Do you ever find yourself wondering what the referees, coaches, or players are talking about when watching a football game with your friends? Sometimes, the terms can seem hard to understand. Football is almost like a language in itself. To help anyone confused, this article will have the top ten most used and confusing terms in football and will explain what these terms really mean.
Touchback – This term refers to when the football is behind a teams own goal line and the player from that team kneels with the ball or is tackled behind the goal line. Also when the ball goes back out of bounds behind the goal line. This usually takes place during a kick off or punt and can not take place while the ball is active beyond the goal line or on a missed field goal.
Shift – This occurs when two or more players on the offensive side of the ball move at the same time before the ball is snapped. They do this to change plays or confuse the defense.
Encroachment – When a player from either side of the ball moves and crosses the neutral zone before the ball is snapped and touches an opponent. This will result in a penalty.
Neutral Zone – This is between both the scrimmage lines of the offense and defense and is the size of the football and projects out from the football. The teams have to be lined up on either side of the ball and can not break the neutral zone or they will be penalized if they don’t get back on their side when the ball is snapped.
Fair Catch – When a player calls a fair catch, they wave one hand in the air before receiving a ball that was kicked to them during either a punt or a kick off. The player then can not be touched or tackled while catching the ball and they player is officially down when he has full possession of the ball.
Punt – A punt occurs normally on a fourth down play. A punt is when a player drops the ball to his feet and kicks the ball before it touches the ground. As soon as the ball is kicked, it belongs to the opposing team. The team that kicked the ball can not regain possession of the ball during the punt play unless the opposing team touches the ball first.
Fumble – This occurs when the ball is dropped by a player who had full possession of it during a play. The ball can then be picked up by anyone on either team and moved forward. The only way the ball could not be moved forward is if the player who dropped it recovers it ahead of where he fumbled it. If that happens then the ball will be dead as soon as the player who fumbled it gains full possession of it again.
Interception – An interception occurs when a defensive players catches the ball after the a player on the offensive team throws it from behind the line or scrimmage. The defensive player must catch the ball and gain full possession of it and then he can move the ball forward.
Offside – When a player from either the offense or the defense moves into or passes the neutral zone and passes the other teams line of scrimmage. This play will result in a penalty.
Touchdown – When any part of the ball passes or goes over the goal line of the opposing team. The goal line extends from both sides out of bounds so if the player gets the ball over the goal line before touching the ground out of bounds then it is also a touchdown. This will result in six points a chance for either free kick extra point or two points for breaking the goal line again in one try from the two yard line.