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.
Get more Orange and Blue action on our Pinterest board and oh yeah…BEAT MIAMI!
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.