American Football Jargon Buster

American Football Jargon Buster

As with any sport, the NFL has its own unique language that can seem like gibberish to outsiders, but is vital to understanding America’s favourite pastime. Those of us on this side of the Atlantic can often struggle to make sense of a complicated-looking sport, made ever more complex by the terms used to describe the action. Have no fear though spread bettors; we’ve provided you with a jargon busting guide to some of the NFL’s most essential terms for you to scream in your favourite sports bar. Downs – Each side has four chances to score before possession changes hands.

Touch rugby employs a similar turn-over system, but you can get legally smashed to the floor playing NFL.

Positions – The Quarterback runs the show, choosing either to hand the ball to a Running Back, who charges into the oncoming defence,or pass it long to a Receiver, who manically pumps his legs to get towards the elusive goal of the end zone.

The Offensive Line protects the QB from the Defensive Line – two rows of the largest and scariest sportsmen you’ll see. Scoring – End Zone is the target, Touchdown is what you do in it.

The rather large spaces at both ends of the field, usually with each team name emblazoned across them, are where you score points, either by carrying or catching the ball within it. A touchdown is worth a not insubstantial six points, which is the largest single-score you can achieve in American Football.

Much like a conversion in rugby, sides then have the opportunity to add to that score, by either kicking the ball through the goalpost for an Extra Point,or trying to again reach the end zone from two yards out to score a Two Point Conversion.

At any time during play, usually at the 4th down, though, when the ball could soon be lost, your Kicker will either Punt the ball away or attempt a Field Goal (Three points) – depending on where your team are on the field.

Finally, a Safety scores you two points, which is tackling an opposing player within their own end zone, think of it like preventatively scoring an own goal because it only counts for a third of a Touchdown. Sack – This is the rather embarrassing result for a Quarterback when he’s either held onto the ball too long or been let down by his defence. Whatever the reason he hits the floor like a sack of bricks once the huge Offensive Linemen get to him.

Coaches Challenge – Having embraced the technology of video replays, both coaches have two appeals each that are called by throwing a red flag on the field. Spread bettors should be aware that these calls are only used at the most crucial times, so can greatly affect the outcome of bets.

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