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Football A to Z

Artificial Turf (also called Astro Turf) – Synthetic surface, mainly used in domed stadiums or stadiums without natural sunlight.  Artificial turf has historically been known to cause more injuries than natural grass

Blitz – Play where linebackers and sometimes defensive backs vacate their regular position in order to rush the quarterback, hoping to sack or at least pressure the quarterback into making a mistake.

Bomb or long bomb - Deep pass thrown by quarterback.  It is close to a Hail Mary, except it doesn't necessarily get thrown in the end zone.  A 40 yard completion would be considered a bomb.

Bootleg - Offensive paly where quarterback fakes a handoff to the running back and runs inthe opposite direction

Chop Block – Penalty where a block is below the knees.  Often used by offensive lineman.  Result is a 15 yard penalty

Commissioner Service – Software used by websites to run a fantasy football league.  Prices can range from free (limited rule options) to $129.  Service will keep track of your league’s schedule, scoring, and draft.

Cover 2 – Defensive scheme where two deep defenders (usually safeties) are covering that deep part of the field.

Cover 3 – Along the lines of the Cover 2, a Cover 3 deploys three deep backs to cover the field in thirds

Delay of Game -  Not snapping the ball before the clock expires, calling a timeout when you don't have one or having twelve men on the field.  Penalty is five yards.

Draft Board – Rankings of players for purpose of drafting.  Many draft boards include all players, while some are broken down by position.  Unless otherwise stated, most draft boards are based on a scoring league.

End Around – Offensive play where quarterback hands the ball off to the wide receiver who then motions to the opposite side from where he lined up

Fair Catch – Kickoff/punt returner signaling by waving an arm overhead that he is going to catch the ball, the spot of which is where his offense will take over.  After a fair catch, and contact by the opposing team will result in a 15 yard penalty

Flea Flicker - Play where quarterback hands off to running back, who then tosses the ball back to the quarterback; th quarterback generally throws a deep pass.

Fourth Down – Last available down to get a first down.  If offensive is unsuccessful, opponent takes over at that field position

Hail Mary – Long pass thrown to end zone as time is running out, either in game or to end the first half.

Horse Collar Penalty – Personal foul where the defender grabs the back of an opponent’s collar or the back inside of his shoulder pads and yanks him down.  This results in a 15 yard penalty and can frequently come with a fine a this play puts the victim player at increased injury risk

Illegal Formation – Penalty where one team doesn’t have enough players at the line of scrimmage.  Teams must have seven men on the line.  Result is a five yard penalty

Intention Grounding – Penalty where the quarterback, facing pressure, throws the ball FROM THE POCKET, far from any open receivers.  Result is a 10 yard penalty and loss of down.  If Quarterback is in the end zone, result is a safety.

Offsides – Penalty when defender has any part of his body beyond his line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped.  An Offsides call results in a five yard penalty.

Pass Interference (Defensive) – An illegal interference with a receiver trying to catch a ball.  A Pass Interference call results in the ball being spotted where the penalty occurred.  If the pass interference occurs in the end zone, the ball is spotted at the 1 yard line.

Pass Interference (Offensive) – An illegal interference by the offensive player.  Result is a 10 yard penalty

PAT – Point after touchdown, also known as extra point

Pick – An interception

Pick Six – An interception (pick) run back for a touchdown (six points).

Play Action Pass – Play in which the quarterback fakes a hand-off to the running back, then drops back to pass

Pooch Kick – Kickoff or punt without full force.  Idea is to make the kick unreturnable

Possession Receiver – A wide receiver who generally runs routes across middle of field, catching high percentage passes in the 8-15 yard range.  Examples include Wes Welker (Patriots), Hines Ward (Steelers), and TJ Houshmandzadeh (Bengals)

Prevent Defense – Defensive strategy used near ends of games where defensive backs drop deep in zone coverage to prevent a hail mary or other long pass

Quarterback Sneak – Play commonly used in very short distance third or fourth down and/or goal line situations.  Generally, this play is called with less than a yard to go, allowing the quarterback to lean forward for the required inches.

Red Flag - Flag that a coach will throw to challange a call on the field.  If call is upheld, team loses a timeout.   

Reverse – Play where quarterback hands off to a RB, who then hands off to a WR running the opposite direction

Running into Kicker - Pretty self explanitory.  Unintentional is five yard penalty; an intentional running into the kicker is a personal foul and a fifteen yard penalty

Safety – Play in which a player is tackled within the end zone.  Safety results in two points for the opposing team, as well as a change of possession.   A quarterback called for intentional grounding while in the end zone will also result in a safety.

Scoring – Ways to score:  Touchdown (6 pts), FG (3 pts), Extra point (1 point), Two-point conversion (2 pts), Safety (2 pts)

Serpentine Curve (S Curve) – Method of drafting players that mimics an “S.”  For example, in a 10 person league, the team with the 10th and 11th, while the team with the #1 pick would pick 1st and 20th. pick would pick 10

Touchback – Result of a kickoff or punt being kicked through the end zone, or, more frequently, a kick returner catching the ball and kneeling while in the end zone.  A touchback means the offense will begin on its own 20 yard line.

Waiver Wire – Means of picking up player.  In fantasy football, you have to drop an active player.  In the NFL, you can just move player to your practice squad.