The Need to Know: Football Lingo

Before Sunday comes and you decide to pay attention to more than the commercials or the Puppy Bowl directly after the Superbowl, some things need to be understood. FOOTBALL LINGO. Below is a list of terms that might be used during the game and what they mean.

SuperMan: Cam Newton

The Sheriff: Peyton Manning

Kick Off: When team kicks the ball away following a score or to begin a half.

Line of Scrimmage: Where the play begins. The line that crosses a football across the field.

Neutral Zone: The area between the line of scrimmage.

Offsides: When the defense moves and crosses the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped.

Flag: What referees throw to signal that a penalty has taken place.

False Start: When an offensive player moves before the snap. Results in a flag.

Pass Interference: When a defender or pass catcher uses undue contact to prevent a reception from occurring.

Pass Protection: The offensive’s ability to keep defenders away from the quarterback on a pass attempt. (Carolina’s O- Line is very good at keeping Newton protected)

Block: To prevent a defensive player from getting to the ball-carrier.

Scramble: When a quarterback moves around to avoid the pass rush.

Chains: Refers to the ten-yard marker used to determine if there was a first down.

Fumble: When a player loses control of the football and it is recovered by another player.

Pick: Term used for an interception.

Pick-Six: Term used to describe when a defender intercepts a pass and returns it for a touchdown.

Quarterback Sneak: When the quarterback unexpectedly runs the ball. (Cam Newton does this a lot)

Intentional Grounding: When a quarterback is in the pocket and intentionally throws the ball away or on the ground to avoid a pass rush. Results in a flag.

Three-and-Out: When an offense fails to get a first down and must punt on 4th down after just three offensive plays on a drive. (The Broncos defense will try to make this happen for the Panthers)

Special Teams: Refers to the group of players who play on kickoffs, punts, free kicks, and field goals.

Pooch Kick: A deliberately poorly-kicked ball, used to limit the return.

Squib Kick: A low-kicked ball on a kickoff used to limit the returning team’s ability to make a good return.

Punt: When a kicker drops the ball and kicks it before it hits the ground.

Fair Catch: When a punt returner decides by gesturing during a punt’s flight to simply catch the punt without advancing it. Usually done by taking a knee.

Red Zone: When an offense is 20 yards or closer to the end zone, they are considered to be in the “red zone.”


Football 101 photo courtesy of the NFL



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