Our football terms and definitions will help you understand and appreciate the game. Think of this an in-depth football dictionary.
This page serves as a quick-glance guide to quickly learn the meaning of each football term. But, if you want to go more in-depth, click on the link to learn more. At the linked pages, we go into greater detail and usually include a couple of videos for greater understanding.
3-4 defense — A 3-4 defense is one of the base defenses in football. This alignment consists of three linemen and four linebackers that make it easier to hide a blitz or drop back in coverage.
46 Defense — A 46 defense is a type of defense used by the Chicago Bears in the 1980s to stop the run and create a dominant pass rush. The goal of this defense is to attack the quarterback with overwhelming numbers. Six defensive players line up on the line of scrimmage.
Automatic First Down — It is an award given to the team on offense following certain infractions by the defensive team. Once issued, the officials will spot the ball after counting off the correct yardage, and the game continues.
Blocking — Blocking is a legal form of obstructing another player’s path in football. Blocking is executed by the team in possession of the football in an effort to create more opportunities for their team to get the ball down the field.
Clock Management — Clock management is how the coach and quarterback manage the time in a game especially at the end of each half. Well-orchestrated time management results in a scoring play for the offense. Ideally, it also leaves little time on the clock for the opposition to respond.
Drive – (Includes Famous Scoring Drives) — A drive in football is the amount of time and series of plays the offensive team uses until the other team regains possession of the ball. Frequently it is used in relationship to scoring drives – those series of plays that result in a score. That can mean a field goal or a touchdown.
End Zone Celebrations — Also known as touchdown celebrations, end zone celebrations are celebratory actions performed by a player and team after scoring a touchdown. Some celebrations are straightforward. Others are more clever and rehearsed before the game. Whether it is a pre-rehearsed dance or something simple like a powerful spike or giving the ball to a fan, end zone celebrations can be some of the most memorable moments of games.
Field Goal — The definition of a field goal in football is when a designated player, known as the field goal kicker, placekicks or dropkicks the ball between the goalposts’ two uprights. Field goals are worth three points and can be conducted from any spot on the field behind the line of scrimmage.
Fumble — A fumble occurs whenever a player loses possession of the ball after having clear possession of the ball. Once the ball is loose, both teams have the chance to recover it. A backward or sideways pass that isn’t completed is also considered to be a fumble.
Holding Penalty — Holding is an illegal off-the-ball foul of attempting to block an opponent. Holding is penalized, with the penalized team losing five or 10 yards from the line of scrimmage. If it is offensive holding, then the penalty is 10 yards. However, defensive holding is penalized five yards and an automatic first down. If the holding is called within 20 yards of the end zone, the infringement will be penalized by the deduction of half the distance to the goal.
Point After Touchdown (PAT) — PAT is an abbreviation of point after touchdown. Also referred to as an extra point, a PAT is a play where teams attempt a short field goal worth one point following a touchdown.
American Football Terms and Definitions
Punt — In American football, a punt is a form of kick executed on fourth downs during football games. The punt, and subsequent successful reception, transfer possession of the football to the other team. To perform a punt, a designated player receives the ball in the backfield. He drops the ball to his foot and kicks it without touching the ground to the other team.
Receiver — A receiver in football is an offensive player that attempts to makes himself available to receive a pass from the quarterback. Receivers typically are assigned these positions: wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs. Other positions must become eligible to receive a pass.
Sack — A sack in football is a play where the defense tackles the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage while the QB has possession of the ball.
Snap — A football snap is a backward pass, through the center’s legs, from the line of scrimmage that begins play. The snap is essential to get right because a smooth beginning is more likely to lead to a successful play conclusion.
Wildcat Formation — A wildcat formation is a type of offensive alignment that football teams use when the center directly snaps the ball to a non-traditional quarterback. The wildcat offense quarterback is typically a running back or fullback and sometimes a wide receiver or tight end.
You’re on our Football Terms and Definitions page.
You might also like: