Football for Dummies: Sound like a Pro

Obviously it’s possible to enjoy football without knowing much about the game itself (Hello tailgating!)

But just think of all the fun − and informed conversations − you can have if you actually understand what the heck is going on. Find enlightenment with this handy-dandy football jargon cheat sheet.
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Down: A period in which a play occurs. The offense gets four downs to advance the ball 10 yards.

Drive: A series of plays when the offense has the ball until it punts or scores and the other team gets possession of the ball.

End Zone: The 10-yard-long area at each end of the field. You score a touchdown when you enter the end zone in control of the football.

Extra point: The result of a kick that’s usually attempted after a touchdown; worth 1 point.

Field goal: A kick that’s usually attempted within 40 yards of the goalpost. The ball must soar above the crossbar and between the uprights of the goalpost to be considered good; worth 3 points.

Fumble: When a player loses possession of the ball while running or being tackled.

Holding (defensive): When a defensive player tackles or holds an offensive player other than the ball carrier; the penalty is 5 yards and an automatic first down.

Holding (offensive): When an offensive player uses their hands arms or other body parts to keep a defensive player from tackling the ball carrier; the penalty is 10 yards.

Incomplete pass: When a forward pass hits the ground before a player on either team gains possession or a pass that a receiver drops or catches out of bounds.

Line of scrimmage: An imaginary line (across the width of the field) that extends from where the ball is placed at the end of a play to both sides of the field. Neither offense nor defense can cross the line until the ball is in play again.

Offside: When any part of a player’s body is beyond the line of scrimmage or free kick line when the ball is in play; the penalty is 5 yards.

Personal foul: A foul that involves unnecessarily rough contact with another player; a 15-yard penalty.

Return: The act of receiving a kick or punt and running toward the opponent's goal line to score or gain significant yardage.

Sack: When the quarterback is tackled behind the line of scrimmage.

If these are too basic for you no problem. Impress your friends with your knowledge of the crazier-sounding football terms and where the names really came from.


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