensive line in width. Normally seven players occupy this area but frequently another player is brought into the box for run support against smashmouth-oriented offensive teams or short yardage situations. The most common occurrence of eight in the box in the NFL involves the strong safety walking down from his position 10-15 yards off the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped. From this tightened position he can offer the aforementioned run support as well as jam WRs and TEs, blitz the QB, or provide flat coverage. Due to the superior athleticism of NFL players, it is not uncommon for the box safety to even provide deep coverage after the snap, giving the QB a pre-snap Cover 1 read but effectively transitioning into Cover 2 or another shell post snap.

ELBOW PADS  Provides protection for the elbows.

ELECTRIC COMPANY -  See The Electric Company

ELIGIBLE: An offensive player who is able (by the rules) to catch a forward pass; eligible to receive the pass. See Eligible Receiver

ELIGIBLE RECEIVER:  A player allowed by the rules to catch a forward pass; all offensive players are eligible except linemen and the quarterback, who must notify the referee if they wish to become eligible and stand at least one yard behind the line of scrimmage before the snap.

Not all players on offense are entitled to receive a forward pass. Only an eligible pass receiver may legally catch a forward pass, or be more than five yards over the line of scrimmage on a forward passing play. If the pass is received by a non-eligible receiver, the penalty for ineligible receiver is assessed (the play is treated as an incomplete pass, unless the ball is downed behind the line of scrimmage - in either case a down is lost). If a non-eligible receiver is more than five yards downfield on a completed forward pass, the penalty assessed is "ineligible receiver downfield" (a loss of yardage, but not loss of down).

Every player on the defensive team is considered eligible. The offensive team must have at least seven players lined up on the line of scrimmage. Of the players on the line of scrimmage, only the two players on the ends of the line of scrimmage are eligible receivers. The four remaining players in the backfield, excluding the quarterback, where a quarterback who takes the snap directly from the center is never eligible. However, a quarterback who receives a longer snap from the center, such as in a shotgun formation, is eligible even in the NFL.

With the assignment of numbers to positions, a player who is not wearing a number that corresponds to an eligible receiver is not eligible even if he lines up in an eligible position. However, in the American game, a person who reports to the referee that he will be eligible on the play is allowed to line up and act as an eligible receiver. An example of this was a 1985 NFL game in which William Perry, wearing number 72 and normally a defensive lineman, was made an eligible receiver on an offensive play, and successfully caught a touchdown pass attempt.

If, for example, eight men line up on the line of scrimmage, the team loses an eligible receiver. This can often happen when a flanker or slot receiver, who is supposed to line up behind the line of scrimmage, instead lines up on the line of scrimmage between the offensive line and a split end. In most cases where a pass is caught by an ineligible receiver, it is usually because the quarterback was under pressure and threw it to an offensive lineman out of desperation.

Before the snap of the ball, eligible receivers may only move parallel to the line of scrimmage, only one eligible receiver may be in motion at any given time, and if forward motion has occurred, the receiver must be still for a full second before the snap. The receiver may be in motion laterally or away from the line of scrimmage at the snap. A breach of this rule results in a penalty for illegal procedure (five yards).

The rules on eligible receivers only apply to forward passes, even those behind the line of scrimmage. However, any player may legally catch a backwards or lateral pass.

Once the play has started, players can become ineligible and eligible depending on how the play develops. Any eligible receiver that goes out of bounds is no longer an eligible receiver and cannot receive a forward pass. Also, if a pass is touched by any eligible receiver (tipped by a defensive lineman, slips through a receiver's hands, etc) every player on the field immediately becomes eligible.

EMMITT SMITH   See Smith Emmitt

EMMITT SMITH RULE   Enacted in 1997 - no taking your helmet off on the field of play.

EMPTY FORMATION   Sometimes listed as a variation of the Ace Formation the empty formation consists of five receivers either being five wide receivers, four wide receivers and one tight end, three wide receivers and two tight ends, two wide receivers and three tight ends, and so on. It can also be run with one or two wing backs like the flexbone formation allowing a running game and the ability to run the option. This is a passing formation used to spread the field and gain a lot of yards, but can be used to run the ball either using wingbacks or quarterback draws. The quarterback can line up either under center or in the shotgun. This formation is becoming more popular in the pros and college football with the emergence of Mike Leach's Aerial Assault at Texas Tech University.

ENCROACH: Contacting an opposing player before the snap. Encroaching is illegal, with a five-yard penalty.

ENCROACHMENT: If a player (besides the center) is in the neutral zone and contact occurs prior to the snap.

(Penalty 5 yards) - a defensive player crosses the line of scrimmage and makes contact with a player, or has a unabated path to the quarterback, before the snap. Unlike the offsides penalty, this penalty immediately halts play: the referees blow the whistle, the clock stops, and the offense does not run a play.

Referee signal: same as offsides.

See official Signal

END: An offensive lineman on the very end of the line of scrimmage (there are two, one on each end of the line). The ends block defensive linemen to open up holes for the runner, and guard the quarterback. On professional teams, the end on the right side is referred to as a 'tight' end, as he lines up close to the tackle. The end on the left side is out farther to go out for passes, and is called a wide receiver.

Jersey Numbers: 80 - 89


END AROUND   a play, often confused with a reverse, where the quarterback hands the ball off to a wide receiver . The receiver motions/moves into the backfield as the ball is snapped to take the handoff and runs around the opposite end from where he lined up

END LINE: The very end of the field, in either direction. There are two end lines (one at each end of the field).

END ZONE: The area between the end line and goal line bounded by the sidelines. It is bordered on all sides by a white line indicating its beginning and end points. The end zone is where a player on offense tries to enter to score a touchdown.

A team scores a touchdown by entering their opponent's end zone while carrying the ball or catching the ball while being within the end zone. If the ball is carried by an offensive player, across the goal line, it is considered a score as soon as the ball crosses the imaginary vertical plane of the goal line, between the two sidelines.

In addition, a two-point conversion may be scored after a touchdown by similar means.

The end zone is 10 yards long by 53 and 1/3 yards wide

EQUIPMENT - see Football Equipment

EQUIPMENT MANAGER    The role of equipment manager has become an extremely important one for every NFL team. The equipment manager has two big areas of responsibility:

Protecting the players - First and foremost, an equipment manager's job is to fit each player on the team with a customized array of equipment that will provide maximum protection against injury.

Managing the logistics - The equipment manager must handle the tons of equipment the team uses on a daily basis, keep all of it repaired and in stock and move it around for all of the road games.

These twin responsibilities have made equipment management both a science and an incredibly demanding role on any NFL team. For the Indianapolis Colts, the job of equipment manager falls on the shoulders of Jon Scott.

ERIK WILLIAMS RULE  no hands to the facemask by offensive linemen

ERNEST NEVERS   See Nevers, Ernest

EVANSVILLE CRIMSON GIANTS  The Evansville Crimson Giants was a professional American football team based in Evansville, Indiana in the National Football League in 1921 and 1922.

EXCESSIVE TIME OUTS: Calling a time out after having used the three allowed per half.

 The penalty for excessive time outs is five yards against the offending team and the clock is restarted.


An Expansion Team is considered to be a brand new team in a sports league. The term comes from the fact that the league expands its presence into new cities.

However, when an expansion team begins play, they are generally stocked with players who were rejected by the other existing teams. As a result, most expansion teams are known to be very awful during their first season, but some are known to even held a title (championship) in their league only a few years after their first season. Most teams are considered as an expansion team usually in their inaugural season and sometimes in their second season.

Depending on the league and the situation, a team that moves to another location and/or changes its name are generally not considered an expansion team.


EXTRA POINT(S): After scoring a touchdown, a team can earn additional point(s) scored by a team after it has scored a touchdown, either by a point-after-touchdown (1 point) or a 2-point conversion (2 points).

The extra point, point after touchdown, or PAT is the act of lining up to kick, as in a field goal, immediately following a touchdown. If the kick goes through the uprights, the team gets an additional point for their touchdown, bringing their total for that score to 7.

If more points are needed or desired, a two-point conversion may be attempted instead of the extra point kick.

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F   acronym for Field Judge (an Official)


(1) A protective covering for the face worn by players in football.

The face mask, which is usually made of plastic or metal bars, attaches to the front of the helmet. There are two types of face masks, the open cage and the closed cage.

The open cage usually is preferred by quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and defensive backfield men because the open cagewith two or three horizontal bars and no vertical bar above the noseenables better visibility. The closed cage usually is the choice of linesmen because the closed cagevertical bar running the length of the mask over the nose with two, three, or four horizontal barshelps to keep other players' fingers and hands out of their eyes. In the 1970s, vinyl coating was layered onto the bars to protect against chipping and abrasions. Soon, colors were added to the face masks as another way to distinguish players and teams.

Face mask styles vary according to player positions.

The face mask in the upper left provides good visibility for a quarterback or receiver; bottom left has a little more extension and might be used by a tight end; upper right would be chosen by someone like a linebacker; bottom right would be typical for a lineman.

Teams replace as many as 15 face masks after every game because of damage.

(2) grabbing an opponent's face mask.  Grasping the face mask - contact on an opponent's face mask which includes grasping or twisting the mask, and including using the mask to tackle an opponent
 also See foul

Penalty: Automatic 1st down

see official signal

There are actually two levels of severity for face mask penalties. One results from incidental grabbing of a face mask where it is immediately released, and results in a five-yard penalty. A major face mask foul usually results from a player grabbing an opponent by the face mask and using it to pull the player down or twist his head around and results in a 15-yard penalty and an automatic first down.

FAIR CATCH: a member of the team receiving a punt or kick, may signal for a "fair catch". To signal fair catch the receiver must raise one arm fully above his head and wave it side to side, while the ball is in flight. After making the signal, no opponent may interfere with the fair catcher, the ball or his path to the ball and the receiver may not attempt to advance the ball. If the receiver fails to give a proper signal (arm not fully extended) the receiving team is penalized five yards for an invalid fair catch signal, marked from spot of the signal.

Also, players may not tackle the receiver making the fair catch. 

 The primary reason for the fair catch rule is to protect the receiver. A receiver's attention is on the incoming punt and cannot focus on the defenders running towards him. He is quite vulnerable to injury and is also at risk for fumbling the kick if the punter intentionally makes a high short kick to allow defenders time to hit the receiver.

The XFL removed the fair catch rule in an effort to make the game more "extreme." The XFL however, was not the only league to do so: Canadian football and Arena football also do not have fair catch rules.

A free kick may be taken on the play immediately after any fair catch of a punt. If the receiving team elects to attempt this and time expired during the punt, the half is extended with an untimed down. The ball must be held on the ground by a member of the kicking team; a tee may not be used. This is both a field goal attempt and a free kick; if the ball is kicked between the goal posts, three points are scored for the kicking team. This is the only case where a free kick may score points. This method of scoring is extremely rare; it is only advantageous when as a team catches a very short punt with no time left. Note that a team is unlikely to be punting with only a few seconds left in a half, and it is rarer still for punts to be caught near field goal range.
See Fair Catch Kick

A player signaling for a fair catch is not required to catch the ball; however, after making the signal, he may not initiate contact with any member of the kicking team until the ball is touched by another player. If he does he will be penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct. If the ball hits the ground or a member of the kicking team, the fair catch signal is off and rules for kicked balls apply. If the receiver "muffs" the ball (touches it, but then fails to field it cleanly), then the ball can be recovered by the kicking team.

A "personal foul" for kick catch interference and a 15 yard penalty is called against the kicking team if a member violates the fair catcher's right to the ball. If the receiver attempts to advance the ball after signalling for a fair catch he is penalized five yards for "delay of game". A fair catch may be followed by a snap or a type of free kick the fair catch kick at his team's choice, and an expired playing period may be extended if the free kick is chosen. (The fair catch kick exists only in the NFL, having been abolished in college.)

The fair catch signal can be used as a legal form of deception in the following instance: If the receiver has no intention of actually fielding the ball, but wishes it to roll in the end zone for a touchback, he may signal for a fair catch in front of where the ball will land, making the kicking team think it will not reach the end zone. Some fans see this as an abuse of the fair catch rule, and think that it should be amended to allow the kicking team to recover the ball at any point after it has touched the ground if a fair catch has been called for, which would force an end to this practice, but so far no rules committee will consider this argument.

The officials' signal for a successful fair catch kick is the same as for a field goal.

 See Official Ruling

FAIR CATCH INTERFERENCE:  A player may not interfere with a punt returner's opportunity to catch the football after having signaled for a fair catch.

The penalty for fair catch interference is 15 yards against the offending team.

FAIR CATCH KICK  The fair catch kick is a little-known, rarely enacted rule found in professional and some amateur American football. It is one of the three types of free kicks; the other two are the kickoff and the safety kick. The fair catch kick is the only of the three in which the kicking team may score a field goal. At one time a very similar rule existed in rugby union called goal from mark.

Fair catch kicks can only occur when a member of the receiving team signals for, and successfully makes, a fair catch. That team then has the option of restarting play either by snap or fair catch kick. If the team elects the fair catch kick option, the kicking team lines up at the spot where the fair catch was made and the opposing team lines up ten yards downfield. The kicker then may either placekick the ball from a teammate's hold (a kickoff tee may be used in high school) or dropkick the ball. Three points are awarded for kicking the ball through the uprights. If the kick does not go through the uprights, the ball is live, similar to either of the other free kicks. Likewise, a fair catch kick landing out of bounds but not in the end zone is awarded to the receiving team 30 yards from where it was kicked.

In the NFL, a fair catch kick may still be attempted if the quarter ends on the fair catch play. This is not automatic; a team's captain or coach must exercise this option.

This play is very rarely used. First of all, it is only allowed in the NFL, high school, and a few other levels of football. In the NFL, a rare combination of circumstances would make it plausible. As it will only happen after a punt or free kick, a fair catch tends to be taken too far from the goal for a kick to be successful (although, unlike a field goal attempt, the resulting kick is taken from the spot of the catch, not several yards back, and the defending team must stay 10 yards back before the kick.) Further, it is of most use to a team when there is not enough time to run a play from scrimmage, so is only likely to be seen when the punt would otherwise be the last play of a half or a game. Finally, at the end of a game it is only of use when the receiving team is 3 points or fewer behind, or the game is tied - if they need 4 or more points, they will try to run the ball back for a touchdown. If a team has a three point lead on fourth down with a few seconds left, they are more likely to run out the clock by having the punter run around the end zone and take an intentional safety than to risk a punt.

In the rare circumstances when a punt is taken close to a team's own goal line with only a few seconds left in the half, sportscasters will sometimes mention the rule. However, punters, under those circumstances, will generally kick the ball away from the return man, most likely to frustrate a long return rather than to prevent a fair catch.

Because a fair catch kick is rarely used, many players, coaches and fans don't know that the rule even exists.

The last successful fair catch kick in the NFL was by Mac Percival in 1968, scoring the game-winning field goal for the Chicago Bears against the Green Bay Packers. As of 2006, 8 more have been attempted, none successful.

FAKE PUNT: On very rare occasions, a punting team will elect to attempt a "fake punt" that is line up in punt formation and begin the process as normal, but instead do one of the following:


* The punter may choose to run with the ball.

* The ball may be snapped to another running back, who then runs with the ball.

* The punter (or another back, who is standing nearby) may decide to pass to a pre-designated receiver.


Usually, teams will attempt a fake punt only in the rarest of situations: to keep a drive alive (particularly if a team is behind by one or more touchdowns and the team needs momentum), to expose a weakness in an opposing team's defense, or to catch the opponent's special teams unit off-guard and get an easy touchdown.

The success rate of "fake punts" is low, which may explain why this play is seldom seen.

FALCONS   See Atlanta Falcons

FALSE START:  (Penalty against the offense) An infraction in which an offensive player moves before the ball is snapped. Movement by an offensive player after they have taken a set postion.

A false start results in a five-yard penalty against the offending team.

For offensive linemen, this movement might be as minute as a couple of centimeters. 

At the end of the 2005-2006 NFL season, owners complained regarding false start penalties on players whose flinches have little effect upon the start of the play, such as wide receivers. In response, the NFL competition committee has said that they plan to inflict less false start penalties on players who line up behind the line of scrimmage

FANTASY FOOTBALL:  A game played by football fans in which participants draft their own team and compete with teams built by others.

Scoring systems vary among fantasy football leagues, but most are based on points accumulated by players based on their real-life performance in a game on the same day.

A game which the players (owners) earn fantasy points for the statistical performances of the NFL players on their fantasy team. In most leagues, NFL players are assigned to teams via a draft. Usually, each player can only be on one team at a time and there are limits to the total number of players per team. The object of the game is to outscore your fantasy opponent (other owners) on a weekly basis, so that at the end of the fantasy season (depending on the league) you have the most points or the most wins (in a head to head league).
Cheatsheets, Draft Predictor, Stat Projections, League Software, etc.

FANTASY LEAGUE: A group of fantasy football teams that compete against one another for a league championship.

Fantasy leagues range in size, generally from six to 16 teams, and the rules can vary greatly from one league to another.

FB  acronym for Fullback

FC  An acronym for Fair Catches -  usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports

FEARSOME FOURSOME   The 1960s Los Angeles Rams defensive line.

FF  1. An acronym for Forced  Fumbles -  usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports in DEFENSIVE MISC. STATISTICS
      2. acronym for Fantasy Football  Also FFB

FFB  acronym for Fantasy Football

FG An acronym for Field Goal -  usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports

FGA An acronym for Field Goal Attempt -  usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports

FIELD  Click Here

FIELD GOAL: (3 points) When a place-kick goes through the goalpost (over the crossbar and between the upright bars), three points are earned as a field goal.

Generally, teams will attempt field goals on fourth down when they feel they are within reasonable distance of the goalpost in the opponent's end zone.

A field goal is scored when the ball is kicked between the goal posts behind the opponent's end zone. The ball must first be snapped to a placeholder, who holds the ball upright on the ground with his fingertip so that it may be kicked. Three points are scored if the ball crosses the plane of the goal between the two upright posts and above the crossbar. If a field goal is missed, the ball is returned to the spot of the kick (in college, to the original line of scrimmage), and possession is given to the other team. If the ball does not go out of bounds, the other team may catch the kicked ball and attempt to advance it, but this is usually not advantageous. One official is positioned under each goalpost; if either one rules the field goal no good, then the field goal is unsuccessful. A successful field goal is signaled by an official extending both arms vertically above the head. A team that successfully kicks a field goal kicks off to the opposing team on the next play.

See Official Ruling

See Field Goal Strategy


Football Field Goal Dimensions

NFL - 10' height 18'6" width

NCAA - 10' height 18'6" width (since 1991)

High School - 10' height 23'4" width

Arena Football - 15' height 9' width

(Height = to Crossbar)


FIELD JUDGE: (F or FJ) The official that lines up 25 yards deep in the defensive backfield on the tight end side of the field. His duties include:


Keep track of the play clock and call delay of game if it expires
Make sure the defensive team has no more than 11 players on the field
Rule on plays that cross the defense's goal line
Watch all eligible receivers on his side of the field
Rule on the legality of catches and pass interference penalties on the strong side of the field
Mark the spot where a play goes out of bounds on his side of the field
Watch for illegal use of hands by the receivers and defensive backs


Click Here to see where The Field Judge is Positioned on the Field

 Responsibilities and positioning of each game official.

Referee     Umpire     Head Linesman     Line Judge     Field Judge     Side Judge     Back Judge

FIELD OF PLAY   the area between both the goal lines and the sidelines, and in some contexts the space vertically above it

FIELD POSITION: The location of a team on the field relative to the two goal lines; good field position for a team is near its opponents goal line, while bad field position is close to its own goal line.

FIELDTURF  The FieldTurf concept is simple. Synthetic turf should be like grass, not carpet. And the inventors, who were sportsmen, wanted to develop a synthetic system that offered the beneficial biomechanical properties of natural grass, combined with the best attributes of a durable synthetic system: all-weather playability, low maintenance, and unlimited playing time.

The idea was simple.

Looks Like Grass . . .

Feels Like Grass . . .

Plays Like Grass.

FieldTurf was born. Initially introduced for tennis and golf, then modified for soccer, and finally perfected even for football and baseball, FieldTurf revolutionized the turf industry, and in many ways, the entire world of sport.

FieldTurf is a blend of polyethylene and polypropylene, silica sand and rubber granules that will give years of grass-like appearance and use, without the regular maintenance of natural grass. The installation process includes a layer of decomposed granite, our patented polyethylene and polypropylene blades and our rubber granule infill system. This simple installation will provide the safest, most effective surface. It is resistant to temperature extremes, drains quickly (better than real grass) and is extremely low-maintenance.

Currently all but three National Football League venues have either FieldTurf or natural grass surfaces.

Super Bowl XL, featuring the Seattle Seahawks and the Pittsburgh Steelers, was the first time that the Super Bowl has been played on FieldTurf. The Ford Field installation differs slightly from the standard installation as the recycled rubber used is made from Firestone tires.

FINS   See Miami Dolphins

FIREMAN ED  fan at NY Jets home games who wears a green fireman helmet with a Jets logo on the front. Known for leading the "J-E-T-S" chants.

FIRST & TEN  is the yellow line that a TV viewer sees during a live broadcast of a college or professional American football game. It goes the width of the football field and indicates where the first down marker is located. The purpose of the line is to make it easier for television viewers to follow play on the field. There is also often a second line (usually blue or red in color) that is used to identify the line of scrimmage. The 1st & Ten line is made available by a private company called Sportvision and was developed in 1998.

1 : the first of a series of usually four downs in which a football team must net a 10-yard gain to retain possession of the ball

2 : a gain of a total of 10 or more yards within usually four downs giving the team the right to start a new series of downs

One of the main objectives in American football -- and a necessary one to score points -- is to gain a first down. In order to get a first down, the offense must gain 10 yards within a series of four plays. One problem that football players and officials have always had to deal with is how to measure the 10 yards needed. Even with all of our technology, the NCAA and the National Football League still uses a length of metal chain attached between two poles!

Television viewers have always been at a disadvantage in knowing where the first-down line is in reference to where the offense is. A small arrow located below the end pole isn't usually visible on the television screen. But if you've watched any football games in the last few years, you probably noticed the fluorescent yellow or orange line extending from one side of the field to the other -- seemingly painted on the field. In fact, the line is computer generated, representing exactly the spot that the offense must get to for a first down.

