Chances are you may end up at a party or 2 in the coming weeks where a bowl game will be on the television. Or perhaps you’re dating a new guy and he asks what you think of the Sugar Bowl match up. If you aren’t much of a football fan or if listening to the sportscasters call a game sounds like a foreign language, this football guide is for you! Ryan is joining me on this one (we’re both big Ohio State fans, in fact we met at a tailgate!) and we are going to decode some key football terms/plays to help you to survive the upcoming bowl season, or maybe even impress your date/spouse when you jump in with your own play calling! 😉
FOOTBALL GUIDE: LET’S PLAY!
Kickoff: The equivalent of yelling “Action!” This happens at the beginning of the 1st and 3rd quarters and after every touchdown and field goal.
Offense: The team with the ball trying to score.
Defense: The team without the ball trying to prevent the other team from scoring.
Line of scrimmage: An imaginary line drawn from where the ball is placed at the end of a play. Neither team can cross the line until the next play starts.
Pass: When the quarterback throws the ball.
Rush: When the quarterback or ball carrier runs the ball.
Down: The period of action that starts when the ball is put into play and ends when that play is over. The offense gets 4 downs to gain 10 yards. You want a 1st down for the team you’re rooting for, which is the outcome of gaining the 10 yards. When watching on T.V, the line that the ball needs to pass to get the 1st down is usually highlighted in yellow on the screen.
Drive: The series of plays when the offense has the football.
Sack: When a defensive player tackles the quarterback of the opposing team.
End zone: 10 yard area on both sides of the field. When a player on the team you’re rooting carries or catches a ball in the end zone is when you can yell “touchdown!” Each team has their own end zone (which switches at half-time) and each team’s defense tries to stop the other team’s offense from entering in to their territory (split at the 50-yard line).
Red zone: 20 yards beyond the end zone on both sides of the field (prime scoring territory).
Punt: A kick usually made on a 4th down when the offense has to surrender possession of the ball to the defense because they failed to get a 1st down.
Fumble: When the ball holder drops the ball while running or being tackled. When the ball is fumbled, it is up for grabs by either the offense or the defense.
Interception (a.k.a. pick): A pass that is caught by a player on the defense, ending the offense’s possession. When a defensive player intercepts (a.k.a. picks off) the ball and scores a touchdown, it is referred to as a Pick 6 (6 points resulting from a pick).
Screen pass: A short pass from the quarterback typically to a player on the sides.
Hail Mary pass: A long desperation pass by the offense in hopes of scoring a touchdown or getting into field goal range. Typically thrown when there are only seconds left in the half or game and the offense has to score to win or tie.
2 point conversion: After the offense scores a touchdown they can go for an extra point (kick) or try for a two point conversion. If they go for the conversion, the ball is placed on the 2 yard line and the offense has only one play to try to get the ball in the end zone by way of a pass or a rush.
Safety: A 2 point play that can be scored by the defense when they tackle an offensive player holding the ball in their own end zone.
FOOTBALL GUIDE: UH OH
When you see the guys in the jail outfits (refs) running, whistling or throwing flags, that means that a penalty has occurred. These are the ones you will hear most often and what the consequences are.
False start: When an offensive player moves prior to the snap of the ball (5 yard penalty).
Offside: When any part of a player’s body is beyond the line of scrimmage (5 yard penalty).
Holding: An offensive hold is called when the player uses his hands, arms, or other parts of his body to prevent a defensive player from tackling the ball carrier (10 yard penalty). A defensive hold is called when the player tackles or holds an offensive player other than the ball carrier (5 yard penalty and automatic 1st down for the offense).
We hope that this guide not only helps you to survive the bowl season, but through learning more about the game that it helps you to develop an enjoyment for it. It’s a lot of fun to watch when you know what’s going on!
The bowl games start this week, so happy studying! 🙂 And OF COURSE, Go Bucks! Roll the Tide!