'Turf-rific' football terms
At CTV.ca, we realize that not every "Grey's Anatomy" fan has a handle on football terminology. With that being said, here are a few terms you're likely to hear at least once during the big game.
Audible – A last-second change from the play already decided upon in the huddle. The quarterback gives a signal in code to the offensive line once he and his teammates are at the line of scrimmage. This is done when the quarterback sees something in the opposing defense he can exploit.
Blindside – Similar to a driver’s blind spot, the “blindside” refers to any area outside the quarterback’s field of vision. This is the most dangerous place for a quarterback to receive a hit (See also, "The Blindside," starring Sandra Bullock).
Blitz – A defensive play wherein the defensive line sends more than the usual four linemen after the opposing quarterback resulting in a quarterback sack.
End Zone – The 10-yard scoring areas at each end of the field. When a player successfully carries or catches the ball in the opposing end zone it results in a touchdown for his team.
Flag on the Play – A yellow flag is thrown out by the official to indicate that there was a penalty on the previous play.
Field Goal - To score a field goal, the team in possession of the ball must place kick the ball through the uprights and over the crossbar during a play from scrimmage. Field goals are worth three points.
Fumble – A fumble is when the ball carrier loses possession of the football. Any player on either team can recover a fumble. You don’t want to fumble. People will laugh at you.
Hail Mary – The classic “long-bomb.” This is a desperation pass downfield usually employed at the end of a half or game as part of a last-ditch effort to score a touchdown.
Halfback (Running Back) – The featured ball carrier among the two running backs lined up behind the quarterback. Generally, the halfback is the fastest member of the backfield and can also catch passes to pose a double threat to defenders.
Halftime – The break between the second and third quarters. Typically last 12 minutes during the regular season and 20 minutes during the Super Bowl. A time for coaches to prepare a second half strategy and fans to restock beverages and reconsider bets.
Interception – You don’t want to do this. An interception occurs when the quarterback inadvertently throws the ball to the opposing team. Notable repeat offenders include Mark Sanchez and Tony Romo.
Line of Scrimmage – An imaginary line representing the position of the ball after the most recent play. Both teams are forbidden from crossing the line of scrimmage until after the snap.
Punt - A kick out of the hands by the punter on fourth down after the offense has failed to pick up a first down. The punting team kicks the ball away to ensure the other team has poorer field position when taking over on offense.
Run – One of two ways for the offense to move the ball forward. This involves a player (usually the halfback or quarterback) carrying the ball while running through the defense.
Safety – A scoring play that results in two points being awarded to the scoring team. Safeties can be awarded in a number of ways, most commonly when a ball carrier is tackled in his own end zone.
Tight End – Part receiver and part blocker. The tight end is positioned on the end of the offensive line. From there, he can act as an extra blocker on running plays or head downfield as a receiver in passing situations.
Touchdown – A touchdown occurs anytime a player carries or catches the ball in the opposing team's end zone. A touchdown is worth an immediate six points and grants the scoring team the chance to kick an extra point or attempt a two-point conversion.
Turnover – The collective name for interceptions or fumbles that are recovered by the opposition. Any play where the offense turns the ball over to the defense.
Weak Side – The side of the offensive formation that does not feature the tight end.
Zebras – Nickname for NFL officials, who wear black and white striped shirts.