Sportvision, a company based in New York City, debuted its "1st and Ten" system on September 27, 1998, and football fans everywhere rejoiced! Sportvision provides ESPN and Fox Sports with the ability to enhance their football telecasts with this technology (you can view images from actual games that used the first-down line on their Web site). In this article, we'll look at how the 1st and Ten system works.

See down

FIRST DOWN PERCENTAGE  The percentage of relevant plays which resulted in first downs.
For example, if a receiver's First Down Percentage is 20 percent, that means one-fifth of his catches resulted in first downs.

FISH   See Miami Dolphins

FJ   acronym for Field Judge (an Official)

F-L  An acronym for Fumbles-Lost -  usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports

FLAG  See Penalty Marker

FLAG FOOTBALL: Similar to most other forms of football, but with typically six to nine players, with tackling not permitted. Instead, a flag carried on each side of the player's belt must be plucked to constitute a tackle.

FLANKER A receiver lining up behind the line of scrimmage. Frequently the team's featured receiver, the flanker uses the initial buffer between himself and a defender to avoid jamming, legal contact within five yards of the line of scrimmage. The flanker is generally on the same side of the formation as a tight end. As with the split end, this receiver is the farthest player from center on his side of the field.

Jersey Numbers: 80 - 89   

 See Slot Receiver

Also known as a receiver

FLAT:  The area of the field between the hash marks and the sideline near the line of scrimmage.

Running backs make a lot of their receptions in the flat on screen plays and swing passes.

FLEA FLICKER   a trick play in which a running back laterals the ball back to the quarterback, who then throws a pass to a wide receiver or tight end.

A flea-flicker is an unorthodox play (often called a trick play) in American football. It is designed to fool the defensive team into thinking it is a running play instead of a passing play.

After the snap, the quarterback hands off or laterals to a running back who then runs towards or parallel to the line of scrimmage. Before the running back gets to the line of scrimmage, he laterals back to the quarterback, who then looks for a receiver to throw the ball to.

If the defensive players think it is just a normal running play, they will run upfield to try to tackle the running back, leaving the quarterback free from any immediate pass rush, and leaving receivers wide open to catch a pass.

The flea flicker is an extremely high risk play, and the result of it is almost always either a big gain, a turnover, or a big loss. One problem is that it takes a significant amount of time for the play to develop. During that time, the defense might get past the offense's blockers to tackle the running back before he can make the pitch to the quarterback, or sack the quarterback before he can throw the ball. And there is also the risk the running back could fumble if he is hit as he pitches the ball.

Because of the risks it is rarely used. However some flea flicker plays have been used in many key National Football League games including the Super Bowl. In Super Bowl XVII, the Washington Redskins used a flea flicker to try to fool the Miami Dolphins. However the Dolphins were not fooled; Miami defensive back Lyle Blackwood intercepted the pass. But in Super Bowl XXI, the New York Giants successfully ran a flea flicker play against the Denver Broncos; Quarterback Phil Simms passed the ball to receiver Phil McConkey who ran all the way to the Broncos 1-yard line before being tackled for a 44-yard gain. The Giants then scored a touchdown on the next play. The most recent appearance of the flea flicker in the NFL was in the 2005 playoffs; the Pittsburgh Steelers used it when they won a wild card playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Joe Theismann of the Washington Redskins famously had his career come to an end on a nationally televised Monday Night Football game at the hands of New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor, after a failed attempt at a flea flicker which didn't fool the Giants' defense. Upon tackling Theismann, Taylor's entire weight came crashing down on Theismann, severely breaking his leg.

FLEXBONE FORMATION:  a formation involving three running backs where a fullback is lined up behind the quarterback and two wingbacks are lined up behind the line of scrimmage at both ends of the offensive line.

An offensive alignment that utilizes a quarterback, five offensive lineman, three running backs, and varying numbers of tight ends and wide receivers. The flexbone formation is a predominant running formation derived from the wishbone formation and it features a quarterback under center with a fullback lined up directly behind the quarterback. There are two smaller running backs called slotbacks aligned behind the line of scrimmage on each side of the offensive line. The slotbacks are sometimes incorrectly referred to as wingbacks. But, in order to be a wingback, there must be a guard, tackle and tight end all on one side of the center on the line of scrimmage and then the wingback off the line of scrimmage.

The basic play run from the flexbone is known as a triple option. First, the quarterback (QB) receives the football from the center and the fullback (FB) either takes the football from the quarterback or 'fakes' that he has taken the football. If the fullback takes the football, then he runs straight into the line of scrimmage and attempts to gain yardage. If the fullback does not take the football, then the quarterback sprints parallel to the line of scrimmage with a slotback trailing him. The quarterback can either turn up field or pitch the football to the trailing slotback. Hence the term triple because the fullback is option number one, the quarterback keeping the ball is option number two, and the quarterback pitching to the slotback is option number three. The triple option forces defenses to worry about fullbacks running in the middle of the offensive line and to worry about quarterbacks and slotbacks running to outside of the line. The decision of who to carry the ball (which option to make) can either be made before the play in the huddle, or during the play by the QB, who will make decisions based on the position and play of certain defensive players and what they are doing. For example, if the QB keeps the ball but a defender is coming after him, he will pitch to the slotback (or FB), but if the defender covers the possible pitch to the slotback, the QB will keep the ball, perhaps even faking a pitch.

FLEX SCHEDULING  As part of NBC’s agreement to televise Sunday night football, the NFL will implement a flexible schedule for Sunday start times for seven of the final eight weeks of the season.  This will allow the NFL to bring more attractive matchups to a national audience late in the season, and allow teams having breakout years to play their way onto the Sunday night schedule on NBC.

The 2006 NFL schedule will list start times for all games during the flex weeks as 1:00 ET except for games played in the Mountain or Pacific Time zones, which will be listed at 4:05 ET or 4:15 ET.  The Sunday night game will be listed as TBD.  For the 2006 season, flexible scheduling will occur in Weeks 10-15 and Week 17.  Week 16 is a holiday weekend and will not be subject to flexible scheduling.

Twelve days (12) prior to the scheduled Sunday games in each flex week, the NFL will decide (after consultation with CBS, FOX and NBC) and announce the game being moved to 8:30 ET and also may announce games moving to 4:15 ET.  (For the Week 17 games, the decision may be made on six days (6) notice to ensure a Sunday night game with playoff implications.)

Fans planning to attend during flexible scheduled weeks should be aware they may have to adjust their plans in the event of a change in the kickoff time.


                                                         “NFL Flexible Scheduling 101”

·Begins Sunday, November 12, 2006 
·In effect Weeks 10-15 and Week 17.

·Not in effect Week 16 due to holiday weekend.

·Only Sunday afternoon games in Weeks 10-15 and 17 are subject to being moved into the Sunday night window.

·The majority of games on Sundays will be listed at 1:00 PM ET during flex weeks except for games played in Pacific or Mountain Time zones which will be listed at 4:05 or 4:15 PM ET.

·No impact on Thursday, Saturday or Monday night games.

·The NFL will decide (after consultation with CBS, FOX, NBC) and announce on 12 days notice the game being moved to 8:15 p.m. ET and may also announce games moving to 4:15 p.m. ET.

·Week 17 start time changes could be decided on 6 days notice to ensure game with playoff implications.

·The NBC Sunday night time slot in “flex” weeks will list teams as “TBD.”

·Fans and ticket holders must be aware that NFL games in flex weeks are subject to change 12 days in advance (6 days in Week 17) and should plan accordingly.

·NFL schedules all games.

·CBS and FOX each get to protect a total of 5 games in the 7 weeks of flexible scheduling, but not more than one game in any week.

·Teams will be informed as soon as they are no longer under consideration or eligible for a move to Sunday night.

FLIER (or Flyer)  (fantasy football term)  An ambiguous term meaning either taking a chance or picking a player off the waiver wire.

FLOOD: An attempt to swamp the opposition or an area of the field with sheer numbers of players.

  A strategy used by offenses where they send more players to a particular area of the field than the opposition can effectively cover.

Against zone defenses, an offense will flood a zone, forcing a defender to have to cover more than one player.

F LOST abbreviation for fumbles lost

FLY  See Fly Route

FLYER See Flier

FLY ROUTE  (an offensive play)  a pattern run by a receiver, where the receiver runs straight upfield towards the endzone. The goal of the pattern is to outrun any defensive backs and get behind them, catching an undefended pass while running untouched for a touchdown. Generally, the fastest receiver on the team or any receiver faster than the man covering him would be the one to run these routes.

Fly patterns can also be used to clear out space for other receivers. Generally, a fly pattern will draw the attention of both the cornerback assigned to the receiver as well as "over the top" help from a safety. This can create a large gap in coverage, allowing another receiver to run a shorter route, but then gain many yards after the catch because the safety committed to the deep man.

The famed "Hail Mary" play generally involves between three and five receivers all running fly routes in order to have the most chance of one of them catching the ball and scoring or at least gaining significant yardage.

The first Hail Mary was when Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach threw it to wide receiver Drew Pearson in the NFC championship game against the Minnesota Vikings in 1975.

FLYING ELVIS   Nickname for New England Patriots

FLYING WEDGE A flying wedge or flying V is a charging technique in which troops are arrayed to form a V- shaped wedge formation or boar's head.

A formation in American football that was introduced by Harvard in an 1892 game against Yale. The flying wedge was known for being brutally effective, but also resulting in a high rate of injury on both sides. Due to a number of injuries suffered in college football, by 1895 the formation was banned, though its concept remains in certain modern football plays. The flying wedge is also (for similar safety reasons) banned in Rugby Union

FLYING V  See Flying Wedge


1. A game played with a ball on a rectangular field, 100 yards in length, with goal lines and goal posts at either end. Opposing teams of 11 players each attempt to gain possession of the ball and advance it by means of running and passing plays across the opponent's goal line. A team doing so scores a touchdown, worth six points, and then has the opportunity to kick the ball over the goalpost crossbar for one extra point. A field goal -- a kick over the crossbar other than when after a touchdown - counts three points.

 See line of scrimmage, down, forward pass, kickoff, field goal, safety, touchback, touchdown, point after touchdown.

Learn all about How To Play Footbal

2. A regulation NFL football is 11 inches (28 cm) long and about 28 inches (71 cm) in circumference at its widest point.

According to the NFL Rules Digest, "The home club shall have 36 balls for outdoor games and 24 for indoor games available for testing with a pressure gauge by the referee two hours prior to the starting time of the game to meet with League requirements. Twelve (12) new footballs, sealed in a special box and shipped by the manufacturer, will be opened in the officials' locker room two hours prior to the starting time of the game. These balls are to be specially marked with the letter "k" and used exclusively for the kicking game."

FOOTBALL EQUIPMENT   Football equipment keeps a player's body protected from hard hits. Every part of the player's body is covered and protected by some sort of equipment.

The majority of the football gear the players wear serve one purpose - protection. Although most of the pads worn are required by the rules, some gear is made for specific player positions.

The following describes the equipment for a basic football uniform.
The equipment can be categorized by Head Protection, Body Protection, and Leg Protection.

Starting at the top, a player's equipment begins with the helmet and mouth guard. 
The helmet is the most important part of the player's equipment. Essentially, the helmet provides protection to the various parts of the head.

Mouth Piece 
Face Mask
Jaw Pads
Chin Strap 


In addition to protecting the head and neck from injury, it's also important to protect the player's body. This is where body pads come in. These pads protect the body during all the pushing, tackles, sacks and pile-ups that occur in any game. The player's jersey and pants cover these pads.

There are numerous equipments that players wear to provide body protection. Many of the following items are designed specifically for certain areas of the body:

Neck Roll 
Shoulder Pads 
Shock Pads 
Rib Pads 
Arm Pads 
Elbow Pads 
Lineman Gloves 
Receiver Gloves 


Hip pads 
Tailbone pad 
Thigh Pads 
Knee Pads 




 A football helmet is a protective device used primarily in American football and Canadian football.

The helmet consists of several different parts: 

  • Shell - The team stocks four different models, two each from two different manufacturers.

  • Jaw pads and air bladders - Come in a variety of thicknesses for a perfect fit
  • Face mask - Comes in 15 different styles Chin strap - Comes in six different styles
  • Mouth guard - Comes in a variety of colors and sizes

It consists of a hard plastic top with thick padding on the inside, a facemask made of one or more metal bars, and a chinstrap used to secure the helmet. Some players add polycarbonate visors to their helmets, which are used to protect eyes from glare and impacts. They are a requirement at all levels of organized football, except for non-tackle variations such as flag football. Although they are protective, players can and do still suffer head injuries such as concussion. Each position has a different type of face mask to balance protection and visibility.

Since 1994, wireless communication has been allowed inside football helmets.

In 2002, American football equipment manufacturer Riddell released a new design of helmet called the Revolution.  The newer design was released in response to a study on concussions. The design is becoming more popular in the NFL and NCAA, being used by notables such as Peyton Manning, Dwight Freeney, Casey Hampton, and Notre Dame's Brady Quinn.

The football helmet serves an aesthetic purpose as well. Because the helmet bears the team's logo, it serves as a trademark. Credit goes to the Los Angeles Rams as being the first football team to design graphics for their helmets.

The first helmets, circa 1915, were basic, leather headgear without face masks. With their flat top design, they bore a strong resemblance to the soft leather headgear worn by today's wrestlers. The design of these helmets primarily protected the players' ears; yet, without ear holes, this type of helmet made on-field communication virtually impossible.

Helmets with harder leather to help protect the skull first started making an appearance during World War I. In the ensuing years, increasingly harder leathers were used to provide even greater protection. During the same time frame, the first fabric cushioning came on the scene to help absorb the shock brought upon by collisions. Helmet makers also began to phase out the flat top design, replacing it with a more oval shape. The advantage to this new shape was it allowed for blows to the head to be deflected to one side, rather than forcing the top of the head to absorb most of the impact.

Football helmet design took a giant step in 1939 when the John T. Riddell Company introduced plastic helmets. This also led the way for a redesign of helmet straps, which to this point, were designed to be affixed around the neck. The redesign called for the straps to attach to the chin.

Within 10 years, leather helmets became obsolete. Two other significant events took place in the 1940s. The National Football League (NFL) made football helmets required equipment, and the first face mask was developed.

Each week, all of the helmet decals are stripped off and then replaced, the shells are cleaned with an SOS pad and then polished with Future floor wax.

FORMATION: The arrangement of the players at the beginning of each play. There are several formations. Some of the most common are the punt formation, I formation, T formation, and wishbone formation. These are generally named for the shape of the formation. For instance, an I formation involves two running backs in a line (I-shaped) behind the quarterback, and was invented by college coach Tom Nugent in the 1950s. The wishbone formation has the two half-backs on each side of the full-back set back a few yards as opposed to the T formation in which all three backs are in a line parallel to the line of scrimmage.

Offensive Formations

I formation
51 Swing 749 East
Triple Option Right
Sweep Right

Ace Formation

Ace Stretch Right

Jailbreak Screen

Ace Stretch Play Action Boot


Shotgun Option


FORT KNOX   Nickname of the Buffalo Bills offensive line and its protection of quarterback Joe Ferguson in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Named after Bills coach Chuck Knox.

FORWARD PASS: Throwing of the ball "forward", or in the direction of advancement (towards the opponents' goal).  A team is allowed to throw only one forward pass per play, and it must be thrown from behind the teams line of scrimmage.

See Official Ruling

FORWARD PROGRESS:   the location to which a  ball carrier has advanced the ball, even if he was pushed backwards after getting there.

FOUL: A breaking of the rules. Any violation of a playing rule. Common fouls are holding (grasping an opponent, unless the opponent has the ball), personal fouls (tripping an opponent or striking an opponent with one's hand, knee, or head), interference (a defensive player contacting a receiver to stop the completion of a pass or kick by contacting the player before he has the ball), clipping (pushing an opponent in the back), and face mask (grabbing an opponent's face mask).

See NFL Rules


FOUR-POINT STANCE  There are three basic stances for offensive linemen, the 2-point stance,  the 3-point stance, and the 4-point stance

A downed linemen's stance with four points on the ground, in other words, his two feet and his two hands.

In the four point stance the player places the second hand to the ground as well.  The weight ratio between the hands and feet in the four point stance is 1-1.  This stance is often used by linemen in obvious running downs to keep the line low and firing out at the opponent.  It is also used by many power running teams as they pass very infrequently.  It is difficult to pass block from the four point stance.

FOURTH DOWN  4th and last of a series of plays in which the offensive team must advance at least 10 yards or lose possession.

See Down

FR An acronym for Fumbles Recovered -  usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports

FRANCHISE   a team;  the legal arrangement that establishes ownership of a team.

FRANCHISE  TAG  The franchise tag is a designation given to a player by a franchise that guarantees that player a contract the average of the five highest-paid players of that same position in the entire league, or 120% of the player's previous year's salary (whichever is greater) in return for retaining rights to that player for one year. An NFL franchise may only designate one player a year as having the franchise tag, and may designate the same player for consecutive years. This has caused some tension between some NFL franchise designees and their respective teams due to the fact that a player designated as a franchise player precludes that player from pursuing large signing bonuses that are common in unrestricted free agency, and also prevents a player from leaving the team, especially when the reasons for leaving are not necessarily financial. A team is only allowed one "franchise player" in any one given year. A team may, at their discretion, allow the franchise player to negotiate with other clubs, but if they sign with another club, the first club is entitled to two first round draft picks in compensation

FRANCO'S ITALIAN ARMY    Fans of Pittsburgh Steelers running back Franco Harris.

FRANKFORD YELLOW JACKETS    The Frankford Yellow Jackets were a team in the National Football League. Frankford is a section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, located in the northeastern part of the city, noted chiefly for the elevated subway line that originates there. The Yellow Jackets played in the NFL from 1924 until 1931, failing to complete their schedule in the last year, mainly due to financial hardships brought on by the Great Depression. They won the NFL title in 1926, and were co-founded - and co-owned throughout their existence - by Bert Bell and Lud Wray.

The team often played a grueling schedule of 15 to 20 games a season. Frequently, they would schedule a home game on Saturday and an away game on Sunday of the same weekend, due to Pennsylvania blue laws.

On October 26, 1931, the franchise suspended operations one day after the team defeated the Chicago Bears 13-12 at Wrigley Field a result that ultimately took on some historical significance because it would be the last time the Philadelphia-based NFL team won an away game over the Bears until October 17, 1999, when the Philadelphia Eagles won 20-16 at Soldier Field (Philadelphia also went 51 years without a road victory over the Green Bay Packers, the Eagles' 1979 win at Green Bay being the first since the Yellow Jackets had won there in 1928). Indeed, Bell and Wray reactivated the franchise on July 9, 1933 under the name "Philadelphia Eagles;" however, due to the gap in time between the Yellow Jackets' demise and the Eagles' birth (and the fact that virtually no players who were on the 1931 Yellow Jackets' roster also played for the 1933 Eagles), the NFL officially treats the two franchises as separate entities despite the commonality and continuity of their ownership.

Some observers, however, believe the two teams should be treated as one

FRAN TARKENTON RULE   Enacted in 1965 - a line judge was added as the sixth official.

FREE AGENT: A professional athlete who is not constrained to deal with one team. Rather, a free agent may sign with any team he or she chooses.

A player whose contract with his most recent team has expired, allowing him to sign a new contract with any team that makes him an offer.

FREE AGENCY   As defined by the CBA, a free agent is any player who is not under contract to any team and thus has fully free rights to negotiate with any other team for new contract terms. Free agents are classified into two categories: restricted and unrestricted. Furthermore, a team may "tag" a player as a franchise or transition, which places additional restrictions on that player's ability to negotiate. However, the ability to "tag" is quite limited, and only affects a handful of players each year.

Free agency in the NFL began with a limited free agency system known as "Plan B Free Agency", which was in effect between the 1989 and 1992 seasons. Beginning with the 1993 season, "Plan A Free Agency" went into effect, which is the system which remains in the NFL today

FREE KICK: A kickoff or safety kick. It may be a placekick, dropkick, or punt, except a punt may not be used on a kickoff following a touchdown, successful field goal, or to begin each half or overtime period. A tee cannot be used on a fair-catch or safety kick.

A free kick is a special play which does not occur from scrimmage. The kicking team begins behind the ball, while the receiving team must remain at least 10 yards downfield before the ball is kicked.

A kickoff is a kind of free kick used to start each half, and also used to restart the game following a field goal or touchdown. At the beginning of a half, the kicking team is determined by coin toss. After a field goal or touchdown, the kicking team is the team which just scored. A tee is used, unless the ball is blown off the tee by winds twice in succession, in which case the ball must be held by a member of the kicking team. The receiving team may recover and attempt to advance the ball at any time after the kick, but the kicking team may not field the ball until it has traveled at least 10 yards. The ball is usually kicked as deep as possible to the receiving team, in order to force the receivers to start far down the field, but sometimes a team will attempt to recover its own short kick, in a play known as an onside kick.

A free kick is also used to restart the game following a safety. The team that was trapped in its own end zone, therefore conceding two points to the other team, kicks the ball from its own 20-yard line. In this case, the free kick may be either punted or kicked from the ground, but a tee may not be used and the ball may not be held on the ground.

In the NFL and high school, a free kick may be taken on the play immediately after a fair catch.

FREE SAFETY: One of the two defensive backs deepest in the field who isn't assigned a particular area or player to cover and is thus "free"' to follow the play anywhere it goes and generally must be a solid pass defender. Also, see Strong Safety.

He has to roam way back and stay there most of the time, just in case somebody (or a group of somebodies) really screw things up in the front and his job is to make Absolutely Positively sure nobody's getting past him.

YOU KNOW HE'S DOING HIS JOB WHEN: No matter what happens, by the time the free safety is involved, things mostly suck. If they suck bad, he may have helped keep it from sucking worse.

YOU KNOW HE'S NOT WHEN: Things have gone from totally sucking to totally screwed.

See Safety for full detail

FREEZE: Holding onto the ball for along time without scoring or attempting to score, to freeze the ball.

FRITZ POLLARD   See Pollard, Fritz

FRONT FOUR: The players defensive front line; made up of two ends and two tackles.

Also Known As: defensive line

FRONT SEVEN:  The front line of defense that generally includes the linemen and linebackers.


FROZEN TUNDRA  (of Lambeau Field)   Nickname given to the home field of the Green Bay Packers. The phrase was first uttered by NFL Films narrator John Facenda as he described the 1967 NFL Championship Game, or "Ice Bowl", during which Lambeau's undersoil heating system failed and the field froze. Without a heating system, the severe winter climate of Green Bay, Wisconsin would frequently cause the field to freeze.

