American Football - Terms


Before knowing the game rules and playing guidelines, it’s very important to get familiarized with the terms used in the game.

  • Tee − a cone shaped platform which holds the ball

  • Yard Space − Space gained by the player to measure the progress of the game.

  • Line of Scrimmage − The lines parallel to goal line and next to each team’s end, the two lines are termed as the offensive & defensive line of scrimmage.

  • Offense − Team with the control of the ball.

  • Defence − Team opposing the offense, without the possession of the ball.

  • Center − Player in the offense, with the control of the ball

  • Tackle player − Position of the players on both offense and defence lines.

  • Tight end − Position of offensive team player also called as the Y receiver, placed next to the offensive tackle.

  • Wide Receiver − Position of offensive team player 7 yards away from the formation.

  • Quarterback − Position of offensive player right behind the centre.

  • Halfback − Position of offensive player behind the wide receiver near to the goal line.

  • Fullback − Position of offensive player placed behind the quarterback in forming a T shape structure.

  • End player − Position of defensive player placed on the defensive line of scrimmage exactly opposing the centre.

  • Nose tackle − Position of the defensive player opposing the centre, effective in stopping the running and rushing the pass.

  • Linebacker − Position of defensive player placed right behind the end players.

  • Cornerback − Position of defensive player positioned behind the linebackers to disrupt the passing.

  • Safeties − Position of defensive player behind the linebacker ready to take control of the ball from the offense.

  • Dead ball − The ball not anymore in the play

  • Kickoff − The ball is placed on a tee at the defence's 35-yard line, and a special kicker also kicks the ball to the offense.

  • Placekick − It is a style of kicking the ball when put on the tee.

  • Drop kick − When the ball is being dropped to the ground and is being kicked before it hits the ground again.

  • Free kick − It is a kicking form to place the ball in the play.

  • Down − Time period in which the individual plays in a certain duration, outside of which the ball is dead or not in play.

  • First Down − When the offensive team effectively passes and moves the ball 10 or more yards, they earn a first down.

  • Run − A player advancing the ball gaining the necessary yard space.

  • Pass − A player passes the control of the ball to other player of the same team.

  • Forward pass − A player passing the ball, might touch an object, a person, or the ground nearer to the other team’s end line or is unintentionally lost in a forward throwing motion.

  • Tackle − When the player holding the ball whose knee touches the ground the play comes to an end with tackle.

  • Touchdown − It is a scoring system worth 6 points ideally when a player carries the ball and touches the opponent’s end zone

  • Point after touchdown (PAT) − After the touchdown the team will try for an extra 1 or 2 points by kicking the ball through the goal post or throwing it to the end zone.

  • Field Goal − Worth of 3 points occurs if the ball is place kicked, drop kicked or free kicked in between the goal posts in the opponent’s end zone.

  • Safety − Scoring system worth of 2 points occurs by making the player possessing the ball out of his own end zone and out of bounds, or driving the other team to fumble the ball to exit the end zone. A safety is also presented if the offensive team does a foul in its own end zone.

  • Turnover − Happens when one team loses the ball the other team gains.

  • Fumble − Occurs when the player drops the ball by chance.

  • Interception − Takes place when a player regains the ownership of the ball from an opposing player.