FULLBACK: FULLBACK: A member of the offense, whose job it is to block for the halfback and quarterback, but he also runs the ball, and receives passes. Fullbacks are usually bigger than running backs, and also serve as short-yardage runners.

The name derives from the fact that in an I formation the Fullback is the furthest back, or a full way back. See quarterback and halfback to further clarify.

The second running back is called the Full Back.

Well, all of these backs - the Quarter, the Half, and the Full - all stand behind the front scrimmage line. Hence, Back. Why the percentage prefixes? Well, there are four backs allowed on the field behind the line of scrimmage, and some genius decided to call the positions the Quarter-back, the Half-back, the Full-back and the Set-back.

The-Full back is the big monster of the backs, and his job is mainly to make sure the Half-back gets his hole and can keep himself on his feet for as long as possible. Alternately, he becomes the last line of defense for the quarterback should one of those big neanderthals on the front line manage to break through and attempt to use the QB as a welcome mat. He's the bodyguard guy.

Every now and then, you'll see him in a trick play as a receiver.

See Backs  for more detail


FUM  An acronym for Fumbles -  usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports for
* RUSHING STATISTICS - Total fumbles

FUMBLE: A ball that is dropped while in play. When a  ball carrier loses possession by dropping the ball or having it knocked away before a play ends; the first player to regain possession of the loose ball is said to make the recovery, and his team becomes the offense.

A fumble occurs when an offensive player such as the quarterback or a running back drops the ball while it is still in play. A fumble may also be forced by a defensive player who either grabs or punches the ball or butts the ball with his helmet (a move called "tackling the ball"). A fumbled ball may be recovered and advanced by either team (except at the end of the game, when the original fumbler is the only offensive player permitted to touch the ball, and even he may not advance it). It is one of two events considered to be turnovers, where possession of the ball can change during play.

Fumbles usually occur during the snap, while running the ball, or in a failed attempt at a lateral pass. Technically, however, if a player drops the ball while attempting to catch a lateral pass it is a muff (you can't "fumble" a loose ball). The result is the same and most announcers will still call it a fumble. Muffs also result when the ball is improperly fielded on kicking plays such as punts.

See Official Ruling for FUMBLE

FUN BUNCH   Early 1980s Washington Redskins wide receivers and tight ends. Their choreographed touchdown celebrations lead to a league ban of "excessive celebration" in 1984.

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z

- G -

G An acronym for Games -  usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports

GAMBLE  (fantasy football term) A player with both high potential and high risk. Players in this category are usually injury-prone, have a high probability for being suspended, or are approaching the end of their career.

GAME BALL: The ball given to a winning team's player or coach considered to have most contribution to their win (supposed to be the ball or a ball the game was played with).


Colts head coach Tony Dungy holds the game ball aloft after the team's 17-13 win over the Cardinals.
January 1, 2006
2005 season

GAME CLOCK:    Scoreboard game clock.

 See Play Clock

GAME DATA CARD and PENCIL   Officials write down important administrative information, such as the winner of the pregame coin toss, team timeouts, and fouls called. Game data cards can be disposable paper or reusable plastic. A pencil with a special bullet-shaped cap is often carried. The cap prevents the official from being stabbed by the pencil while it is in his pocket.

GANG GREEN  Name of the Philadelphia Eagles defensive team from 1987 to 1990, when the team was coached by Buddy Ryan.

Now more likely to refer to the New York Jets

GARBAGE TIME also known as Junk time, is a term used to refer to the period of time at the end of a game when the outcome of the game has already been decided, and the coaches of one or both teams will decide to replace their best players with substitutes. This serves to give those substitutes playing time experience in an actual game situation, as well as to protect the best players from the possibility of injury.

G MEN  Nickname of the New York Giants frequently used by "Boomer" Chris Berman.

GEORGE HALAS   See Halas, George

GEORGE HALAS TROPHY   The NFC Championship Game is an American football game played every year to determine the champion of the National Football Conference (NFC) of the National Football League (NFL). The winner receives this George Halas Trophy and advances to face the winner of the AFC Championship Game in the Super Bowl.

GIANTS  See New York Giants


G MEN   See New York Giants

GOAL   a surface in space marked by a structure of two upright posts 18 feet 6 inches apart extending above a horizontal crossbar whose top edge is 10 feet off the ground. The goal is the surface above the bar and between the lines of the inner edges of the posts, extending infinitely upward, centered above each end line.

GOAL LINE: The line over which the ball must pass to score a touchdown. There are two, one at each end of the field, ten yards from the ends of the field.

The goal line is the chalked or painted line dividing the end zone from the field of play .

If any part of the ball reaches any part of the imaginary vertical plane transected by this line while in-bounds and in possession of a player whose team is striving toward that end of the field, this is called a touchdown and scores six points for the team whose player has advanced the ball to, or recovered the ball in, this position.

If any member of the offensive team is downed while in possession of the ball and at or behind the goal toward which the other team is striving, this is called a safety and scores two points for the defensive team.

If, during the course of play, a loose ball travels past the goal line and is recovered within the end zone, then it is a touchdown if recovered by the team striving toward that goal, or a touchback if recovered and downed by the team striving toward the goal at the opposite end of the field.

(Offensive Formation)  This formation typically has two tight ends, a full back, a running back, the quarterback, the full offensive line, and an extra offensive lineman known as a jumbo. The jumbo is typically an ineligible receiver (because of his number) unless the offense tells the referees that he will be catching a pass. This formation is used for gaining a small amount of yardage and is typically only employed when the offense is very close to the end zone.

(Defensive Formation)  Defense used on the goal line or in short yardage where the entire defense lines up close to the line of scrimmage in an attempt to stop an expected running play. It is usually used to counter a Goal Line offense.


GOAL LINE STAND:  Stopping the opposition at or near one's goal-line on a series of plays.

 A goal line stand usually refers to a team's effort that keeps the opposition out of the end zone after they have started with a first down inside the five-yard line.

GOAL POST:  a tall metallic structure that stands at the back of each end zone; consists of a crossbar and two uprights that extend upward from it, supported directly above the end line by a base; teams try to kick the ball above the crossbar and between the uprights to score a field goal or extra point.



GOING FOR IT:  when a team facing a fourth down decides to try for a new first down instead of punting; if it fails, it loses possession of the ball.

GRANGE, HAROLD "RED"  Red Grange  See Grange, Harold here

GREATEST SHOW ON TURF    The 1999-2001 St. Louis Rams offensive team.
(Note: The first team referred to as "The Greatest Show on Turf" was the 1992 Houston Oilers, the title of their 1993 NFL Films highlight film. The Oilers employed the wide-open run-and-shoot offense.)


The Green Bay Packers American football club is a National Football League team based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Founded in 1919, the team joined the NFL in 1921 during the league's second season. The Packers are currently the only publicly owned professional sports team in the United States (although the Chicago Cubs are owned by the publicly owned Tribune Company).

The team currently holds the record for the most NFL league championships with 12: nine NFL Championships prior to the Super Bowl era, and Super Bowl XXXI. The team also holds the distinction of winning the first two AFL-NFL Championship Games that were held before the AFL-NFL Merger.

The Packers are now the only publicly owned company with a board of directors in American professional sports. Typically, a team is owned by one person, partnership, or corporate entity; thus, a "team owner." It has been speculated that this is one of the reasons the Green Bay Packers have never been moved from the city of Green Bay, a city of just over 100,000 people. By comparison, the typical NFL football city must be populated in the millions to support a team. However, the Packers have long had a large following throughout the state of Wisconsin; in fact, for decades, the Packers played several home games each year in Milwaukee. The Packers did not move their entire home schedule to Green Bay until 1995.

Based on the original 'Articles of Incorporation for the (then) Green Bay Football Corporation' put into place in 1923, if the Packers franchise was sold, after the payment of all expenses, any remaining monies would go to the Sullivan-Wallen Post of the American Legion in order to build "a proper soldier's memorial." This stipulation was enacted to ensure that the club remained in Green Bay and that there could never be any financial enhancement for the shareholders. At the November 1997 annual meeting, shareholders voted to change the beneficiary from the Sullivan-Wallen Post to the Green Bay Packers Foundation.

City: Green Bay, Wisconsin

Team Colors: Dark Green, Gold, and White

Head Coach: Mike McCarthy

Home fields:

Hagemeister Park (1919-1922)
Bellevue Park (1923-1924)
City Stadium (Green Bay) (1925-1956)

Lambeau Field (1957-present)

Split games between Milwaukee and Green Bay(1933-1994)

Borchert Field (1933-1935)
Wisconsin State Fair Park (1934-1951)
Marquette Stadium (1952)
Milwaukee County Stadium (1953-1994)

Team history 

Green Bay Packers (1919–present)  

Team Nicknames 

Indian Packers (1919)
Indians (1919) 
Acme Packers (1921) 
Blues (1922) 
Big Bay Blues (1920s) 
Bays (1920s-1940s) 
The Pack (current)

  In 1919, Earl "Curly" Lambeau and George Calhoun pieced together a group in the Green Bay Press-Gazette editorial room with the notion of starting a football team. Lambeau's employer at the Indian Packing Company - Frank Peck - provided jerseys, equipment and use of its athletic field for practice. Early on, the club was identified as a project of the company, hence Packers became a natural fit.

GRIDIRON: term for a football field.   so called for its markings.

GRITZ BLITZ   Nickname for the 1977 Atlanta Falcons defense.

GRS AVG  An acronym for Gross Punting Average -  usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports

GUARD:   The linemen on either side of the center. The two players that line up between the center and the tackles on the offensive line of a football team.

The guard's job is to protect the quarterback from the oncoming defensive line and linebackers during pass plays, as well as creating openings (holes) for the running backs to head through. Guards perform speed blocking and "pulling"--sprinting out in front of a running back in order to block for him. Guards are automatically considered ineligible receivers, so they cannot touch a pass, unless it is to recover a fumble or is first touched by a defender or eligible receiver.

Guards, like other linemen, today are often over 300 pounds.

Jersey Numbers: 60 - 79

On either side of the Center are the right and left guards. They have two possible jobs, depending on the play. They can either bully a hole in the line of scrimmage for a running backs

 to run through, or they can turn into stone walls and simply keep the defensive guys from running through the center of the line to the quarterback. Preferably, they can do both at the same time.

You know they're doing their job when: The quarterback is still standing at the end of the play, and, if one of the running backs tries to run the ball up the middle, there's a hole there for him to run through.

You know they aren't when: The quarterback gets clobbered from the front, or the running back is stopped cold right at the line of scrimmage where the play started. (Or worse)

GUNNER:   The members of the special teams who specialize in racing downfield to tackle the kick or punt returner. The gunners usually line up to the outside of the offensive line and are often double teamed by blockers.

A player on the kick cover team that is the first down the field to make a play on the returner.

GUY CHAMBERLIN  See Chamberlin, Guy

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z


- H -

H acronym for 1. Head Linesman (an Official)
                       2.  Home (as a Home Game)
 HALAS, GEORGE    see Halas, George here

HAIL MARY: The quarterback throwing the ball up in the air without really targeting any particular receiver, hoping someone on his side catches it.

A Hail Mary pass or Hail Mary play is a forward pass made in desperation, with only a very small chance of success. The typical Hail Mary is a very long forward pass thrown at or near the end of a half where there is no realistic possibility for any other play to work, though the most famous were thrown at the end of a game. The phrase derives from the name of a prominent Roman Catholic prayer to the Virgin Mary. The point is that the success of such a pass is so unlikely that it would need divine intervention to work.

HAMMOND PROS   The Hammond Pros from Hammond, Indiana played in the National Football League from 1920 to 1926. Of the nine African-American players in the league during those years, six played for the Pros.

HALFBACK: Also referred to as Tailback or Runningback. A member of the offense, whose job it is to run the ball, receive passes, and block for a teammate running the ball. The name derives from the fact that in an I formation the Halfback is half way between the  Quarterback and the Fullback, or half the way back. See Quarterback and Fullback to further clarify.

Although a running back's primary role is to run with the football, he is also used as a receiver at times.

Unless you're watching a very gifted team, you're probably seeing the ball being humped up the field by runners at least three times as much as you see it being plucked out of the sky. They call that "the ground game," and the half-back is one of the three guys that do it. In fact, the half-back (tail back) is the main guy who does it, and if your teams lucky enough to find a good one, he's going to rack up an obscene amount of carries per season. That's why he's called a "Running back." He runs.

Also Known As: running back, tailback

See Backs for full detail

HALFBACK OPTION PLAY   a trick play in which the halfback throws a pass.

The halfback option play is an unorthodox play in American football. It resembles a normal running play, but the running back has the option to throw a pass to a wide receiver or tight end before crossing the line of scrimmage.

The key to the play is fooling the defensive players, primarily the defensive backs. If the defensive backs think it is just a normal running play, they will first immediately run upfield to try to tackle the running back, leaving the wide receivers wide open to catch a pass. Of course, if the defensive backs are not fooled, the running back carrying the ball does have the option to run instead of risking an incomplete pass or an interception.

The running play that halfback options usually resemble is a sweep play. Sometimes the quarterback will run out of the backfield and become a receiving option for the running back. This can be effective because the quarterback usually does very little after handing off or pitching the ball to the running back on most plays, and the defense might not be expecting him to be used as an active receiver.

The halfback option play usually has limited success and is not commonly used.

HALF TIME   The game of football is played in two halves. Half-time is the name given to the interval between the two halves of the match.  While it exists mainly to provide competitiors to rest briefly and recover from the play of the first half, half-time also serves a number of other purposes.

Half-time for spectators offers the opportunity to visit the toilet, get some food or drink, or just exercise cramped limbs, without the fear of missing any of the action. A show may be put on for the spectators to keep their attention, most famously in the case of the American football Super Bowl. As many spectators at the ground may be otherwise occupied using stadium facilities it might be inferred that the scale and spectacle of half-time entertainment is more directly related to the size of the potential television audience.

Half-time offers the opportunity to advertise, a valuable source of revenue for television companies. In addition, it allows analysis of the game so far by pundits. Controversial incidents or exceptional play may be highlighted at this time. It also allows viewers to catch up with any action that they may have missed.

HAND OFF: Quite literally what it says: to hand the ball off to a teammate. A running play where the quarterback hands the ball to a back.

HANDS TEAM  A team of sure-handed players that specializes in recovering onside kicks. During an onside kick, both teams put in their hands teams so they have the players on the field with the best ball-handling skills.

HANG TIME: the length of time a punt is in the air.

HAROLD GRANGE   See Grange, Harold


HARTFORD BLUES   Hartford Blues of the National Football League played only in 1926. They had a record of 3-7.

HASH MARKS:  The two rows of lines near the center of the field marked off in one-yard increments. These marks divide the field into thirds. Whenever the ball becomes dead on or outside one of these marks, it is placed on its respective hash mark.

On an NFL football field, the hash marks are 4 inches wide and located 70 feet, 9 inches from the sidelines.

HAT   If a player not carrying the ball steps out of bounds (a wide receiver running a deep passing route or a player running downfield on punt coverage, for example), the official will drop his hat to mark the spot of where the player went out of bounds. The hat also is often used: to signal a second foul called by the official on a play (by those officials that may carry only one flag); to indicate unsportsmanlike conduct committed against the official himself (as when a player shoves an official); or when some other situation requires a physical mark and the official has already used the ordinary item on the play.

H-BACK  a player listed in a roster or depth chart as a fullback and playing as a hybrid of a fullback and a tight end.

An H-Back is an offensive position in American football that is a hybrid between a fullback and a tight end. One team that prominently utilizes the H-back position is the Washington Redskins under head coach Joe Gibbs, who is one of the first coaches to use the positions. Gibbs is credited for revolutionizing the position.

Unlike the tight end, which Gibbs uses almost exclusively as an extra blocker on the offensive line, the H-back is asked to block, pass protect, and run receiving routes from multiple sets. The H-back can line up in the backfield, on the line, or is put into motion. On one play, he may be asked to serve as lead blocker for the tailback. The next, he may be sprinting 15 yards downfield to catch a pass. Due to the complexity of the position, a thorough knowledge of the offense is desirable in an H-back.

HEAD COACH:  The member of the coaching staff that is responsible for all aspects of the team, and is in charge of all other coaches.

 A professional who is responsible for the overall actions of the players of the team he is associated with. He is typically paid more than other coaches. Other coaches are often subordinate to the head coach, often in offensive positions or defensive positions, and occasionally proceeding down into individualized position coaches.

HEAD LINESMAN:  (H or HL)  The head linesman is the official that sets up straddling the line of scrimmage on the sideline designated by the referee. His duties include:


Watch for line of scrimmage violations like offsides and encroachment
Rule on all out-of-bounds plays on his side of the field
Keep tabs on the chain crew
Mark the chain to a yard marker on the field as a reference point for a measurement on the field
Mark a players forward progress after a play is whistled dead
Keep track of all eligible receivers
Watch for illegal motion, illegal shifts, illegal use of hands, illegal men downfield


Click Here to see where The Linesman is Positioned on the Field

 Responsibilities and positioning of each game official.

Referee     Umpire     Head Linesman     Line Judge     Field Judge     Side Judge     Back Judge

HEAD-TO-HEAD  One on One. Colts VS Patriots


Despite his nickname, the 6-foot-3 Heffelfinger weighed only 178 pounds when he entered Yale in 1888. Within a year, he was up to about 205 pounds and he was the best college lineman in the country. He was a guard on the first All-American team selected, in 1889, and he was named to the team again in 1890 and 1891.

Yale in 1890 developed a new kind of play to take advantage of Heffelfinger's speed and strength. Instead of simply blocking the defensive player across from him at the line of scrimmage, he was often asked to pull out of the line to lead interference for the runner. The pulling guard has been a standard feature of American football ever since.

Born: Dec. 20, 1867, Minneapolis, MN
Died: April 5, 1954

Considered the first professional football player


During his four-year career at Yale, the school won 54 games while losing only 2. There were no limits on eligibility at that time and a student newspaper led a campaign to get him to play a fifth season, using the slogan, "Linger, oh linger, Heffelfinger," but he chose to play for the Chicago Athletic Association instead.

On November 12, 1892, Heffelfinger played a game for the Duquesne Athletic Club of Pittsburgh. He was paid $500, the first time a player was known to be given money, although there may well have been under-the-table payments before that. Heffelfinger forced a fumble, picked up the ball, and ran 35 yards for the only touchdown as Duquesne beat the arch-rival Allegheny Athletic Association.

Heffelfinger coached Lehigh University to a 6-8-0 record in 1894 and had a 7-3-0 record at the University of Minnesota in 1895. He then became a stockbroker, but occasionally helped with the coaching at Minnesota. In 1916, he returned to Yale to coach the linemen but, in his exuberant demonstration of how the game should be played, he knocked two of them out of action.

At fifty-four, Heffelfinger captained an all-star team that played a 1922 game against the Ohio State alumni to raise money for charity. He was on the field for 51 minutes in a 16-0 victory. On November 11, 1933, a few weeks before his sixty-fifth birthday, he played nine minutes in another charity game, his final appearance in a football uniform.


an award presented annually by the Downtown Athletic Club of New York to the best college football player in the country.

See Heisman, John William

HEISMAN, JOHN WILLIAM   John William Heisman (October 23, 1869 October 3, 1936) was born Johann Wilhelm Heisman, on October 23, 1869, at 183 Bridge Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio, two weeks to the day before the first official intercollegiate football game was played on November 6, between Rutgers and Princeton, both in New Jersey.

John Heisman was a prominent American football player and college football coach in the early era of the sport and is the namesake of the Heisman Trophy awarded annually to the season's best college football player.

He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, but grew up in Titusville, Pennsylvania, where he played football for Titusville High School, graduating in 1887. He went on to play football at Brown University 1887-1889 and at the University of Pennsylvania 1890-1891. He coached at Oberlin College in 1893, went to the University of Akron in 1894, and returned to Oberlin the next year. In 1895, he went to Auburn University, where he stayed for five years. With all these schools combined, he lost only five games.

In 1900, he went to Clemson University, where he coached for four seasons before moving to Georgia Tech. He put together a spectacular 16 seasons there, including three undefeated seasons and a 32-game undefeated streak. He was coaching the Georgia Tech Engineers when they defeated the Cumberland University Bulldogs 222-0 in a game played in Atlanta in 1916, in the most one-sided college football game ever played, during which the Engineers scored with every possession of the ball. Heisman's running up the score against a totally outmanned opponent (supposedly motivated by revenge against Cumberland's baseball team running up the score against Tech 22-0 the previous year) was to prove a point that many would still consider valid, namely that the voters in media polls purporting to rank college football teams pay far too much opinion to the margin of victory at the expense of other factors, including the quality of opponents played, and that a truly superior team can schedule opponents so weak that it can essentially score as many points as it desires, rendering margin of victory useless as a measure of relative strength compared to other good teams.

He went back to Pennsylvania for one season in 1920, then to Washington and Jefferson College, before ending his career with four seasons at Rice University.

He was an innovator and developed one of the first shifts, had both guards pull to lead an end run, and had his center toss the ball back, instead of rolling or kicking it. He was a proponent of the legalization of the forward pass.

Heisman subsequently became the athletics director of the former Downtown Athletic Club in Manhattan, New York, and in 1935 the club began awarding annually in his honor what is now almost universally referred to as the Heisman Trophy, given to the player voted as the season's best collegiate player. Voters for this award consist primarily of media representatives, who are allocated by regions across the country in order to filter out possible regional bias, and former recipients. Following the bankruptcy of the Downtown Athletic Club in 2002, the award is now given out by the Yale Club.

John Heisman Quotes

Don't cuss. Don't argue with the officials. And don't lose the game.

To break training without permission is an act of treason.

Gentlemen, it is better to have died as a small boy than to fumble this football.

When in doubt, punt!

When you find your opponent's weak spot, hammer it. 

HELMET   See Football Helmet


Heston, "Willie" William M.

Willie Heston was the third Michigan player to be named to the All-American team and the first to be chosen by Walter Camp. He was also chosen on several All-Time All-American teams. Unequaled at hitting a line, Heston also had one of the fastest starts in football, and reputedly could out run Michigan's Olympic 100 meter gold medalist Archie Hahn over 20 yards.

"Hurry-Up" Yost, his coach at the University of Michigan, once said that Heston had scored at least 100 touchdowns in his four-year career, but Heston modestly admitted to only 93.

Heston first played guard at San Jose Normal, now San Jose State, in California. He captained the team in 1900. Yost, then coaching Stanford, was asked to help coach San Jose for its big game against Chico State. He moved Heston to halfback and San Jose won the game.

University of Michigan Football
All-American, 1903, 1904
Team Captain, 1904

Born: Sept. 9, 1878, Galesburg, IL
Died: Sept. 9, 1963

College Football Hall of Fame

HERALDS  See Detriot Lions

HIGHLIGHT FILM:  Highlight film is a video synopsis of an athletic team's entire season, especially one produced about such a team in the United States.

The practice of teams producing highlight films appears to have emerged gradually during the 1970s; a particularly notable offering of this genre was that of the 1979 Dallas Cowboys; its title, America's Team, ended up being popularly applied to the club itself.

Today virtually all American sports teams produce annual highlight films, regardless of the outcome (good or bad) of the club's season; originally turned out as video cassettes, they are more commonly now done in DVD format.

HIKE   Also referred to as the snap.  The hike initiates the offensive playSee also, count.

HIP PADS  The hip pads and tail bone pad is made of lightwieght foam and is designed to protect the hips and tailbone from contact. These pads are held in a girdle to keep them in the proper position on the body.

HITCH AND GO: A maneuver where a runner goes downfield to catch a pass, fakes a quick turn (as if to catch), then continues downfield for a deeper pass.

A Hitch route is a pattern run by a receiver where the receiver will act like he is running a pattern down field, taking possibly one or two steps forward before quickly stopping and looking for a quick pass before the defender has a chance to react and try to deflect the pass.

This route can also be used in what is called a screen, where while the receiver is receiving the pass, one or more lineman, tight ends, or running backs will run in the direction of the receiver in order to block the initial pursuing defenders so that the receiver has time and space to be able to run after the catch.

HL  acronym for Head Linesman (an Official)

HOGETTES   A group of about twelve Washington Redskins fans who dress in drag and wear pig-noses.

HOGS   The 1980s Washington Redskins offensive line. Name first used by offensive line coach Joe Bugel during the team's 1982 training camp prior to winning Super Bowl XVII.

HOLDER: The player who holds the ball during a place kick.

The holder is the player who receives the snap during field goal and extra point attempts. The holder is usually positioned between seven and eight yards behind the line of scrimmage. The holder kneels down and places the hand furthest from the line of scrimmage on the ground with the other hand held out waiting for the ball to be snapped to him. After receiving the ball the holder places it on the ground, as quickly as possible, so that one end is touching the ground and the other end is supported by one finger. The holder also rotates the ball so that the laces are facing towards the goal posts.

During a "fake field goal" attempt the holder will pick the ball up and either throw a forward pass or run with the ball.

There can also be a holder during kickoffs and free kicks, but this is reserved for when the ball tee cannot keep the ball up by itself, usually due to wind.

HOLDING: a foul where a player impedes the movement of an opponent by grasping or hooking any part of his body or uniform; punishable by a penalty 10 yards if against the offense, 5 yards (10 yards in college) plus a first down if against the defense.

There is illegal use of the hands or arms while blocking, usually a grasp or a tackle of a defending player; an automatic safety is assessed if the spot of the infraction is within the offensive team's own end zone.

 Referee signal: one forearm vertically held in front of the body with a closed fist facing the referee's chest; the other hand grasping the first arm's wrist.

The penalty is enforced from the previous spot, unless the infraction occurred beyond the line of scrimage or during a running play, in which the penalty is enforced from the spot of the foul.

Or, when a player on offense commits an illegal block, such as if...


Illegal block in the back
Blocking below the waist


HOLE: The opening between two linemen through which the ballcarrier plunges.

See Running Lane

HOLE NUMBER: A number assigned to each gap or space between the five offensive linemen and the tight end.

See Running Lane

HOLY ROLLER GAME  the Holy Roller (known as the Immaculate Deception by San Diego Chargers fans) was an infamous, controversial game-winning play executed by the Oakland Raiders against the Chargers on September 10, 1978. The game was played at the Chargers' home field, Jack Murphy Stadium (now Qualcomm Stadium).

What some believe should have been called an incomplete pass (and possibly intentional grounding) was seen as a fumble and the rest of the play involved illegal batting of the ball. The officials did not think the illegal actions were obvious enough to call a penalty so the play ended in a touchdown.

With 10 seconds left in the game, the Raiders had possession of the ball at the Chargers 14-yard line, trailing 20-14. Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler took the snap and found himself about to be sacked by Chargers linebacker Woody Lowe on the 24-yard line. Stabler lost the ball, and it rolled forward towards the San Diego goal line. Running back Pete Banaszak tried to recover the ball on the 12-yard line, but could not keep his footing, and the ball was pushed even closer to the end zone. Raiders tight end Dave Casper was the next player to reach the ball but he also could not get a handle on it. He batted and kicked the ball into the end zone, where he fell on it for the game-tying touchdown as time ran out. The Raiders won, 21-20, with the ensuing extra point by placekicker Errol Mann.

During the play, the game officials ruled that Banaszak and Casper's actions were legal because it was impossible to determine if they intentionally batted the ball forward, which would have been ruled a penalty. The National Football League (NFL) also backed up referee Jerry Markbreit's call that Stabler fumbled the ball instead of throwing a forward pass.

However, when asked after the game by radio announcer Bill King if he intentionally fumbled, Stabler said, "You bet your ass I did." Banaszak and Casper also admitted that they deliberately batted the ball towards the end zone.

HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE:  the benefit a team gets by playing games in the area where it is based, due to fan support (noise), familiarity with its surroundings and the lack of required travel.

HOME GAME:  a game played in a teams own stadium.

HORSE COLLAR RULE a technique that has suddenly become taboo in the NFL: the "horse collar" tackle.  A grip from inside the back of the shoulder pads and immediately yanking one to the turf. The technique, or lack thereof, has stirred debate amid concern within the league about rising injury rates.

NFL owners, who held two days of meetings in Washington, D.C., supported a recommendation from the competition committee by a 27-5 margin to ban "horse collar" tackling in the open field. Utilizing the technique in the open field could draw a 15-yard penalty next season. Violators could also be fined.

The committee, mindful of a spike in lower-extremity injuries, noticed at least a half-dozen instances last season when players were hurt on "horse collar" tackles — their legs, knees and/or ankles buckling under the pressure of an immediate yanking down from behind.

The directive is dubbed the "Roy Williams Rule" in reference to the defender whose use of the technique seriously injured Calico, Owens and Musa Smith, who suffered a fractured right tibia and missed the Ravens' final six games.

Calico had arthroscopic surgery and returned for one game but aggravated the injury and had subsequent surgery.

HOTDOG: A player who uses theatrics and "hams it up" for the camera.

*Bengals receiver, Chad Johnson to name one

HOUSE OF PAIN   House of Pain was used to describe the Houston Astrodome during NFL games played by the Houston Oilers. This was during the days that Warren Moon was the quarterback, and the Oilers defense was a force to be reckoned with.

HOUSTON OILERS  The Houston Oilers, a professional football team, are now known as the Tennessee Titans and belong to the Central Division of the American Conference of the National Football League. The club began play in 1960 as one of the original six franchises in the newly formed American Football League. K. S. "Bud" Adams was the team's original owner and still controls the team today. He also serves as the club's president. Adams selected the name Oilers for his Houston franchise for "sentimental and social reasons."

In the first AFL draft before that 1960 season, the Oilers made Billy Cannon their first pick and were able to sign him to a contract. Cannon had won the Heisman Trophy his senior year at Louisiana State University and gave instant credibility not only to the Oilers, but the entire league. Lou Rymkus was hired as the first ever head coach of the franchise, and his 1960 team proceeded to win the first AFL championship. The team played its home games in a renovated high school stadium because Rice University refused to allow the use of their stadium. The club won the AFL championship for the second time in a row in 1961, and Houston fans regularly filled Jeppesen Field.

Early in the 1994 season Jack Pardee was fired, and staff member Jeff Fisher was hired as the team's sixteenth head coach. Quarterback Steve McNair, the NCAA's all-time leader in passing yardage, was drafted. That year the team finished in last place in their division. Under Fisher the Oilers improved to 7-9, tied for second place in the division, in 1995; and 8-8, tied for third in the division, in 1996. Following the 1996 season, which had seen the professional debut of star running back Eddie George, the franchise moved to Tennessee changing the name to Tennessee Oilers . In both 1997 and 1998 the Tennessee Oilers finished 8-8. In 1999 the team changed its name from Oilers to Tennessee Titans and finished the year with a 13-3 record, good for second in the division, then went on to lose Super Bowl XXXIV in Atlanta to the St. Louis Rams on January 30, 2000.


The Houston Texans American football club is a National Football League team based in Houston, Texas. The Texans joined the NFL as a 2002 expansion team. The city's previous franchise, the Houston Oilers, moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 1997 and changed their name to the Tennessee Titans.


Year founded: 2002

City: Houston, Texas

Uniform colors: Steel blue, Battle red, and Liberty white

Helmet design: Blue helmet with a bull head in the red, white, and blue colors of the Texas flag

Head Coach: Gary Kubiak

Team history 

Houston Texans (2002–present)   

Houston's expansion team was christened the Texans on September 6, 2000.

HUDDLE:  When the 11 players on the field from one team form a group in order to secretly communicate instructions of the upcoming play.  Between plays, the players on each side of the ball huddle to discuss strategy- Unless your The Indianapolis Colts with a No Huddle!

HUNT, LAMAR (August 2, 1932 - December 13, 2006)

Hunt, the pro sports visionary who was the founder and owned the Kansas City Chiefs and came up with the term "Super Bowl," one of Americas most innovative and creative sports figures of the past half-century, died about 9:40 p.m. December 13, 2006 at a Dallas hospital of complications from prostate cancer. He was 74.

Hunt is one of the most influential sports promoters in the United States. He was one of the founders of the American Football League and Major League Soccer. He is also the founder and owner of the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas City Wizards of the MLS.

Founding of the American Football League

Hunt applied for an National Football League expansion franchise but was turned down. In 1959, professional football was a distant second to Major League baseball in popularity and the thinking among NFL executives was that the league must be careful not to "oversaturate" the market by expanding too quickly.

In response, in 1960 Hunt led several other investors in forming the AFL. Hunt encouraged, wheedled, and cajoled seven other like-minded men to form this new league. One of them, fellow Texan Bud Adams of Houston, had likewise tried but failed to be granted an NFL franchise. Lamar Hunt's goal was to bring professional football to Texas and to acquire an NFL team for the Hunt family. Hunt became owner of the Dallas Texans, and hired future hall-of-famer Hank Stram as the teams first head coach.

HURRY   Occurs when a defense's on-coming rush forces the quarterback to throw before he intended to, throw erratically or off target.

HURRY-UP OFFENSE   Also considered a no-huddle offense.  When a team must score quickly or they want to confuse the defense, they use this type of offense.  Typically, the QB will call two or more plays in the huddle.  After the first play, the offensive team will go directly to the line of scrimmage and initiate the next play, and so on.

The hurry-up offense, or two-minute drill, is an American football offensive strategy designed to run a series of plays quickly and efficiently using as little of the time remaining as possible. Very few rushing plays are called and most passing plays are designed to be out patterns, towards the sideline so the receiver can get out of bounds. Typically a play will last between 3 and 7 seconds in a hurry-up offense.

Plays can be from either a practiced script, called in from the sideline, or called by the quarterback at the line of scrimmage depending on the situation. If a defense has adjusted to an offense's gameplan well all night, plays may be called in from the sideline ad-lib to better gain the advantage over a defense that was prepared against what the offense was trying to do. If a defense has not adjusted well all game, a coach may opt to run the practiced two-minute drill done in practice throughout the week. The hurry-up is sometimes called a no-huddle offense, though the no-huddle is properly a subset of hurry-up offenses.

The hurry-up offense revolves around strategic management of the remaining time of the game clock. There are a number of techniques used to stop the clock from running down:


Running out of bounds; 
Spiking the ball;
Throwing an incomplete pass; 
Using the two-minute warning; 
Using time outs;


Drawing penalties or intentional fouls (it should be noted that this is not always smart. If there are only a few seconds left on the clock and someone on a team with no time-outs purposely commits a penalty, there is a 10-second run-off).

Creating penalties by starting plays as the defense is still switching out players, and has the wrong number of players on the field.

The Indianapolis Colts are notorious for this kind of offense.


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I20 abbreviation for inside the 20 (found in STAT records)

IDP acronym for Individual Defensive Player

I FORMATION:  An offensive formation that looks like an I because the two running backs line up directly behind the quarterback. On short yardage plays, teams often run out of the I-formation.

    WR  LT  LG  C  RG  RT  TE  WR




The I formation is one of the most common offensive formations in football. The I formation draws its name from the vertical (as viewed from the opposing endzone) alignment of quarterback, fullback, and running back, particularly when contrasted with the same players' alignments in the now-archaic T formation.

The formation begins with the usual 5 offensive linemen (2 offensive tackles, 2 guards, and a center), the quarterback under center, and two backs in-line behind the quarterback. The base variant adds a tight end to one side of the line and two wide receivers, one at each end of the line.

The I formation is typically employed in running situations. The most common plays out of this formation are running plays up the middle. It is a power formation that allows the fullback to lead the way through the line and make room for the tailback carrying the ball.


Despite the emphasis on the running game, the I formation remains an effective base for a passing attack as the defense will generally be looking for a running play.

The formation supports up to three wide receivers and many running backs serve as an additional receiving threat. While the fullback is rarely a pass receiver, he serves as a capable additional pass blocker protecting the quarterback before the pass. The running threat posed by the formation also lends itself to the play-action pass. The flexible nature of the formation also helps prevent defenses from focusing their attention on either the run or pass.

Common variations

Many subtypes of the I formation exist, generally emphasizing the running or passing strengths of the base version.


* The Big I places a tight end on each side of the offensive line (removing a wide receiver). Coupled with the fullback's blocking, this allows two additional blockers for a run in either direction. This is a running-emphasis variant.

* The Power I replaces one wide receiver with a third back (fullback or running back) in the backfield, set up to one side of the fullback. This is a running-emphasis variant.

* The Jumbo or Goal-line formation further extends the Power I or Big I, adding a second or third tight end to the line, respectively. This variant has no wide receivers and is all but exclusively a running formation intended to reliably gain minimal yardage, most commonly two yards or less.

* The Three-wide I replaces the tight end with a third wide receiver. This is a passing-emphasis variant.


The I formation, in any variant, can also be modified as Strong or Weak. In either case, the fullback lines up roughly a yard laterally to his usual position. Strong refers to a move towards the side of the quarterback with more players, weak in the opposite direction. These modifications have little effect on expected play call.

Many different types of plays can be run out of the I Formation:

51 Swing 749 East

This play is designed to stetch the defense vertically, as both wideouts run deep routes to their respective sides of the field. If either receiver is left with single coverage, look to go deep with the pass. However, if both receivers are well covered, look to go underneith to the tight end or running back as both should be matched up against linebackers.


This play isolates the fullback to block against a linebacker, and is most often used in short yardage situations, or when a team is physically dominating it's opponent.

Triple Option Right

The triple option is one of the most consistently effective running plays if it is run correctly and practiced often.

The quarterback must be able to read the defense quickly, and make decisions based on what he sees. The first read is the defensive end on the play side. If that end turns his shoulders perpendicular to the line of scrimmage and commits himself to stoping the full back, the quarterback keeps the ball and runs along the line of scrimmage. The quarterback then looks for a hole to get upfield. If that hole is filled by someone (the free safety fills the hole), he then pitches the ball to the tailback to take the ball out wide.

Sweep Right

This play is designed to get the tailback outside of the defense. This involves a zone blocking scheme that is designed to have each man block the man to his right. Some defensive linemen will be double teamed immediately, but then the assigned offensive lineman must leave the double team to pick up the linebacker.

The sweep play is used by almost every football team in the country. It provides a change of pace to the power running done up the middle, but requires good speed and timing from the offensive line to be executed correctly.


In the NFL, the I formation is less frequently used than in college. The increasingly common Ace Formation replaces the fullback with an additional receiver, who lines up along the line of scrimmage. The I will typically be used in short-yardage and goal line situations.

IGGLES    See Philadelphia Eagles

ILLEGAL BLOCK IN THE BACK (10 yards) - a player makes any block from behind and above the waist. Referee signal: one forearm vertically held in front of the body with palm facing outward; the other hand grasping the first arm's wrist.

ILLEGAL CONTACT  is when a player makes significant contact with a receiver after the receiver has advanced five yards beyond the line of scrimmage, This rule was adopted in 1978, and its enactment is regarded as contributing to the dramatic increase in both passing yardage and scoring the NFL has witnessed since that time.

Referee signal: One arm in front of the body with palm out and fingers up, moved in a pushing motion out.

ILLEGAL FORMATION: An offensive formation in which not enough players are on the line of scrimmage.


Fewer than 7 players on the line of scrimmage (or more than 7 in NFL), fails to have an eligible receiver as the leftmost and rightmost players on the line in the NFL, or fails to have five properly numbered ineligible players on the line.

By rule, an NFL team must have seven men lined up on the line of scrimmage to begin every offensive play. Failure to do so is an illegal formation and a five-yard penalty against the offending team.

ILLEGAL FORWARD KICK  any kick made from in front of the line of scrimmage. This results in a loss of down and a ten yard penalty. It is the least called penalty in the National Football League

ILLEGAL FORWARD PASS (5 yards and loss of down) - a forward pass is thrown from past the line of scrimmage, or when a second forward pass is thrown on the same play.

Referee signal: One hand, flat, waved behind the small of the back. 

ILLEGAL HANDS TO THE FACE     a player pushes or hits as a player on offense in the head or helmet.

Referee signal: One open fist in a pushing motion to the referee's chin.

ILLEGAL MAN DOWNFIELD  When an ineligible receiver catches the ball - results in a 10 yard penalty

ILLEGAL MOTION: (Penalty against the offense) An illegal movement where two offensive players are in motion at the same time when the ball is snapped.

 Referee signal: One arm in front of chest, palm open and down, with the elbow out to the side, moved away from chest.

 Illegal motion results in a five yard penalty against the offending team.

ILLEGAL PARTICIPATION (Penalty - 15 yards) - twelve players participate during the play, either because twelfth player is not detected before the snap or enters during the play. Illegal participation is also called when an offensive player goes out of bounds (unless forced out by contact by the defense) and returns during the play. Referee signal: two hands, palms down, touching the top of the head, with an elbow out to each side.

ILLEGAL PASS  See Incomplete Pass

ILLEGAL PROCEDURE(Penalty against the offense) A penalty that includes movement by an offensive player before the snap.

The penalty for illegal procedure is five yards against the offending team.

Illegal procedure includes, but is not limited to:


False start 
Illegal motion
Illegal shift
Illegal formation


ILLEGAL SHIFT: A foul by the offense where a player fails to reset for at least one second after two players shift position at the same time.

A player is not in motion but is not set before the snap; more than one player is in motion at the snap; or after more than one player was moving (shifting), all eleven players have not been motionless for one second.

Referee signal: two arms in front of chest, palms open and down, with the elbows out to the side, moved away from chest.

The penalty for an illegal shift is five yards against the offending team.


ILLEGAL SUBSTITUTION: A player may only enter the field of play while the ball is dead. They must also only leave crossing their own sideline. Substitutes entering the game must enter the field passed the numerals. Finally, except for the last two minutes of the half, the offense must not rush to the line and hurry up a snap if they are substituting.

Penalty: Automatic 1st Down

ILLEGAL TOUCHING of a pass (5 yards) - a forward pass first touches an ineligible receiver, that is, one of the five members of the interior offensive line. If the ball touches a defender first, any player may touch it, and defenders may freely make contact with receivers.

Referee signal: one hand held up to shoulder, fingertips touching the shoulder.

ILLEGAL USE OF HANDS   NFL: 5 yards and an automatic first down; college: 5 yards and an automatic first down unless the previous play was 1st and 10, making the next play 1st and 5) - a player illegally uses his hands against a player on offense while attempting to ward off a block, cover a receiver, or tackle a ballcarrier.

Referee signal: one forearm vertically held in front of the body with an open fist facing away from the referee's chest; the other hand grasping the first arm's wrist.

There are several restrictions on how a defender may initiate contact, such as when...


Defensive holding
Illegal hands to the face 
Illegal contact


IMAGINARY VERTICAL PLANE: as it's name suggests, it is the imaginary vertical line which would indicate the top of the goal line.


IMPETUS: The action of a player that gives momentum to the ball.

IN20  An acronym for Punts inside the 20 yard line, (a touchback is not an inside-20)  -  usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports

IN20%  An acronym Inside 20 punts divided by Net Punts -  usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports

INCOMPLETE PASS: A forward pass that is not caught or intercepted. A forward pass that touches the ground before being caught or that is caught while the player is out of bounds.

After an incomplete pass, the football is spotted back at the previous line of scrimmage.

For example, if the quarterback throws the ball to one of his wide receivers, and the receiver either does not touch it, or tries to catch it unsuccessfully, it is ruled as an incomplete pass. An incomplete pass causes the down to advance by one and the offensive team gains no yards. Additionally, the game clock is stopped. However, if the receiver catches the ball, has possession of it (rules vary by league), then loses control of it for any reason, it is ruled a fumble. If a member of the opposing team gains possession of the ball before it hits the ground, it is ruled an interception.

If the receiver (or a defending player) is touched by a member of the opposing team in a way that prevents him from catching the ball, it is ruled pass interference, resulting in a penalty against the touching player's team. The exception to this rule is if the ball is deemed 'uncatchable' by the referees, in which case a pass interference penalty is impossible.

INCOMPLETION  See Incomplete Pass


The Indianapolis Colts American football club is a National Football League team based in Indianapolis, Indiana. The club has won four NFL Championships and two Super Bowls:

One as The Baltimore Colts  and one as The Indianapolis Colts

The team began play in 1953 as a second incarnation of the previous Baltimore Colts team in the NFL. The original Colts team began play in 1946 as a charter member of the All-America Football Conference and joined the NFL in 1950 after the AAFC merged into the older league, but folded after the season. After fans in Baltimore, Maryland protested, this newer Colts team was formed.

In 1984, the Colts moved from Baltimore to Indianapolis.

Read The Complete History of The Indianapolis Colts

Year founded: 
Baltimore Colts - 1953
Indinapolis Colts - 1984

City: Indianapolis, Indiana

Head Coach: Tony Dungy

Team Colors: Royal Blue and White

Uniform colors: royal blue and white

Helmet design: white background, blue horseshoe

Home fields

Memorial Stadium (Baltimore) (1953-1983)

RCA Dome (1984-present)

a.k.a. Hoosier Dome (1984-1993)

Lucas Oil Stadium (scheduled to open in 2008)

Team history 

Baltimore Colts (1953-1983)
Indianapolis Colts (1984–present)  

The Official - Non Official Indianapolis Colts Website

In 1946, the Miami Seahawks of the All-American Football Conference were relocated to Baltimore. Charles Evans of Middle River, MD., won a name contest by submitting Colts. His reasoning? "Colts are the youngest entry in the league, Maryland is famous for its race horses and it is short, easily pronounced and fits well in newspaper headlines." The franchise kept the name when it moved to Indianapolis in 1984.

INDIANS   See Cleveland Indians

INDIRECT SNAP   a play in which the ball is handed to the quarterback rather than thrown directly to the ballcarrier by the center as in a direct snap play. So named because the quarterback acts as an intermediary in relaying the ball to the ballcarrier. Also used to refer to formations that use such a snap, as most modern formations do. Indirect snap formations exploded in popularity after World War II.

INDIVIDUAL DEFNSIVE PLAYER  (fantasy football term) Rather than a team defense approach, some leagues decide to have starters for defensive linemen (DL), linebackers (LB) and defensive backs (DB). The number of starters and scoring systems for these positions varies widely.

INELIGIBELE RECEIVER DOWNFIELD (5 yards) - an ineligible receiver is past the line of scrimmage prior to a forward pass. Ineligible receivers must wait until the pass has been thrown and travels past the line of scrimmage to move past the line of scrimmage. This penalty is not imposed if the receiver is behind the line of scrimmage when he receives the pass. This exception has been added to accommodate the screen pass, where a receiver (most often a back, but sometimes a tight end or wide receiver) catches a ball behind the line of scrimmage behind a "screen" of offensive linemen.

Referee signal: One palm touching the top of the head with the elbow out to the side


1 a : an ethereal fluid held to flow from the stars and to affect the actions of humans b : an emanation of occult power held to derive from stars

2 : an emanation of spiritual or moral force

3 :


a : the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command
b : corrupt interference with authority for personal gain


4 : the power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways : SWAY

5 : one that exerts influence

INJURED RESERVE - A roster spot used to keep an injured player "reserved" from the rest of the league. Typically, a player on injured reserve is on a team's roster but not allowed to be placed in the starting lineup.  In the NFL, if a player is placed on IR (injured reserve), he is no longer allowed to see game action for the rest of the season.

basicall, it means that the player's injury is severe enough that they don't anticipate him being able to play that year. If he becomes healthy during the season, he still cannot come back until the following season. It's a risk, but by placing them on IR, a team opens up a roster spot for someone else.

INJURY REPORT - NFL teams are required to provide injury reports on a daily basis. These reports list player injuries and status for the upcoming game. Injury reports are useful to fantasy team owners when determining who to start and who to cut loose.  The reports are somewhat general in nature designating injured players as either "probable" (75% chance of playing), "questionable" (50% chance of playing), "doubtful" (25% chance of playing) or "out" (no chance of playing).  NFL teams often use this report strategically and fudge in which category to place injured players to affect how opponents prepare for an upcoming game.  However, once a player is designated as officially  "out," he can't see any action in the upcoming game.


1. of a player's path: relatively close (in reference to the sides of the field) to where the ball was snapped from. Thus, a ballcarrier's path in crossing the neutral zone may be said to be "inside" of an opponent, or an "inside run" in general, and a rushing defensive player may be said to put on an "inside move" or "inside rush".

2. of the movement of the ball between players: directed toward a player who cuts between a player in the backfield who throws or hands the ball and the place from which it was snapped. Thus, an "inside pass" or "inside handoff". An "inside reverse" (sometimes called a scissors play) is a reverse play via an inside handoff.

INSIDE 20 PUNT   According to the NFL, "Credit a player with an inside-20 when his punt is not returned to the receivers' 20-yard line or beyond. Also credit an inside-20 when a punt does not penetrate the 20, but the returner carries the ball back inside the 20 and his return ends there. A touchback is not an inside-20.

INSIDE 20 PERCENTAGE   Inside-20 punts divided by Net Punts.

INSTANT REPLAY  In the NFL, a number of rulings (but typically not penalties) can be reviewed by officials or challenged by coaches. If a coach wants to challenge a play, he must do so before the next play begins, and he does so by throwing a red flag similar to the officials' yellow flags. Coaches are allowed two challenges per game and may be granted a third if their first two are successful. The team loses a timeout if they lose the challenge. Plays inside the two-minute-warning cannot be challenged; any review of that play must be initiated by a replay official off-field. The referee performs the actual review via a video screen on the sideline. The referee will announce the result of instant replay reviews over his wireless microphone.

The referee must see "indisputable visual evidence" for a call to be overturned. If the challenge fails, the original ruling stands and the challenging team is charged with a timeout. If the challenge overrules the previous call, the call is reversed with no loss of a timeout. Prior to the 2004 NFL season, the instant replay rule was slightly changed to allow a third challenge if both of the original two challenges were successful.

After the 2-minute warning of each half, and in overtime, reviews can only take place if the replay assistant, who sits in the press box and monitors the network broadcast of the game, determines that a play needs review. In those cases, the replay assistant will contact the referee by a specialized electronic pager with a vibrating alert.

One concern about replay that was addressed some years ago was the situation where a coach would seek a review of a non-challengable call (such as being forced out of bounds, or in some cases to challenge a runner down by contact). Prior to the rule being clarified, a team would lose the challenge and a time-out. The current rule does not penalize a team in such a case, provided the rule is not abused or taken advantage of.

The NFL replay system currently only covers the following situations:


         Scoring plays

Pass complete/incomplete/intercepted

Runner/receiver out of bounds

Recovery of a loose ball in or out of bounds

Touching of a forward pass, either by an ineligible receiver or a defensive player

Quarterback pass or fumble

         Illegal forward pass

         Forward or backward pass

  • Runner ruled not down by contact


  • Forward progress in regard to a first down

  • Touching of a kick
  • Other plays involving placement of the football 


The replay system replaced a system used during the 1986-87 and 1991-92 seasons where a procedure similar to college football's was used. This is still used in the NFL today. While there is some controversy over the appropriateness of some overturned calls, the system is generally accepted as an effective way to ensure a fair game.

In college, coaches are not allowed to request a replay review of a play. However, in Division I-A conferences, a replay official in the press box observes all plays. If he deems a ruling may be in error, he notifies the officials on the field to interrupt the game before the beginning of the next play. The replay official performs the review and relays the decision to the referee, who announces the result.

High school rules do not provide for video review of any decisions by officials during the game. Further, the use of television or video tape for coaching purposes during the game is prohibited. If a coach feels a rule has been misinterpreted, he may call timeout and request a coach-referee conference to discuss the ruling with the referee, but no replay equipment will be consulted during the conference.

INT An acronym for Interception -  usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports under
*PASSING STATISTICS -  Interceptions thrown
* DEFENSIVE MISC. STATISTICS - Passes intercepted

INT %  An acronym for Interception Percentage (Interceptions thrown divided by pass attempts) -  usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports

INTENTIONAL GROUNDING: The quarterback, while he is still in the area between the tackles, purposefully throwing the ball out of bounds or into the ground to avoid throwing a bad pass (which might be intercepted) or to avoid  taking a sack.

A forward pass is thrown intentionally away from eligible receivers so that the passer avoids being tackled for a loss

NFL penalty: 10 yards or spot of foul, whichever is farther from the original line of scrimmage, and loss of down. If the penalty occurs with less than a minute left in the 1st or 2nd half, a 10-second penalty is also enforced. If it occurs with 10 seconds or less left, the half automatically ends. The 10-second runoff does not apply if the penalized team uses any of the alloted time-outs in lieu of the runoff. The defense, unfortunately, is not credited for a QB sack on intentional grounding penalties.

College penalty: Spot of foul and loss of down; defense awarded a quarterback sack in some leagues. 

In both NFL and college, intentional grounding from the offensive team's own end zone constitutes an automatic safety unless the defense chooses to decline the penalty, which might only ever happen if the infraction had occurred on a fourth-down play. If the quarterback has moved outside of the area between his offensive tackles (the "pocket"), there is no penalty for grounding the ball if the quarterback throws the ball past the line of scrimmage.

There is also no penalty for "spiking" the ball to stop the game clock, by throwing it directly into the ground.
However, such an action must be executed immediately after the snap of the ball, before the quarterback demonstrates intent to make a forward pass.
Or if the quarterback was outside the tackle box at the time of the pass.

Referee signal: both hands held out flat, facing each other, in front of the referee, moving down together diagonally roughly from one shoulder to the opposite hip.

See Official Ruling

INTERCEPTION:   an interception occurs when a quarterback's pass is caught by a player on the opposing team. This leads to an immediate change of possession during the play: the defender who caught the ball immediately assumes the role of the offense and attempts to move the ball as far towards the opposing goal as possible. Following the stoppage of play, if the interceptor retained possession of the ball, their team takes over possession at the spot where the defender was downed.

Interceptions are predominantly made by the secondary or the linebackers, who are usually closest to the quarterback's intended targets: the wide receivers. However, it is not uncommon for a defensive lineman to get the occasional interception from a tipped ball or a near sack.

Also Known As: pick offpick

There is offensive interference, when blockers run in front of a running back,
and defensive interference (or defensive pass interference), Illegally hampering a player's opportunity to catch a pass. When a pass defender interferes with a receiver trying to catch the ball while the defender could not catch the ball himself (intercept). For example, a defender with his back to the ball who sees the receiver he's covering readying to catch the ball and then waves his arms in front of the receiver to distract him is interfering with the pass. Defense interference is an infraction of the rules.


IntYd  An acronym for Interception Return Yards -  usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports

IR  acronym for Injured Reserve

IRON BOWL   The Iron Bowl is the name given to the annual intercollegiate football game between the teams of Auburn University and the University of Alabama. The deep-seated football rivalry between Alabama and Auburn has historically spilled over into the politics and society of the state of Alabama. As is typical of such games, it is usually scheduled to be the final regular-season game for each team and is always played in late November.

IRON MAN OF NFL  Nickname given to Brett Favre for his legendary toughness and ability to come back from and play through many injuries.

IRSAY, JIM   Jim Irsay (also known as Jimmy Irsay) is the owner of the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League.

See More on Jim Irsay Here

IRSAY, ROBERT   (born March 5, 1923 in Chicago, Illinois died January 18, 1997 in Indianapolis, Indiana), was the longtime owner of the National Football League's Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts franchise. He died at age 73 of heart and kidney failure.

While previously the owner of the-then Los Angeles Rams, Irsay essentially traded franchises with Carroll Rosenbloom, the-then owner of the Colts in 1972.

See More on Robert Irsay Here

ISO-LEFT  See I-formation


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JACKSON, VINCENT  See Jackson Vincent here


The Jacksonville Jaguars American football club is a National Football League team based in Jacksonville, Florida. The Jaguars, along with the Carolina Panthers, joined the NFL as 1995 expansion teams.

Year founded: 1995

City: Jacksonville, Florida

Head Coach: Jack Del Rio

Uniform colors: Teal, Black, and Gold

Helmet design: A snarling jaguar head on solid black, with black facemask, white chinstrap and gold number on the back.

Home fields

ALLTEL Stadium (1995-present)
a.k.a. Jacksonville Municipal Stadium (1995-1996)

Team history

Jacksonville Jaguars (1995–present)

 Jacksonville held a contest in 1991, two years before the city was awarded the NFL's 30th franchise. Jaguars claimed the majority of votes, besting a group that included Sharks, Stingrays and (ironically) Panthers.

 JAGS     See Jacksonville Jaguars

JAGUARS   See Jacksonville Jaguars


 The reason it's called a jailbreak is because the offensive line releases automatically downfield to block.

This play is best used in 2nd or 3rd and long situations where you expect a pass rush from the defensive line and a softer zone or Cover-2 defense. The ace-formation spreads out the defense to set up the play. The quarterback takes the snap and looks straight upfield as to not tip off the play to the defense. Meanwhile, the guards release downfield to pick up their blocks. The receiver makes a very quick fake upfield, then comes back towards the quarterback to make the catch. Once the receiver has the ball, he should look to find the left guard and go around his block and head upfield.

Also See Screen Pass


JAMES E. SULLIVAN AWARD  The AAU James E. Sullivan Award is awarded annually by the Amateur Athletic Union to the outstanding amateur athlete in the United States. It was first awarded in 1930, making it older than the Heisman Trophy. The award is named for the AAU's founder and past president, James E. Sullivan.

JAX   See Jacksonville Jaguars

JAW PADS   - Many players mistake these as ear pads, but the purpose of these pads are to provide cushioning between the helmet and the jaw area. These pads are attached directly to the helmet.

JEROME BETTIS  See Bettis, Jerome

JERRY RICE:   Jerry Lee Rice (born October 13, 1962 in Starkville, Mississippi) is a former American football wide receiver in the NFL, widely regarded as the best receiver to ever play the game, and arguably the greatest football player ever. He captured three Super Bowl rings as a wideout for the San Francisco 49ers, and also played for the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks. He made the Denver Broncos roster in the summer of 2005, but he hung up his shoes shortly before the season began.

He is the holder of 38 NFL records, a record in itself. Rice has scored the most touchdowns in NFL history(207), and holds virtually every significant career record for receivers, including receptions (1,549), yards receiving (22,895), all-purpose yards (23,540), touchdown receptions (197) and consecutive games with at least one catch (274). In most cases, the next most prolific player isn't close; for example, he's 67 receiving touchdowns ahead of second place Cris Carter, who is also retired. He is the only one of the top 25 scorers in NFL history who didn't kick the football. Rice also gained 645 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns, an extremely large amount for a wide receiver.

His postseason stats are equally high. Rice played in 28 postseason games, amassing 2,245 receiving yards and 22 touchdowns, both NFL records, along with 44 rushing yards. He also holds Super Bowl records for most career receptions(33), career receiving yards(589), career touchdown receptions(8), single game receptions(11), single game receiving yards(215), single game touchdown receptions(3, a feat he accomplished twice), career total points(48), single game points(18) and career total yards(604)

JIM IRSAY   See Irsay, Jim

JIM THORPE  See Thorpe, Jim

JIM THORPE AWARD   The Jim Thorpe Award, named in memory of multi-sport legend Jim Thorpe, has been awarded to the top defensive back in college football since 1986. It is voted on by the Jim Thorpe Association.

JOHN McNALLY   See McNally, John

JOHNNY UNITIS   See Unitis, Johnny

JOHNNY UNITIS GOLDEN ARM AWARD  The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award is given annually in the United States to the nation's outstanding senior quarterback in college football. It was established in 1987 by a foundation named for Johnny Unitas (1933-2002), the Hall of Fame quarterback who played his college career at the University of Louisville, and set many records in the National Football League, mostly for the Baltimore Colts.

JOSEPH CARR   See Carr, Joseph

JUMBLE FORMATION:  an offensive package which includes two tight ends, a full back and a half back. Similar to heavy jumbo, in which either the half back or the fullback is replaced by another tight end. Often one or more of the "tight ends" is actually a linebacker (The New England Patriots use Mike Vrabel this way - he has 6 career regular season TDs) or offensive lineman. In the NFL, such a player must report in as an eligible receiver because a linemen or linebacker would not generally wear an eligible number.

See I Formation 

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KANSAS CITY BLUES  Kansas City, Missouri had a National Football League team prior to the Chiefs that operated under two different names: The Blues in 1924 and the Cowboys from 1925-1926.

Pro Football Hall of Famers

Joe Guyon
Steve Owen 


The Kansas City Chiefs American football club is a National Football League team based in Kansas City, Missouri.

Originally called the Dallas Texans, the club was founded in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League. The team moved to Kansas City and became the Chiefs in 1963 after then-Kansas City mayor H. Roe Bartle guaranteed to the team that they would have increased ticket sales. The Chiefs then joined the NFL as part of the AFL-NFL Merger.

The Chiefs hold the distinction of being the second AFL team (after the New York Jets) to defeat an NFL club in an AFL-NFL World Championship Game when they defeated the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV.

Kansas City, Missouri had a National Football League team prior to the Chiefs that operated under two different names: The Blues in 1924 and the Cowboys from 1925-1926.

City: Kansas City, Missouri

Current Head coach: Herm Edwards

Helmet design: Red helmet with white arrowhead bearing initials K.C.

Home fields
Cotton Bowl (1960-1962)
Municipal Stadium (Kansas City) (1963-1971)
Arrowhead Stadium (1972-present)

Dallas Texans (1960-1962)
Kansas City Chiefs (1963–present) 

Also see Kansas City Blues

This original AFL franchise was originally the Dallas Texans but relocated to Kansas City. Owner Lamar Hunt picked Chiefs as a nickname to honor Kansas City mayor Roe "The Chief" Bartle for his efforts in securing the team. Bartle promised to enlarge Kansas City's Municipal Stadium and guaranteed Hunt three times as many season ticket sales as his club had in Dallas.

KANSAS CITY COWBOYS  See Kansas City Blues

KARDIAC KIDS   The 1980 Cleveland Browns, who had a penchant for having games decided in the final moments.

KENOSHA  MAROONS    The Kenosha Maroons were a football team from Kenosha Wisconsin, The Maroons played in the National Football League only in 1924. They were very probably a transplantation of the Toledo franchise which played in 1922 and 1923. The Maroons immediately folded after posting no wins in five games.

KEN STABLER RULE  Enacted in 1979 - on fourth down or any down in the final two-minutes of play, if a player fumbles, only the fumbling player can recover and/or advance the ball..

KEY: Watching a player to try and see the direction in which he is going to be moving. A player may make small movements such as foot placement, etc., that can give away his next move to an observant player who is keying him.

KICK:  This term is used to refer to a placekicker's attempt to kick a field goal, extra point, or kickoff. Also refers to the act of kicking by either the placekicker of punter. 

KICKER:  See place kicker

KICKING GAME: The game strategy revolving around punting and place-kicking.

KICKOFF: The kicking team (determined by the winner of the coin toss) kicks the ball from the free kick line (the 35-yard line in pro football, the 40-yard line in high school and college). This is the kickoff, the start of the game.

When a player kicks a ball from a tee at his own 30-yard line (35 in college) to the opposing team, whose player tries to advance it the other way; used to start the game, the second half and overtime, and to restart play after each score.

The ball is placed on a tee (or held) at the kicking team's 30 yard line (35 yard line in college and high school). The kicking team's players line up on the field parallel to and behind this line and may not cross it until the ball is kicked. A valid kickoff must travel at least 10 yards (though the ball is usually kicked as far as possible--40 to 70 yards), after which any player (though usually one on the receiving team) tries to catch or pick up the ball and advance it down the field before being downed. Occasionally, the kicking team may set up a kick with the intent to recover it; this onside kick is a play where the kicker tries to kick the ball just over the required 10-yard distance in a manner such that a teammate might catch it after a lucky bounce.

* Onside kick
* Squib kick
* Kickoff out-of-bounds

KICKOFF OUT OF BOUNDS   If a kickoff travels over the sidelines either in the air, or bounces in the field of play, then rolls out-of-bounds without being touched by a player on the receiving team, the play results in an illegal procedure penalty. The receiving team may either choose to have the ball re-kicked, or be placed for play 30 yards in advance of the kickoff spot or where the ball went over the sideline, whichever is closer to the opposing team's endzone. Generally, the receiving team will choose the latter option, as good starting field position is guaranteed, whereas a re-kick could result in any number of less desirable options

KICKS FROM SCRIMMAGE   See Official Ruling

KICK RETURNER   See Returner

KILLER BEES   See The Killer Bees

KNEEL DOWN   a low risk play in which the quarterback kneels down after receiving the snap, ending the play.

A quarterback kneel, also called "taking a knee", occurs when the quarterback immediately kneels to the ground after receiving the snap. It is primarily used to run the clock down, either at the end of the first half or the game itself, in order to preserve a lead or a win. Although it generally results in a loss of a yard and a down, it minimizes the risk of a fumble, which would give the other team a chance to score.

KNEE PADS  Knee Pads and Thigh Pads protect the quadricep muscles and knees respectively. These pads, along with the girdle, are secured by the football pants The pants are tight to keep the pads and girdle in place.


Occurs when a defender knocks the opposing team's quarterback to the turf following a running or passing play. Not considered a sack because the quarterback has relinquished possession of the ball by the time the defender hits him.

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L   1. acronym for Line Judge (an Official)
      2. acronym for Linebacker
      3. abbreviation for long (found in STAT reports)

LAMAR HUNT   See Hunt, Lamar


LAMAR HUNT TROPHY    The AFC Championship Game is an American football game played every year to determine the champion of the American Football Conference (AFC) of the National Football League (NFL). The winner receives the Lamar Hunt Trophy and advances to face the winner of the NFC Championship Game in the Super Bowl.

It began in 1970 after the merger between the NFL and the American Football League. The AFC was formed by joining the 10 former AFL teams with 3 NFL teams: the then-Baltimore Colts, the Cleveland Browns, and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

LAME DUCK - A franchise that isn't functioning or whose owner hasn't been adequately managing the team by changing starting lineups to keep play competitive.  Generally, it involves a team that has been doing badly or an owner that has lost interest.  Many leagues have provisions for taking-over inactive franchises.

LATERAL PASS  usually called simply a lateral, but officially called a "backward pass" in American football, and also called an "onside pass" in Canadian football

a sideways or rearward throwing of the football to a teammate. The pass cannot itself advance the ball, though of course the receiver can advance after catching it. This is distinguished from a forward pass, which moves the ball closer to the goal line. The rules allow forward passes to be thrown only from behind the line of scrimmage.

There are virtually no restrictions on the use of laterals. Any number of laterals may be thrown in a given play. Any player may throw a lateral from any position on the field to any other player. (But if the lateral is thrown from beyond the line of scrimmage and it advances the ball, it is considered an illegal forward pass.) If the lateral is complete and the receiver is behind the line of scrimmage, the receiver may in turn throw a forward pass. If the defensive team takes possession of the ball, they may also freely throw laterals, but not forward passes.

Unlike a forward pass, if a lateral hits the ground or an official, play continues because the lateral is considered a fumble. The ball may be recovered by either side. In NFL rules a backward pass other than the snap, if muffed by a receiver before it first touches the ground, after it touches the ground the ball becomes dead if an opponent recovers it.

See Official Ruling

LB  acronym for Linebacker

LESTER HAYES RULE Enacted in 1981 - no Stickum allowed.


Stickum is a trademark adhesive of Mueller Sports Medicine, of Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin, USA. It is available in powder and aerosol spray forms. According to the company website, the spray form is "excellent for bat handles and vaulting poles." Many vendors also promote the product for weightlifting and various other athletic applications.



LEFT TACKLE:  There are two tackles, one outside each guard, whose job is to block the onrushing defensive line and open up holes for a runner.

The Left Tackle would be the one on the left of the Quarterbak on the line

The left tackle is usually the team's best pass blocker. Most often he will protect the quarterback's blindside (if the quarterback is right-handed) on passing plays and usually will have better footwork and agility than the Right Tackle in order to counter-act the pass rush of defensive ends.

LG   1. acronym fro Left Guard
        2. An acronym for Longest -  usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports

LINEBACKER: (LB) (more specifically, OLB, MLB, LOLB, ROLB) Defensive players placed behind the defensive linemen. The linebackers are a team's second line of defense.

Linebackers play behind the defensive line and perform various duties depending on the situation, including rushing the passer, covering receivers, and defending against the run. Most defensive sets have between two and four linebackers. Linebackers are usually divided into three types: strongside (Left- or Right- Outside Linebacker: LOLB or ROLB); middle (MLB); and weakside (LOLB or ROLB). The strongside linebacker (nicknamed "Sam") usually lines up across from the offense's tight end; he is usually the strongest LB because he must be able to shed lead blockers quickly enough to tackle the running back. The middle linebacker ("Mike" or "Mack") must correctly identify the offense's formations and what adjustments the entire defense must make, all in the fleeting seconds before the offense starts play (by snapping the ball to the quarterback). Because of this, the middle linebacker is nicknamed the 'quarterback of the defense'. The weakside linebacker ("Will") is usually the most athletic or fastest linebacker, because he usually must defend an open field.

Jersey Numbers: 50 - 59

YOU KNOW THEYRE DOING THEIR JOB WHEN: The ball advances no more than four yards from where it started. Then theyre doing their job&ldots; but theyre still doing it pretty crappy. The closer to the line of scrimmage, the better theyre doing.

YOU KNOW THEYRE NOT WHEN: The further away from the line of scrimmage the ball goes, the more theyre sucking.

LINE JUDGE:   (L or LJ)  The official who lines up on the opposite side of the field from the head linesman. His duties include:


Assist the head linesman on in making illegal motion, illegal shifts, offside and encroachment calls
Assist the umpire with illegal use of the hands and holding calls
Assist the referee on false start calls
Make sure the quarterback does not cross the line of scrimmage before throwing the ball
Watch for offensive lineman going downfield too early on punts
Supervise the timing of the game
Supervise substitutions by the team on his side of the field


Click Here to see where The Line Judge is Positioned on the Field

 Responsibilities and positioning of each game official.

Referee     Umpire     Head Linesman     Line Judge     Field Judge     Side Judge     Back Judge

LINEMEN:  Linemen are the frontline players of the offense or defense of any play during the game.

There are two types of linemen: offensive linemen and defensive linemen. The offensive linemen comprise of the offensive line, while the defensive linemen comprise of the defensive line. 

A linemen can be a tackle, guard, or center on offense,

or a tackle or end on defense.

A diagram of the linemen, with defensive linemen (in 4-3 formation) in red
offensive linemen in blue.

(see offensive linemen and defensive linemen).

Lineman protect and block for the backs. On running plays, the linemen block defensive players out of the way of the ball carrier. This is called run blocking. When the quarterback throws a pass, the linemen remain stationary and allow the defense to come to them. This is referred to as pass blocking. Linemen are not allowed to touch the ball except for the center and the split ends.

LINEMAN GLOVES  These are special gloves which protect the lineman's knuckles during contact, especially when they're hands become pinched between two helmets or between shoulder pads

Players are not permitted to put any type of gel or "stick 'ems" on their gloves. 

LINE OF SCRIMMAGE: Before each play, a set of two imaginary lines are used to determine where the players will line up. These are the lines of scrimmage, and pass through each tip of the ball, running parallel to the goal lines.

An imaginary line which no player may cross before the snap; each team has its own line of scrimmage, separated by the neutral zone.
The line of scrimmage is determined by the points of the football with the width of the football representing the neutral zone.

 It is the line from which the next play will begin.

When the players of both teams line up to begin the next play, no member of either team may, prior to the snap of the ball, cross the line of scrimmage. This region around the line of scrimmage is also known as the neutral zone. In order for there to be a legal beginning of a play, a certain number of the players on the offensive team, including certain eligible receivers, must be at, on or within a few inches of the line of scrimmage.

Sportvision provides a product called 1st & Ten which allows broadcasts of American football to include a visible yellow line which may represent the line of scrimmage or the minimum distance that the ball must be moved for the offensive team to achieve a first down.

The yellow line that a TV viewer sees during a live broadcast of a football game. It goes the width of the football field and indicates where the first down marker is located. The purpose of the line is to make it easier for television viewers to follow play on the field. There is also often a second line (usually blue or red in color) that is used to identify the line of scrimmage. The 1st & Ten line is made available by a private company called Sportvision and was developed in 1998.

LINE UP   See Starter

LIONS   See Detroit Lions    or   Brooklyn Lions

LIVE BALL: Opposite of a ball that is dead. A live ball is either loose as a result of a kick, fumble, or pass, or is held by a player.

LJ  acronym for Line Judge (an Official)

LNG An acronym for Longest  -  usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports for
* PASSING STATISTICS - Longest pass play
* RECEIVING STATISTICS - Longest reception
* RETURN STATISTICS - Longest return
* DEFENSIVE MISC. STATISTICS - Longest interception return

LOMBARDI, VINCENT  Vincent Thomas Lombardi (June 11, 1913 - September 3, 1970) was one of the most successful coaches in the history of American football. He was the driving force of the Green Bay Packers from 1959 to 1968, helping the team capture five NFL championships during his 10-year tenure. Following a one-year retirement, he returned to coach the Washington Redskins during the 1969 season. He owns a 9-1 record in the postseason; his 90% postseason winning percentage is the highest in NFL history.

LONG SNAPPER:    refers to a player who is a specialized center during punts, field goals, and extra point attempts. His job is to snap the ball as quickly and accurately as possible. During field goals and point after tries, the snap is received by the holder. During punt plays the snap is delivered to the punter.

A "bad snap" is a snap which causes the delay of a kick or the failure of a play. It is usually because of an inaccurate snap.

The long snapper still performs the normal tasks of a center and also runs downfield after the ball has been punted to help defend the punt return.

 Most teams employ a specialist long snapper instead of requiring the normal center to perform this duty.

LOOSE BALL:  a ball that is not in possession of either team, such as after a fumble or a kickoff; it can be recovered by either team.

LOS ANGELES RAMS  (1946-1994)  Currently St. Louis Rams

In 1946, Rams' owner Dan Reeves, fed up with poor attendance at Cleveland Stadium and competing against the Cleveland Browns (then members of the All-America Football Conference), the Rams became the first NFL team based on the West Coast. (There had been a team called the Los Angeles Buccaneers in 1926, but they played their schedule on the road only.) Reeves inked a deal with the city to lease the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and the team played there from 1946 to 1979.

Reeves died in 1971, and through a complicated arrangement with the Baltimore Colts that brought Bob Irsay in as Colts' owner, Carroll Rosenbloom, who had been the Colts' owner, took over the Rams.

Rosenbloom had long been bothered by the Coliseum Commission's apparent foot dragging on building luxury boxes at the Coliseum, which he saw as essential to future success. He broke off negotiations with the Commission and started to negotiate to play at Dodger Stadium, but Los Angeles Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley did not want a football team playing at Chavez Ravine. Rosenbloom was petitioned by Orange County Supervisor Ralph Clark, the founder of the Los Angeles Rams Booster Club, to move the team to Anaheim Stadium, the home of the California Angels. Clark convinced Angels owner Gene Autry to okay the remodeling of Anaheim Stadium to accommodate the Rams, expanding capacity to 68,000 and putting in seating appropriate to football. In 1980, the Rams moved to Anaheim from Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES BUCCANEERS   Los Angeles Buccaneers were a road-only team in the National Football League during their one season 1926. That means they never actually played a home game in Los Angeles, but rather were operated out of Chicago and stocked with players from Californian colleges.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS  See San Diaego Chargers

LOS ANGELES RAIDERS    Prior to the 1980 season, Al Davis attempted unsuccessfully to have improvements made to Oakland Coliseum, specifically the addition of luxury boxes. That year, he signed a Memorandum of Agreement to move the Oakland Raiders from Oakland to Los Angeles. The move, which required three-fourths approval by league owners, was defeated 22-0 (with five owners abstaining). When Davis tried to move the team anyway, he was blocked by an injunction. In response, the Raiders not only became an active partner in an antitrust lawsuit filed by the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (who had recently lost the Los Angeles Rams), but filed an antitrust lawsuit of their own. After the first case was declared a mistrial, in May 1982 a second jury found in favor of Davis and the Los Angeles Coliseum, clearing the way for the move. With the ruling, the Raiders finally relocated to Los Angeles for the 1982 season to play their home games at the Los Angeles Coliseum as Los Angeles Raiders.

In the summer of 1988, rumors of a Raiders return to Oakland intensified when a preseason game against the Houston Oilers was scheduled at Oakland Coliseum. Negotiations between Davis and Oakland commenced in January 1989, and on March 11, 1991, Davis announced his intention to bring the Raiders back to Oakland. By September 1991, however, numerous delays had prevented the completion of the deal between Davis and Oakland. On September 11, Davis announced a new deal to stay in Los Angeles, leading many fans in Oakland to burn Raiders paraphernalia in disgust.

On June 23, 1995, Davis signed a letter of intent to move the Raiders back to Oakland. The move was approved by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors the following month, as well as by the NFL. The move was greeted with much fanfare under new head coach Mike White.

LOSS OF DOWN (No Yardage)  Due to a certain penalty imposed which can result in losing the down the penalty occured.

See Down

Example: it is 2nd down 5 yards to go for a first down and Intentional grounding was called - 10 Yard penalty is imposed and loss of down resulting in 3rd down and 15 yards for a first down

See Official Rulings

LOU GROZA RULE   Enacted in 1956 -  no artificial medium to assist in the execution of a kick.


Louisville, Kentucky had two professional American football teams in the National Football League: the Brecks from 1921 to 1923 and the Colonels in 1926.

The Louisville Brecks went out of business during the 1923 season after their home park burned down. The Brecks are the last team from the four currently extant major professional sports leagues of North America to play its home games in Kentucky, although the Kentucky Colonels played in the American Basketball Association until its merger with the National Basketball Association in 1976.

The Louisville Colonels were created in 1926 to fill the schedules of the expanded NFL, but they were a road-only team that operated out of Chicago.


LST An acronym for Fumbles lost  -  usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports

LT  acronym for Left Tackle

L YDS abbreviation for lost yards (found in STAT records)


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MAN IN MOTION:  A single player on the offense who is permitted to move prior to the snap; he may only run parallel to the line of scrimmage or away from it. He then runs downfield just as the ball is snapped.

a player on offense who is moving backwards or parallel to the line of scrimmage just before the snap. In American football, only one offensive player can be in motion at a time, cannot be moving toward the line of scrimmage at the snap, and may not be a player who is on the line of scrimmage. In Canadian football, more than one back can be in motion, and may move in any direction as long as they are behind the line of scrimmage at the snap.

MANNING AWARD  The Manning Award has been presented annually since 2004 to the collegiate American football quarterback adjudged by the Sugar Bowl Committee to be the best in the United States; the awarded is named in honor of Archie Manning and his sons Peyton and Eli, each an All-America selection during his college career.

The award is the youngest of the three awards presented to college football quarterbacks—the Davey O'Brien Award was first given in 1981, whilst the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, for which only seniors are eligible, dates to 1987—and is one of the only of the major college football awards not to be presented prior to the contesting of bowl games; it is thus the only award presented in the calendar year subsequent to that of the season for which it is earned.


MAN TO MAN DEFENSE: Covering each member of the offense with a member of the defense. Also called player-to-player defense. See zone defense also.

MARINO, DAN   See Marino here

MARK GASTINEAU RULE  Unsportsmanlike conduct will also by called for any prolonged, excessive, or premeditated celebration by individual players or a group of players. This is usually referred to as the "Mark Gastineau Rule" because a major reason why this change was made was to stop him from performing his signature "Sack Dance" everytime after he sacked an opposing quarterback.

MARKS BROTHERS  The prolific Miami Dolphins wide receiver duo of Mark Clayton and Mark Duper who played with quarterback Dan Marino in the 1980's.

MAROONS   See   Toledo Maroons   or   Kenosha Maroons


MARYLAND  Similar to the I-formation, except three running backs line up directly behind the quarterback instead of two. This formation almost always uses two tight ends and is used primarily as a running formation.

MAXWELL AWARD  The Maxwell Award is presented annually to the collegiate American football player adjudged by a panel of sportscasters, sportswriters, and National Collegiate Athletic Association head coaches and the membership of the Maxwell Football Club to be the best in the United States. The award is named for Robert W. Maxwell, a college football player, coach and sportswriter.

McNALLY, JOHN    John Victor McNally (born November 27, 1903 at New Richmond, Wisconsin; died November 28, 1985) was an American football player, inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Johnny Blood (as he came to be known) was an integral example for players of every position. He was incredibly intelligent as a young man and graduated high school at 14, but was fairly unathletic for most of his youth. However, in his days at St. John College he became not only the captain of the basketball team, but a letterman in track, baseball, and of course football, all in his junior year.

Career highlights

Johnny got his first professional position with the '25-'26 Milwaukee Badgers, where he became famous as the "Vagabond Halfback." His off-the-field behavior and spontenaiety probably attracted more attention than his unlikely skill. He was 6'1" and 188 bs. in his prime; tall, slender, and vicious. He was ridiculously fast and agile, had excellent pass catching ability, and passed, punted, and tackled with the best of them.

Between 1929 and 1936 he played with the Green Bay Packers, who with him on the field won four championships. He amassed a total of 14 seasons with 5 different teams. In 1937 He was moved to the Pittsburgh Steelers (then the Pirates) where his first play he returned a 92 yard kick for a touchdown, in what is probably the most stunning debut a player has ever had for any team. He ended his career in 1939 as the coach of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

John McNally died November 28, 1985 at the ripe old age of 82. 
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.

MEASUING   See Official Ruling

MEL RENFRO RULE  Enacted in 1978 -  allows a "double touch" by the offense.


The Miami Dolphins American football club is a National Football League team based in Miami, Florida. The Dolphins began play in the American Football League as a 1966 expansion team, and joined the NFL as part of the AFL-NFL Merger.

In 1972, the Dolphins completed the NFL's only perfect season to date, winning every regular season game, two playoff games and Super Bowl VII. The team also won Super Bowl VIII and has appeared in 3 other Super Bowls.

For most of their history, the Dolphins were coached by Don Shula, the winningest head coach in professional football history. His Dolphins teams posted losing records in only 2 of his 26 seasons with the club. In 1972 the Dolphins became the first and only NFL team to complete a 14-game regular season (and the entire postseason) without a loss. Five future Hall of Fame members played for Miami during the 1970s, including running back Larry Csonka and quarterback Bob Griese. During the 1980s and 1990s quarterback Dan Marino became the most prolific passer in NFL history, breaking numerous league passing records. He led the Dolphins to numerous playoff appearances and Super Bowl XIX.

City: Miami, Florida

Head Coach: Nick Saban 

Team Colors: Aqua Green, Coral Orange, Blue, and White

Uniform colors: Aqua Green and Orange (Dark Blue was added to the logo and uniforms as an accent color in the late 90's by then coach, Jimmy Johnson). The Dolphins primarily wear white jerseys at home, except for night contests when they dress in aqua jerseys. Since the 2003 season, the Dolphins have worn an alternate orange jersey once each season for nationally televised contests. They are 2-0 in games wearing the alternate jersey.

    Helmet design: A dolphin wearing a football helmet, jumping in front of an orange sunburst

Home fields

Miami Orange Bowl (1966-1986)
Dolphins Stadium (1987-present)
a.k.a. Joe Robbie Stadium (1987-1996)
a.k.a. Pro Player Park (1996)
a.k.a. Pro Player Stadium (1996-2005)

Team history

Miami Dolphins (1966–present)  

After Miami was awarded an AFL expansion franchise in 1965, a contest was held to determine the name. A dozen names were forwarded to a seven-member screening committee of local media and Dolphins was the runaway winner. Although 622 entrants submitted Dolphins, Mrs. Robert Swanson of Miami won the two lifetime passes to Dolphins games. The tiebreaker was picking the winner and score of a 1965 tilt between Notre Dame and the University of Miami. The game ended in a scoreless tie.

MIAMI SEAHAWKS   The Miami Seahawks, no relation to the Seattle Seahawks, were an original member of the All-America Football Conference, a league that formed in 1946 and merged into the NFL in 1950. The Seahawks went 3-11 in 1946. They were originally coached by Jack Meagher, who quit on October 22, after the Seahawks had won just one of their first six games. Hamp Pool, a former captain of the 1940 and 1941 Chicago Bears championship teams, then took over as head coach.

The team's schedule was quite difficult. Miami opened with three straight road games, had a single home game, and then played another four road games. After a 1-7-0 start, the team returned home to host their final six games (a difficult sell to the general public). Brooklyn, Cleveland, and San Francisco had completed their 14-game regular seasons before the Seahawks hosted their final two home games.

In 1947, the Seahawks moved north to Baltimore. The team would be re-named the Baltimore Colts via a fan contest, in honor of Maryland's rich history of racing and breeding horses.

MICHAEL IRVIN RULE    no taunting. ''Another rule, resulting in offensive pass interference, prohibiting WRs to push off CBs, is also often called "the Michael Irvin rule."

MIDDLE GUARD: The defensive lineman (defensive tackle) positioned between the tackles, opposite the offensive center. A middle guard is generally big and strong enough to take on double teams on a consistent basis.

Also Known As: nose guard,  nose tackle

MIDDLE SCREEN   See Screen Pass for Full Definition

MIDFIELD: the 50-yard line, which divides the length of the field in half.

MIKE   the middle linebacker.

MILWAUKEE BADGERS   The Milwaukee Badgers was an American football team based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that played in the National Football League from 1922 to 1926.

Hall of Famers

Jimmy Conzelman, Class of 1964
Johnny "Blood" McNally, Class of 1963 (inaugural member)
Fritz Pollard, Class of 2005

MINNEAPOLIS MARINES  The Minneapolis Marines were a football team that existed prior to the Minnesota Red Jackets and later the Minnesota Vikings. The Marines existed between the years of 1905-1924 and were owned locally by Minnesotans John Dunn and Val Ness. Composed primarily of working class teenagers, the Marines did not have an excellent record, however, they were initially triumphant before losing several players to other teams in their league. The Minneapolis Marines are of historical value to Minnesota, as they existed prior to the nationally known Minnesota Vikings. During the early 1920's, many professional football teams had come and gone, yet the Marines, owned locally by Dunn and Ness seemed to be virtually unknown to most football fans. The team mostly grew up in the area of the Cedar/Washington avenue which was located close to the Metrodome. Some of the first games were played at Camden Park, Parade Stadium, and Bottineau Field and were later played played at larger stadiums such as Niocollet and Lexington Park. The Marines initially won many of their games as they were participating in a semi-pro NFL league. Dunn was extremely happy with the Marines initial performance and he wanted to move his team to the higher ranks of football; the professional leagues. Dunn moved the Marines away from the teams they had already beaten and into a new stadium called Nicollet Park. Nicollet Park was the previous home of the Minneapolis Millers baseball team and was a lot bigger than what the Marines were used to. Dunn scheduled games against out of town teams and the Marines went on to have a huge winning streak of 34 games in a row. However, their first loss brought them down big time and it appeared their winning streak came to a halt after the Marines lost the 1910 Thanksgiving game against Minnesota's All Star Team.


The  American football club is a National Football League team based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Originally, the ownership group was to have a team in the American Football League, but withdrew from the AFL and agreed to join the NFL as a 1961 expansion team.

Also see Minneapolis Marines


The Vikings have won their division 16 times, and became the first team to appear in four Super Bowls. But the club also became the first one to lose 4 Super Bowls.

City: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Team Colors: Purple, Gold, and White

Head Coach: Brad Childress
 is named the seventh head coach in franchise history

Home fields:

Metropolitan Stadium (1961-1981)
Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome (1982-present)

Team history 

Minnesota Vikings (1961–present)  

General manager Bert Rose recommended Vikings to Minnesota's Board of Directors in 1960. The name represents both an aggressive person and the Nordic tradition inherent in the region. 

MO   the other middle linebacker in a 3-4 formation..

MOCK DRAFT  (fantasy football term)  'pretend' draft, usually conducted by fantasy football experts, designed as a drafting aid to indicate the value of players. Mock drafts give fantasy owners an idea of the likely draft position of individual players.

MONSTERS OF THE MIDWAY  Originally applied to the Chicago Bears of the early 1940s, but revived for the 1980s Bears and subsequent successful Bears defensive teams.

MORGAN ATHLETIC CLUB  The Morgan Athletic Club was started in 1898. It was the first name of what we now know to be the Arizona Cardinals.

Beginning as an amateur athletic club team in Chicago, Illinois named the Morgan Athletic Club, which was founded by Chicago painter/builder Chris O'Brien. They began to field a pro team even before the founding of the NFL.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER   The NFL Most Valuable Player Award is given by various entities, most notably the Associated Press, to the player who is considered most valuable in the league.

MOTION:  When an offensive player begins to move laterally behind the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped.

 An offense often tries to confuse the defense by sending a receiver or running back in motion.

Motion refers to the movement of an offensive player prior to the snap of the ball and while all other offensive players are in an unmoving, set stance.  Motion can only be parallel to or away from the line of scrimmage.  Motion by the offense changes the offensive formation and makes the defense adjust its coverage and formation.

MOUSETRAP: See trap block.

MOUTH PIECE  Protects mouth and teeth from crushing blows to the head, thus preventing a player from being knocked out from contact. These are simple half-moons of plastic with a strap on the end -- the strap hooks around the player's face mask so it isn't lost during play. Fitting a mouth guard is simple: You put it in warm water and allow the plastic to soften. Then the player puts the mouth guard in his mouth, leaving an imprint of his teeth and gums. As the plastic cools, the mold hardens. The result is a mouth guard specific to one player's mouth.


MUFF: The touching of a loose ball by a player in an unsuccessful attempt to obtain possession.

MULTIPLE OFFENSE: offense strategy using a number of formations.

MUNCIE FLYERS   The Muncie Flyers from Muncie, Indiana played in the National Football League (then called the American Professional Football Association) from 1920-1921.

MVP An acronym for Most Valuable Player.  An award given to the best player in a game or for the season.

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z


- N -

NATIONAL COLLEGIATE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION  (NCAA) The National Collegiate Athletic Association is a voluntary association of about 1,200 institutions, conferences, organizations and individuals that organizes the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States. Its headquarters are located in Indianapolis, Indiana, and it is currently under the leadership of president Myles Brand. The NCAA is the largest collegiate athletic organization in the world, and because of the great popularity of college sports among spectators in the United States, it is far more prominent than most national college sports bodies in other countries.

In August of 1973, the current three-division setup of Division I, Division II, and Division III was adopted by the NCAA membership in a special convention. Under NCAA rules, Division I and Division II schools can offer scholarships to athletes for playing a sport. Division III schools may not offer any athletic scholarships. Generally, larger schools compete in Division I and smaller schools in II and III. Division I football was further divided into I-A and I-AA in 1978. Subsequently the term "Division I-AAA" was added to delineate Division I schools which do not field a football program at all. In 2006, Divisions I-A and I-AA were respectively renamed the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).



The National Football League has introduced an upgraded logo shield that will be officially unveiled at the NFL Draft April 26-27. 2008. While it stays true to the original’s design, the shield is thinner; the font is more modern; and the number of stars has been reduced from 25 to 8, representing the eight NFL divisions. The football has also been modified to look more like the one on the Vince Lombardi trophy. And the blue color is slightly darker.

The National Football League (NFL) is the largest professional American football league, consisting of thirty-two teams from American cities and regions. The league was formed in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, which adopted the name "National Football League" in 1922. The NFL is one of the major professional sports leagues of North America.

Prior to the 1960s, the most popular version of American football was played collegiately. After the 1958 NFL Championship Game (which went into overtime), the NFL's greatest spurt in popularity came in the 1960s and 1970s with the merger of the rival American Football League, or AFL (1960-1969).

Currently, the league's 32 teams are divided into two conferences: the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC). Each conference is then further divided into four divisions consisting of four teams each.

During the league's regular season, each team plays 16 games over a 17-week period generally from September to December. At the end of each regular season, six teams from each conference play in the NFL playoffs, a 12-team single-elimination tournament that culminates with the NFL championship, the Super Bowl. This game is held at a pre-selected site which is usually a city that hosts an NFL team. One week later, selected all-star players from both the AFC and NFC meet in the Pro Bowl, currently held in Hawaii.

Some tend to refer to it as No Fun League

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE PLAYERS ASSOCIATION    or NFLPA,    is the labor union of players in football's National Football League. It was founded in 1956, but only achieved recognition and a collective bargaining agreement several years later.

NCCA  See National Collegiate Athletic Association

NECCASSARY LINE:  A line the offense must cross to get a new first down. When a team gets a first down, the new necessary line is exactly ten yards away


Protects the head from whiplash during contact.

This foam roll fits around the back part of the jersey's neckline, and is intended to protect the head from being pushed too far backward -- or to lessen the blow when the head is snapped backward.

NET AVG   An acronym for Net Punting Average -  usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports

NET KICKOFF AVERAGE   Kickoff Yards, minus Return Yards, minus 20 yards for every Touchback, divided by Kickoffs.

NET An acronym for Net Punting Average -  usually found in a Teams or Individual Players STAT Reports

Gross punting yards, minus Return Yards, minus 20 yards for every Touchback, divided by Total Punts

NET PUNTS   Punt attempts which were not blocked.

NET PUNTING AVERAGE  Gross Punting Yards, minus Return Yards, minus 20 yards for every Touchback, divided by Total Punts.

NEUTRAL ZONE:  the region that contains the ball as it sits on the ground before each play; the area between the two lines of scrimmage. The width of the neutral zone is defined by length of the football.

The neutral zone can be described as the length of the football from one tip to the other when it is spotted on the field prior to the start of the next play. No member of either team may be "inside" the neutral zone when the ball is snapped or a penalty will be called.

A new definition of the neutral zone came into effect after a September 12, 2005 fight between the Philadelphia Eagles' Jeremiah Trotter and the Atlanta Falcons' Kevin Mathis that occurred prior to the opening kickoff. The NFL then instituted a rule that each end of the field from the end zone to the 45-yard line is reserved for one team, and that no player other than a kicker may be between the 45-yard lines prior to the game.

Exception: The offensive player (Center) who snaps the ball.

NEVERS, ERNEST  Ernest Nevers (born June 11, 1903 in Willow River, Minnesota; died May 3, 1976) was an American football fullback who played for the Duluth Eskimos and the Chicago Cardinals of the National Football League.

Nevers attended Stanford University, where he was an All-American, and played in the 1925 Rose Bowl. Former coach Pop Warner called Nevers "the football player without a fault", and he was often compared to Jim Thorpe. Although Nevers excelled in several sports, including basketball and baseball (he gave up two home runs to Babe Ruth in his 60-homer season of 1927), he signed a contract with the Eskimos. The Eskimos were a unique team, as they had no actual home, and played all their games on the road. After two seasons for Duluth during which he played almost every minute on offense and defense, he did not play in the 1928 season. However, he returned to the NFL to play fullback and coach the Chicago Cardinals from 1929 to 1931. During one game in 1929, Nevers set a record that is unlikely to be broken anytime soon. Not only did Nevers score every touchdown (6), but he kicked four extra points, giving the Cardinals 40 points over the cross-town rival Chicago Bears. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.

NEWARK TORNADOS  See Orange Tornados

NEW ENGLAND PATHETICS   Nickname given to The New England Patriots as they were caught cheating in 2007.

Camera confiscated after claims of Pats spying on Jets

Outcome of investigation
Goodell determines Pats broke rules by taping Jets' signals

Also see Bill Belicheat


The New England Patriots American football club is a National Football League team based in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The club is the second team in NFL history, after the Dallas Cowboys, to win 3 Super Bowls in just 4 years.

Originally called the Boston Patriots, the team began play in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League and joined the NFL as part of the AFL-NFL Merger. The club was renamed "New England Patriots" in 1971 after moving from Harvard Stadium in Boston, Massachusetts to Foxboro Stadium in Foxborough.

City: Foxborough, Massachusetts

Head Coach: Bill Belichick

Team Colors: Blue, Red, Silver, and White

Helmet design: A man's face in silhouette, wearing a red-white-and-blue tricorn hat. The man's sideburns and stylized hat led to the nickname "Flying Elvis"

Other Nicknames:
Cheating Patriots
New England Pathetics

Camera confiscated after claims of Pats spying on Jets

Outcome of investigation
Goodell determines Pats broke rules by taping Jets' signals

A group of New England sportswriters picked Patriots as a tribute to Patriot Day, which celebrates Paul Revere's ride.

Home fields:

Nickerson Field (1960-1962)
Fenway Park (1963-1968)
Alumni Stadium (1969)
Harvard Stadium (1970)
Foxboro Stadium (1971-2001)
a.k.a. Schaefer Stadium (1971-1982)
a.k.a. Sullivan Stadium (1983-1989)

Gillette Stadium (2002-present)
a.k.a. Razor Stadium

Team history 

Boston Patriots (1960–70) 
New England Patriots (1971–present) 



City: New Orleans, Louisiana

Team Colors: Old Gold, Black, and White

Helmet design: Gold helmet with a black fleur-de-lis

Head Coach: Sean Payton

Home fields

Tulane Stadium (1967-1974)
Louisiana Superdome (1975-2004)

Alamodome (Half of the 2005 season)
LSU's Tiger Stadium (Half of the 2005 season)

   * To be determined due to damage by Hurricane Katrina (2006)

Due to damage caused by Hurricane Katrina to the New Orleans area, the team has set up headquarters and practice fields in San Antonio, Texas. The team's home games are currently being split between the Alamodome in San Antonio and Louisiana State University's Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. However, currently it is undetermined where the Saints will play in 2006 and beyond, although on Dec 30, 2005, the NFL and owner Tom Benson announce the team would return to Louisiana for the 2006 season. There are persistent rumors that the team might relocate permanently to San Antonio, or even Los Angeles.

Currently, the Saints are one of four teams, along with Seattle, Jacksonville and Houston never to have played in either a Super Bowl or any other NFL championship game. They are the oldest franchise with that dubious distinction.

Team history 

New Orleans Saints (1967–present)  

The New Orleans NFL franchise was awarded on All Saints Day (Nov. 1) in 1966. Plus, the song "When the Saints Go Marchin' In" in often associated with the city of New Orleans.



The New York Giants American football club is a National Football League team that originated in New York City, but is currently based in the suburb of East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants were one of five teams that joined the NFL in 1925 The Giants have won six NFL titles, including two Super Bowls.


Formerly known as: The New York Football Giants 
(still the legal name of the corporate entity which owns the team)

The Giants were founded in 1925 by original owner Tim Mara with an investment of $500 and became one of the first teams of the NFL. Mara owned the team until his death in 1959; it was passed to his son Wellington.

Year founded: 1925

City: East Rutherford, New Jersey

Team Colors: Royal Blue, Red, Gray, and White

Uniform colors: Royal blue with red trim

    Helmet design: Royal blue, with a white lower-case "ny" logo

Head Coach: Tom Coughlin

Home field: Giants Stadium (1976-present)

Unofficial Nickname(s): Big Blue, G-Men

Team history 

New York Giants (1925–present)  

In 1925, Tim Mara purchased New York's first professional football team for a reported $500. Mara decided on Giants because his team would play at the Polo Grounds, the home of baseball's New York Giants.
The original Giants derived their name from the city's giant buildings.


The New York Jets American football club is a National Football League team based in the New York City area. The team plays its home games in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and is headquartered and trains in Hempstead, New York on Long Island.

Originally called the New York Titans, the team began play in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League. The club was renamed the "Jets" after Sonny Werblin bought the team in 1963. The Jets then joined the NFL as part of the AFL-NFL Merger.

The Jets hold the distinction of being the first AFL team to defeat an NFL club in an AFL-NFL World Championship Game when they defeated the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.

City: East Rutherford, New Jersey

Head Coach : Eric Mangini

Team Colors: Green and White

Uniform colors: Green and White

Helmet design: A green oval, with the letters "NY" superimposed, and superimposed over that, the word "JETS" and a football

Home fields:

Polo Grounds (19601963)
Shea Stadium (19641983)

Giants Stadium
a.k.a "The Meadowlands"

Team history 

New York Titans (1960-1962)
New York Jets (1963–present)  

New York's AFL squad was originally the Titans. In 1963, after three seasons, a five-man syndicate bought the franchise. On the same day they hired Weeb Ewbank, the owners announced that they were changing the team's name to Jets. It sounded like New York's baseball Mets and LaGuardia Airport was nearby.

NEW YORK SACK EXCHANGE  The New York Jets defense of the early 1980s, lead by defensive ends Mark Gastineau and Joe Klecko.

NEW YORK TITANS  The New York Jets were originally known as the New York Titans, the team played home games at the Polo Grounds. But they had trouble attracting crowds despite fielding respectable teams that finished .500 (7–7) during their first two seasons. After a 5–9 season in 1962, the team's future was in doubt. It was saved from bankruptcy by a group headed by MCA head Sonny Werblin and Leon Hess, who bought the team from Harry Wismer on March 13, 1964. Hess eventually bought out his partners, and retained sole ownership until his death. His estate then sold the team to Johnson & Johnson heir Robert Wood Johnson IV in 2000.

After Werblin and Hess took over, the team was renamed the New York Jets as they planned to relocate from the Polo Grounds to Shea Stadium, home of the New York Mets, one year later. Shea Stadium lies so close to LaGuardia Airport that the sound of jets roaring overhead was a common sound heard during games played there. (The Jets thus became the second sports-related entity to use the "-ets" formulation. They were followed by the New York Nets basketball team, the New York Sets, World TeamTennis' first franchise in the market, and "New York Bets" used as a nickname for New York State's Off-Track Betting operation.) The colors of the team were also changed from blue and gold to kelly green and white, which also were the colors of Hess' gasoline stations.

Exactly one month after the sale of the team, the Jets hired Weeb Ewbank as head coach. Ewbank had won back-to-back NFL championships in 1958 and 1959 with the Baltimore Colts, and was one of the most respected coaches in the game.


NEW YORK YANKS     The New York Yanks American football team started in the National Football League in 1949 after Boston Yanks owner Ted Collins requested the league to fold his

Boston team and give him a new one in New York City. Collins' new team began operations as the New York Bulldogs and played at the Polo Grounds.

In 1950, they changed their name to the New York Yanks and moved to Yankee Stadium. The team also benefited by receiving many top players from the New York Yankees after the All-America Football Conference folded.

The Yanks finished the 1950 NFL season with a winning record, however the team collapsed back to a single victory in 1951.

The franchise was reported to have been 'sold back' to the league following the 1951 season, but it is more likely the franchise was revoked by the league and canceled by the NFL. A group in Texas bought the rights to the franchise, whereupon the team was resurrected as the Dallas Texans for 1952. For the 1953 season, what remained of the Dallas Texans organization was awarded to the city of Baltimore to form the Baltimore Colts.

NEW YORK YANKEES   Not to be confused with the New York Yanks that played in the 1950s.

The New York Yankees were a professional American football team from 1926 to 1928. They played their home games at Yankee Stadium. The team featured Red Grange at running back.

The team arose as a result of a contract dispute between Grange and his previous team, the National Football League's Chicago Bears. When in 1926 the Bears refused to agree to new terms for Grange's services, his agent, C. C. "Cash and Carry" Pyle, formed the new team as part of a new league, the American Football League (AFL). While the Yankees had moderate success, the other eight teams failed, and the AFL lasted just one season. In 1927 the Yankees were admitted to the NFL.

New York Yankees
Pro Football Hall of Famers

Morris Badgro
Ray Flaherty 
Harold "Red" Grange 
Mike Michalske 



The National Football Conference is one of the two conferences of the National Football League. The Conference was created for the 1970 NFL season, the first season after the consummation of the AFL-NFL Merger. The NFC had 13 teams that year, all of which played in the NFL before the merger. Since then, 3 expansion teams have joined the conference (those three being the Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - both 1976, and the Carolina Panthers in 1995), thus making the current total 16.


These 16 teams are organized into four divisions (North, South, East, and West) of four teams each. Each team plays the other teams in their division twice (home & away) during the regular season in addition to 10 other games/teams assigned to their schedule by the NFL in the April before. 2 of these games are assigned on the basis of the teams' final record in the previous season. The remaining 8 games are split between the roster of two other NFL divisions. This assignment shifts each year. For instance, in the 2005 regular season, each team in the NFC East will play a game apiece against each team in both the AFC West and the NFC West. In this way division competition consists of common opponents, with the exception of the 2 games assigned on the strength of the each team's prior season record.

At the end of each football season, a series of playoff games involving the top six teams in the NFC are played, consisting of the four division champions by place standing and the top two remaining non division champion teams ("wildcards") by record. The two teams remaining play in the NFC Championship game with the winner receiving the George Halas Trophy. The NFC Champion plays the AFC Champion in the Super Bowl.

Last updated 2005

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME      The NFC Championship Game is an American football game played every year to determine the champion of the National Football Conference (NFC) of the National Football League (NFL). The winner receives the George Halas Trophy and advances to face the winner of the AFC Championship Game in the Super Bowl.

It began in 1970 after the merger between the NFL and the American Football League. The NFC was formed with most of the teams that played in the NFL before the merger.

Playoff Structure

For more details on this topic, see NFL playoffs.

At the end of each football season, a series of playoff games involving the top six teams in the NFC are conducted, consisting of the four division champions and two wild card teams. The two teams remaining play in the NFC Championship game.

NFC EAST   The NFC East refers to the Eastern Division of the National Football Conference of the National Football League. It currently has four members: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, and Washington Redskins.

When the division was created after the AFL-NFL Merger in 1970, the division also included the St. Louis Cardinals. Despite relocating to Arizona in 1988, the Cardinals continued to belong to the NFC East until the 2002 re-alignment when they were put into the NFC West. Although the St. Louis Rams are geographically farther east than Dallas, the Cowboys remained in the NFC East and the Rams stayed in the NFC West due to long-standing rivalries: The Cowboys with the three other teams in the East, and the Rams with the San Francisco 49ers in the West.

NFC NORTH   The NFC North refers to the Northern Division of the National Football Conference of the National Football League that was created in 2002 when the league realigned divisions after expanding to 32 teams. It replaced the NFC Central. The division is known as the "Black and Blue Division" for the intense rivalries and physical play.

The NFC North currently has four members: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, and Minnesota Vikings. Thus the division contains the same alignment as the original NFC Central that was created after the AFL-NFL Merger in 1970, and which originally acquired the "Black and Blue" monicker.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers became the fifth member of the NFC Central in 1977 after they spent their first year in the league as a member of the AFC West, but they were moved to the NFC South after the 2002 re-alignment. With the departure of Tampa Bay, the division is also sometimes facetiously called the "Frozen North", although two of its four teams, Detroit and Minnesota, have played their home games indoors for at least two decades.

NFC SOUTH   The NFC South refers to the Southern Division of the National Football Conference of the National Football League that was created in 2002 when the league realigned divisions after expanding to 32 teams.

The NFC South currently has four members: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Prior to the 2002 realignment, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers belonged to the NFC Central while the other three teams were part of the NFC West.

NFC WEST   The NFC West refers to the Western Division of the National Football Conference of the National Football League. It currently has four members: Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams, San Francisco 49ers, and Seattle Seahawks.

When the division was created after the AFL-NFL Merger in 1970, the division had the following four teams: Atlanta Falcons, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, and San Francisco 49ers. When the Seattle Seahawks began play in 1976, they spent their first year in this division before moving to the AFC West the following year. In 1995, the new Carolina Panthers team was put into the NFC West. And even though the Rams moved to St. Louis that same year, they remained in this division.

The 2002 re-alignment changed the entire look of the NFC West. The Falcons, Panthers, and Saints moved out into the NFC South, while the Cardinals and Seahawks moved in.

NFL  See National Football League

NFL CHAMPIONSHIP:  the game held from 1933 through 1965 to decide the champion of professional football; renamed the Super Bowl in 1966.

NFL EUROPA  NFL Europa was an American football league which operated in Europe from 1991 until 2007. Backed by the National Football League (NFL), the largest professional American football league in the United States, it was founded as the World League of American Football (WLAF) to serve as a type of spring league. In 1995, when the league was revamped after a two-year hiatus, the league was renamed the World League. In 1997, the league rebranded itself as the NFL European League or NFL Europe. After the 2006 season, the league's name changed again, this time to NFL Europa.

At the time of its disbanding, there were six teams in the league: five based in Germany and one in the Netherlands. Players in NFL Europa were predominantly assigned by National Football League teams who wanted these younger, "developmental" players to get additional game experience and coaching. The expenses of these players and their coaches while living in Europe were assumed by the league.

On June 29, 2007, the NFL announced NFL Europa would immediately cease operations.

NFL PLAYOFFS  The National Football League (NFL) playoffs is a single-elimination tournament held at the end of the 16-game regular season to determine the NFL champion. Throughout the years, the format has changed to include more teams into the tournament. Currently, the NFL playoffs consist of 12 teams (6 from each of the league's two conferences) and ends with the Super Bowl, the league's championship game.

Current playoff system
Last updated 2005

The tournament brackets are made up of six teams from each of the league's two conferences, the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC):

    * The four division champions from each conference (the team in each division with the best regular season won-lost-tied record), which are seeded 1 through 4 based on their regular season won-lost-tied record.

    * Two wild card qualifiers (those non-division champions with the conference's best won-lost-tied percentages), which are seeded 5 and 6.

The 3 and the 6 seeded teams, and the 4 and the 5 seeds, face each other during the first round of the playoffs, dubbed the Wild Card Round. The 1 and the 2 seeds from each conference receive a bye in the first round, which entitles these teams to automatically advance to the second round, the Divisional Playoff games, to face the Wild Card survivors. In any given playoff round, the highest surviving seed always plays the lowest surviving seed . And in any given playoff game, whoever has the higher seed gets the home field advantage (i.e. the game is held at the higher seed's home field).

The two surviving teams from the Divisional Playoff games meet in Conference Championship games, with the winners of those contests going on to face one another in the Super Bowl.

If teams are tied (having the same regular season won-lost-tied record), the playoff seeding is determined by a set of tiebreaking rules. [1]

 A major disadvantage that critics cite in the current system is that a divisional winner could host a playoff game against a wild card team that earned a better regular season record. For example, the Tennessee Titans finished the 2003 regular season with a 12-4 record, but only qualified as a wild card team and thus had to face the Baltimore Ravens, the AFC North division champions with a 10-6 record, in Baltimore, Maryland.

See Playoffs


NFLPA   An acronym for National Football League Players Association

NICKEL BACK:   An extra defensive back who is used mostly in obvious passing situations.

 A defensive back is referred to as a nickel back when he is the fifth defensive back on the field.

a cornerback who serves as the fifth defensive back on defense. Like a dimeback, nickelbacks are backup corners (as opposed to the #1 and #2 corners, who are considered starters). Nickelback is usually played by a slightly better cornerback than dimeback and the player must be better at run defense, as the nickel formation is mainly used as a compromise between run and pass defense formations.

NICKEL DEFENSE:  when a defense brings in a 5th defensive back to replace a linebacker on the field, increasing its pass coverage.

The alignment features four downed linemen, two linebackers, and five defensive backs. 

Teams usually switch to a nickel defense when the opposition's offense is in obvious passing situations.

NICKEL FORMATION   See Nickle Defense

NIGERIAN NIGHTMARE  Nickname given to Christian Okoye of the Kansas City Chiefs due to his large size, powerful running style and Nigerian roots.

NINERS  Nickname for San Francisco 49ers

No.  abbreviation for number


The no-huddle offense is a tactic in American football designed to minimize clock usage and/or to keep defense's off-guard.

The offense has a series of plays called in a single huddle, from the sideline, or at the line of scrimmage, and run those plays consecutively without going into a huddle. This keeps the defense from calling different plays to counter the situation. It also hampers the defense's ability to switch players in and out as the offense controls the play.

The no-huddle offense is most often used at the end of a half either the first half (for momentum) or the end of the game (to possibly win the game).

Commentators and fans sometimes use the term "no-huddle offense" to describe a hurry-up offense (also known as a two-minute drill), a formation or series of formations and plays scripted in practice and designed to score from any point on the field in under two minutes. However, the no-huddle is sometimes used by teams to take the advantage away from the defense at any point in the game. If a team is trailing in the fourth quarter, they may opt for a hurry-up offense with more than two minutes remaining, and in Super Bowl XXXIX the Philadelphia Eagles were criticized for not doing exactly this when 24-14 down with just under six minutes remaining, almost four of which were used up in the touchdown drive.

Some teams like to use it to try to gain momentum in the middle of the game if their offense is struggling. Other teams, like the Indianapolis Colts under Peyton Manning and the Buffalo Bills under Jim Kelly's K-Gun offense, sometimes go almost the whole game without ever getting in a real huddle.

NO NAME DEFENSE   The 1970s Miami Dolphins defensive team, especially that of its undefeated 1972 season, which performed excellently despite a lack of recognizable stars. They earned their nickname the previous year when Dallas coach Tom Landry said in an interview prior to Super Bowl VI that he could not remember the names of the Miami defensive players.

NOSE GUARD:   The defensive tackle who lines up opposite the offensive center.

Also Known As: nose tackle, middle guard

A nose guard is generally big and strong enough to take on double teams on a consistent basis.

NOSE TACKLE:  (NT) The defensive player who lines up directly across from the center.

The primary responsibilities of the nose tackle are to stop the run and to occupy the offensive lineman to keep them from blocking the linebackers.

Why they have the term as a "TACKLE" is beyond me, it turns out they hardly ever tackle anything at allWhat they do do is line up directly opposite the center, and at the snap they run headlong into his chest. Then they push and shove with the Offense's center for about 25 seconds, by which time a bunch of other people heve done important things that will have ramifications on the game's progress

Unlike the offensive line, where the middle five guys are pretty much set, you wont always see the nose tackle on the line, so dont get freaked out if you dont always see him out there. The nose tackle is pretty much an obsolete position in modern defense. Nowadays, you're much more likely to see four guys up there on the front line, with the defensive tackles pulling double duty.

YOU KNOW HES DOING HIS JOB WHEN: The quarterback hands the ball to a runner who heads smack towards the center of the line and then either veers off, bounces off, or gets swallowed up entirely at the line of scrimmage for no yardage.

YOU KNOW HES NOT WHEN: The quarterback hands the ball to a runner who heads smack towards the center of the line and keeps going, like a gerbil coated in Crisco. Just remember to make sure the nose tackle is on the field before you blame him.

Also known as Nose Gaurd

NT   acronym for Nose Tackle

NUMBERING SYSTEM: The system used by the NFL to number players' uniforms according to their position. Works as follows:

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z

- O -



The Oakland Raiders American football club is a National Football League team based in Oakland, California. Legally, the club is a limited partnership operated by Al Davis, who serves as President of the team's general partner, A.D. Football, Inc.

The Raiders began play in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League and joined the NFL as part of the AFL-NFL Merger. The team has won one AFL title and three Super Bowls.

In 1982, Davis moved the team from Oakland to Los Angeles, California and the club became known as the Los Angeles Raiders, but they moved back in 1995.


City: Oakland, California

Head Coach: Art Shell

Uniform colors:
1960-1962: Black, Gold and White
1963-Present: Silver and Black

Helmet design: Silver with a black shield with crossed swords and image of a Raider.

Home fields

Kezar Stadium (1960)
Candlestick Park (1961)
Frank Youell Field (1962-1965)
Oakland Coliseum (1966-1981)
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (1982-1994)
McAfee Coliseum (1995-present)
a.k.a. Oakland Coliseum (1995-1998)
a.k.a. Network Associates Coliseum (1999-2004)

 Team history 

Oakland Raiders (1960–1981; 1995-present) 
Los Angeles Raiders (1982–1994)
Oakland Raiders (1995–present)  

In 1960, Oakland held a contest to pick a name for its AFL team. The fans chose Senors, but Oakland management opted for Raiders.

ODDS: The returns on money bet on a game, based on the likely outcome of the game as determined by an Oddsmaker (see below).

ODDSMAKER: One who establishes the odds for sports betting.

OFFENDING TEAM:   The team that committed a foul. After commiting a foul, penalty yardage is marked off against the offending team.

OFFENSE: The team that has possession of the football; the offense attempts to run or pass the ball across the defense's goal line.

The main goal of an offense is to pass or run the football into the opposing team's goal for a touchdown. The offense plays against the other team's defense.

The tactical goal of any offense in football is to score points. The offense wants to score touchdowns and if they can’t do that then they want to kick a field goal. To move the ball down the field into scoring position the offense can either run the ball or pass the ball. More often than not a combination of running and passing that works best.

The offensive team or offense is the team that begins a play from scrimmage in possession of the ball. A play usually begins with the quarterback taking a snap from the center, and then either handing off to a back, passing to a receiver or a back, or running the ball himself. The object of the offensive team is to put scores for their team. Usually the sign that their goal is accomplished for the offensive team is the Touchdown.

The offensive unit in American football consists of a quarterback, linemen, backs, and receivers. The function of most of the linemen is to block. The offensive line consists of a center, two guards, two tackles and one or two tight ends. Backs include running backs (or tailbacks) who frequently carry the ball, and a fullback, who usually blocks, and occasionally carries the ball or receives a pass. The primary function of the wide receivers is to catch passes.

The ultimate makeup of the offense and how it operates is governed by the head coach or offensive coordinator's offensive philosophy.


On offense, there are three type of players: linemen, backs, and receivers. The players' abilities combined with the coach's philosophy will determine what formations a team will run their plays out of. Also, in many cases a coach will choose players with abilities that complement certain offensive formations and plays he likes. The basic offensive positions and those players' duties, however, generally do not vary from team to team.

The position name (as well as the initial abbreviations recognized by coaches, players, and fans alike, shown in quotes below) may vary from one team's playbook to another, but these are the ones most commonly used:



Running Backs



OFFENSIVE BACKFIELD   The offensive backfield consists of the players who line up behind the offensive line. This is usually the quarterback and 2 running backs, though there can be as little as 0 and as many as 3 running backs. In the NFL, the quarterback will have a number between 1 and 19, and the running backs will have numbers between 20 and 49.

The quarterback starts play by receiving the ball from the center. On a running play, he can hand the ball off to one of his running backs (or occasionally, run the ball himself). On passing plays, he can throw the ball to a wide receiver, a tight end, or a running back. Offensive lineman are ineligible to catch the ball unless they report as eligible to the officials before the play.

Running Backs are usually divided into Halfbacks and Fullbacks. The names are an anachronism from the days when the most common formation was the I-formation. In the I-formation, the Quarterback, Halfback, and Fullback all line up in a line, with the Half back twice as far back as the Quarterback, and the Fullback twice as far back as the Halfback. Today, they are more easily divided by their role in the offense. The halfback is the one who runs most often, while the fullback is usually used as a lead blocker. Of course, the fullback may run the ball occasionally as well. On passing plays, the running backs may either have a route to run, which means they are one of the eligible receivers on the play, or they may be kept back to help the offensive lineman block.

See also Offensive Linemen

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR  ttypically refers to the coach on a football team in the National Football League (or at others levels of American football) who is in charge of the offense. This position aids the head coach by designing and scripting plays, delegating work to offensive position coaches during practices and games, thereby allowing the head coach to focus on overall play and more important issues during games and practice sessions. In the NFL an offense coordinator usually has several assistant coaches working under him: a quarterbacks coach, a running backs coach, a receivers coach, a tight ends coach, an offensive line coach, and a quality control coach. At lower levels an offensive coordinator may also coach some of these positions, or an assistant coach might be responsible for more than one position. Many offensive coordinators in the NFL call the offensive plays during games, but some head coaches prefer to assume that duty themselves. This often depends on whether the head coach comes from an offensive or defensive background.

Similarly, there is the defensive coordinator who is in charge of the defense.

OFFENSIVE FORMATION   The offense almost always sets up first before a play. An offensive formation consists of seven men on the line of scrimmage, with five of those being the offensive line, consisting of the left and right tackle, left and right guard, and a center. The other two players are usually either wide receivers, tight ends, or a combination of both. The other four players always consist of a quarterback and then any combination of running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends. These four players can line up anywhere behind the line of scrimmage. However, the quarterback is virtually always behind the center, either directly behind him to receive the snap "under center" or behind him about five yards if in the shotgun formation. The other players can also go in motion lateral to the line of scrimmage, however only one player can be in motion at a time. The difference in the types of formations are the number of running backs and where they line up. However there are different variations of each formation dependent on the number of wide receivers and tight ends used.

Here is a list of various offensive formations with the number of each position:


or Single back formation
Empty Formation
Goal Line Formation
I formation
Maryland I
Power I
Pro formation
Single Wing
Spread Formation
T formation
Trips formation
Two TE Formation


OFFENSIVE GUARD (OG) - the two guards are the offensive linemen directly on either side of the center and inside the tackles. Like all interior linemen, their function is to block on both running and passing plays. On some plays, rather than blocking straight ahead, a guard will "pull" in order to block a player on either side of the center, in an inside running play called a "trap" or an outside running play called a "sweep".

Note that the description above applies only to a line that is balanced, i.e. that has equal numbers of players on both sides of the player who is to snap the ball. In an unbalanced line, there may be players designated "guard" next to each other.

See Guard

OFFENSIVE HOLDING: Illegal use of the hands when blocking a defensive player.

A foul in which an offensive player keeps a defender from advancing by grasping him with his hands or arms. Offensive linemen are allowed to use their hands as long as they keep them to the inside of a defenders body, but if they get to the outside of the defender's body, it is a penalty.

Offensive holding results in a 10-yard penalty against the offending team.

OFFENSIVE LINE: The five offensive players that line up on the line of scrimmage and block for the quarterback and ball carriers.

Every offensive line consists of a center, two offensive guards, and two offensive tackles.

 From left to right they are the left tackle, the left guard, the center, the right guard, and the right tackle. In the NFL, the offensive linemen are the only offensive players allowed to have numbers between 50 and 79. On passing plays, the offensive lineman's job is to prevent defensive players from tackling the quarterback (pass blocking). On running plays, the offensive lineman's job is to make holes in the defense that a running back can run through (run blocking). The center also has to initiate the play by snapping the ball to the quarterback

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Seven players, made up of the center, two guards, two ends, and two tackles.

OFFENSIVE PASS INTERFERANCE:  A penalty in which an offensive player significantly hinders a defensive player's opportunity to intercept a forward pass or pushes off of the defender to give himself an advantage.

Referee signal: two arms in front of the body with palms out and fingers up, moved in a pushing motion out.

Offensive pass interference results in a 10-yard penalty on the offending team.

OFFENSIVE PHILOSOPHY  The approach to offense in American and Canadian football has splintered and evolved in the 100 years in which the modern form of the sport has existed. Many philosophies exist about deploying a team's 11 players, including:

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD   The NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award is given annually by the Associated Press to the offensive player of the National Football League believed to have had the most outstanding season.


Offensive nomenclature

In the calling of a play, just like on defense, there are condensed play calls that are translated into more complicated plays in the heads of each player. An example of a running play the quarterback would call in the huddle would be:

    Pro Left 35 Power

The first word denotes the formation of the offense; in this case it is the Pro Set, a one tight end, two wide receiver formation where the fullback and running back line up at equal depths in the backfield, one player to either side.

The second word indicates the strong side of the formation, generally the side featuring the tight end and flanker (a wide receiver lined up away from the line of scrimmage) in most formations. The split end receiver lines up on the opposite (weak) side, on the line of scrimmage. The tailback also lines up on the weakside. There are formations where there are exceptions like I-form, where the tailback is lined up neither left nor right, since the tailback is inline with the fullback and quarterback, or trips bunch, where all three receivers are on the same side.

The first digit in the number ('3' in the above example) denotes who the ball is going to:

    * 10 - Quarterback

    * 20 - Fullback

    * 30 - Tailback/Running Back

    * 40 - Third running back or slotback (rarely used in American football, generally used in Canadian football in wishbone formation if at all because of the 12th player available)

The second digit in the number ('5' in the above example) denotes where the ball carrier will pass thru the line (between two linemen, called the "hole"). The holes are even to the right of the center and odd to the left of the center. In this case,

The last word indicates the type of play. In this case ("power"), the fullback would be leading the running back through the hole.

The receivers have their own designations too:

    * X - Split End

    * Y - Tight End / Slot Receiver

    * Z - Wide Out

Here is a diagram of how the formation would look based on the play called:

Were this to be the Base I formation, with the tight end on the right, then there would be a 6 hole, which would be outside the tight end. As it is, this play would be a run between the tackle and the tight end.

Passing uses a different type of naming. Since it is not always certain who the ball is going to, each receiver has a route. An example is:

I Y-Motion 245 H-Swing

Again, the I is the formation, and there is no formation modifier word this time. However, there is the "Y-Motion" call (this is an arbitrary name, there are different ways of calling motion for every coach.). In this case it refers to the Y-receiver, and calls for him to motion across the formation to the other side moments before the snap is called. This time the digits correspond to 3 different receivers, and each digit represents a number on the passing tree. The first digit is the X receiver, the second is the Y receiver, and the last is the Z receiver.

0 - Quick hitch
1 - Quick out
2 - Slant
3 - Deep out
4 - Drag
5 - Corner
6 - Curl
7 - Wheel
8 - Post
9 - Fly

In this case, the split end is running a slant, the tight end is running a drag, and the wide out is running a corner. The H-Swing call is a route for the backfield, in this case a swing route for the halfback (tailback). This call is optional, the absence of which calls for the halfback to block.

In both running and passing plays, blocking schemes are tacit and rehearsed. Different types of plays call for different schemes and those differences can also be encoded in the play. For example, plays in the 200s might designate play action pass protection whereas the 300s might refer to a blocking scheme designed for long QB drops. Passing plays call for the linemen to step back and protect against the pass rush, with the backs and tight ends occasionally helping. There is variation to this, in the form of sprintouts, rollouts, play action passes and screen passes. Running plays call for the linemen to get a push against the defense, moving forward to help the running back gain yardage by opening holes and blocking would-be tacklers. Variations may be pulling guards (often used on trap, counter, and other plays to the outside) and draw plays.

Running plays

Often the choice of running play depends on the strengths of an offensive team, and the weaknesses of the defense they are opposing. For example, plays to the outside of the offensive tackles are often advantageous for a team fielding a fast running back, since it would ostensibly reduce the effectiveness of the slower defensive linemen, whereas inside runs would be favoured by a slower "power" running back, since the back is easier to tackle running to a side rather than straight ahead. Some plays also offer better cutback lanes to better allow an agile running back to make defenders miss and thereby increase yardage.

Similarly, run strategy can be decided by the weaknesses of the defense. A weakness of the interior defensive linemen, the tackles, may be targeted by running a lot of runs inside, since theoretically the offensive guards could moving the tackles at will, creating wide open holes for the back to run through. A team with weak defensive ends may have trouble containing the runner outside, and the offense would therefore look to get outside and break off some big runs.

* Bootleg
* Counter
* Counter Trey
* Draw
* Off Tackle
* Option
* Plunge/Dive
* Power
* Quarterback sneak
* Reverse
* Student Body Right
* Sweep
* Trap run
* Zone

Sometimes, a run play and pass play is mixed in play called "Flea-Flicker" which is a trick play, where the Quarterback hands the ball to the Running Back who pretends to run but stops immediately and under-arms the ball back to the Quarterback. Most of the times, when the ball is handed to the Running Backs, the Corner Backs (covering the receivers), think it as a running play and cease covering the receivers and return toward the line of scrimmage for run support. The Quarterback can then take advantage passing the ball to wide open receivers for long yardage. If successfully executed, this play often results in a touchdown.


* "Spiking" the football
* Downing a knee


There are several offensive strategies that have evolved over the years, especially after the NFL outlawed most downfield contact on receivers (that is, past the 5 yard "chuck" zone, where most contact is allowed). Thus, recent strategies attempt to utilize the passing game to open up the defense, as it is less predictable and carries the possibility for greater gain.

* The "West Coast" offense
* The "Air Coryell" Offense
* The Run & Shoot offense
* The "Power Football"

OFFENSIVE STRATEGY   The overall goal of offensive strategy is to manipulate the ball control toward the ends of scoring points and controlling the clock and the field of play. In order to do so, coaches and players choose to execute certain types of plays based on a variety of factors, which may include: the type of defensive strategy the opposing team is employing; the health and experience of the players on both the offensive and defensive teams; the amount of time remaining before halftime or the end of the game; and the number of points that either team would need to score in order to take the lead and win the game.



The team that has possession of the football is said to be on offense. Each team's "turn" on offense may also be referred to as a separate drive. On taking possession of the football, the team on offense has four tries (or "downs") to advance the ball and achieve one of the following outcomes:

* Move at least ten yards closer to the opposing team's end zone, thereby earning a first down and beginning a new series of downs - in other words, allowing at least four more chances to advance the ball further or attempt to score.

* Run the ball into the opposing team's end zone, or throw the ball to a player standing in the opposing team's end zone, thus scoring a touchdown (six points, plus an attempt to score a point after touchdown or two-point conversion)

* Move close enough to the opposing team's goal so that the team on offense can send in its kicking team and attempt to score a field goal (three points)

* If none of the above three happen after three downs, the team on offense will usually choose to punt - kick the ball away - on fourth down, rather than making a final attempt to gain a first down. (See Special teams strategy).

* The failure of the offensive team to achieve any of the above outcomes within the four downs allotted results in a turnover on downs, in which case the opposing team will take over possession of the football.



See also these terms which fall in an offensive strategy

Time management
Offensive players
Offensive formations
Offensive plays
Specific offensive strategies


OFFENSIVE TACKLE: (OT) There are two tackles, one outside each guard, whose job is to block the onrushing defensive line and open up holes for a runner.

A tackle is the strong position on the offensive line. They power their blocks with quick steps and maneuverability. The tackles are mostly in charge of the outside protection. If the tight end goes out for a pass, the tackle must cover everyone that his guard isnt, plus what the tight end isnt covering in case his man comes in to make pressure. Usually they defend against defensive ends.

The left tackle is usually the team's best pass blocker. Most often he will protect the quarterback's blindside (if the quarterback is right-handed) on passing plays and usually will have better footwork and agility than the Right Tackle in order to counter-act the pass rush of defensive ends.

The right tackle is usually the team's best run blocker. Most running plays are towards the strong side (the side with the Tight End) of the offensive line. Consequently the Right Tackle will face the defending team's best run stoppers. He must be able to gain traction in his blocks so that the running back can find a hole to run through.

Jersey Numbers: 60 - 79

The Left and Right Tackles

On the far side of the guards come the really big boys - the tackles. They're really big for two reasons. The first is that they're on the outside ends of the formation, and they need to make sure that nobody, but nobody does an end-run around the formation and loops back behind the line to drop the quarterback before he does whatever it is he's going to do with the ball.

The second is that he has to have the extra horsepower to blow a hole in the defensive line to create a running lane - a gap through which a guy can run the football through the enemy line.

You know they're doing their jobs when: If the QB is still standing at the end of a play, and the running backs find an inside path into enemy territory.

You know they aren't when: Three things - if the running back coming up the center can't make forward progress, if any of the other guys manage to bully through the center to the quarterback, or if somebody manages to slip around them and get to the QB from the sides.


OFFICIAL:  The men in the striped shirts who officiate the game. One who supervises the game and interprets the rules.

They are traditionally clad in a black-and-white striped shirt, white pants with a black belt, and black shoes. Thus, officials are often called zebras

The crew of officials consists of a

head linesman,

 line judge
back judge,
field judge,
side judge.

Click Here to see an Image Diagram
where The Officials are Positioned on the Field

Terminology associated with Officiating

Backward Pass
Bean Bag
Close Line Play
Dead Ball
Double Foul
Down Indicator
Fair Catch

Game Clock
Game Data Card and Pencil
Lateral Pass
Live Ball
Loose Ball
Neutral Zone
Penalty Marker or Flag
Play Clock

Pocket Area
Post-Possession Foul
Sudden Death
Unsportsmanlike Conduct


OFF SEASON: When the football teams don't play; February through the middle of August.  The period of the year after the final game is over and before training camp opens.

The NFL Draft, free agent signings, and mini-camps are all regular off-season events for the NFL.

OFFSIDE:   A penalty that occurs when any part of a defender's body is beyond his line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped.

any part of a player is in or past the neutral zone when the ball is snapped. Unlike offensive players, defensive players are not compelled to come to a set position before the snap, so if a defender jumps across the line but gets back to his side before the snap there is no penalty. In the case of an offsides penalty, play is not stopped, and the penalty is announced at the conclusion of the play. The offense can thus decline the penalty and take the yardage gained on the play - unlike in the case of a false start penalty against the offense, whereupon the play is immediately stopped by the officials.

 An offside infraction results in a five-yard penalty against the offending team.

Referee signal: both hands placed on hips, with elbows pointing outwards.

see Official Signal

OFF TACKLE: A running play designed to go to the strong side and take advantage of the hole supplied by the tackle, the tight end, and the full back.

When running off-tackle, a running back can take the ball either outside the tackle or around the tight end. The fullback's duty is to block the outside linebacker, giving the ball carrier room to run.

OILERS   See  Houston Oilers  or Tennessee Oilers

O J Simpson
O. J. Simpson   see Simpson

ON DOWNS:  the term used to describe a teams loss of possession if it fails to reach the necessary line on a fourth down play.

ONE BACK FORMATION    a formation where the offensive team has one running back in the backfield with the quarterback. Other eligible receivers are near the line of scrimmage.

ONEIDA FOOTBALL CLUB   The Oneida Foot Ball Club, founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 1861, was the first organised team to play any kind of football in the United States. Although it has been claimed by much later followers of both soccer and American football, neither code existed at the time and the rules under which the club played are unknown, and probably varied greatly from one game to another.

It was the first US team in any kind of football because it consisted of a regular roster of players, as opposed to the pick-up games commonly played at the time. The Oneida Foot Ball Club was undefeated for most of its seasons between 1862 and 1867, when it folded. It is believed to have had an influence on the "Boston Game", a code which was popular in the area until the 1870s, perhaps longer.

The team consisted of a group of Boston secondary school students from relatively elite public (state) schools in the area, such as Boston Latin School and the English High School of Boston.

The Oneida Foot Ball Club played many of its games on