Football Glossary – What to Know for Game Time

Football Glossary time for the moms out there watching along with their friends and family.

I’m a football fan because my husband and 4 sons are obsessed with football. It’s not something I regularly watch just for the heck of it, I’m only watching if it’s a BIG game or if my beloved Patriots or if the Steelers are playing.

I know just enough about football to get by, but I thought it would be fun to share some important football terms. You know, so you can look football smart and ready!

Football Glossary

Football Glossary:

BLITZ – Definition: A defensive strategy in which a linebacker or defensive back vacates his normal responsibilities in order to pressure the quarterback. The object of a blitz is to tackle the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage or force the quarterback to hurry his pass.

BLOCK – Definition: Engaging an opponent in an effort to keep him from getting to a specific part of the field or player.

CLIPPING – Definition: An illegal block in which a player hits an opponent from behind, typically at leg level.

COIN TOSS – Definition: Before the start of the game, the captain of the visiting team calls heads or tails of a coin flipped by the referee.

DEAD BALL – Definition: The period of time between plays when the ball is no longer in play, which is determined by the officials signaling the play to be over.

DEFENSIVE HOLDING – Definition: Use of the hands to hold or push an offensive receiver or back on a passing play beyond the first five yards past the line of scrimmage.

END ZONE – Definition: A 10-yard section stretching the width of the field at both ends of the playing field.

EXTRA POINT – Definition: After a touchdown, the scoring team is allowed to add another point by kicking the football through the uprights of the goalpost.

FIELD GOAL – Definition: A score worth three points made on an ordinary down by place-kicking or drop-kicking the ball over the crossbar and between the goal posts.

FOUL – Definition: Any violation of a playing rule.

FREE KICK – Definition: Either a kickoff or a punt following a safety.

HAIL MARY – Definition: An offensive play where the quarterback throws the ball up in the air without really targeting any particular receiver, hoping someone on his team catches it.

HOLDING – Definition: Is the illegal restraining of another player who is not in possession of the ball.

INTERCEPTION – Definition: A pass that is caught by a defensive player. An interception results in a change of possession.

KICK-OFF – Definition: A kick that puts the ball into play.

LOOSE BALL – Definition: A ball that is not in possession of either team.

OFFSIDE – Definition: A penalty that occurs when any part of a defender’s body is beyond his line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped.

PENALTY – Definition: Is a sanction called against a team for a violation of the rules, called a foul.

POSSESSION – Definition: When a team has control of the ball.

SACK – Definition: A sack occurs when the quarterback is tackled behind the line of scrimmage before he can throw a forward pass.

TOUCHDOWN – Definition: A scoring play in which any part of the ball, while legally in the possession of a player who is in-bounds, crosses the plane of the opponent’s goal line. A touchdown is worth six points, and the scoring team is given the option of attempting to add one or two bonus points on the next play.

UNNECESSARY ROUGHNESS – Definition: An illegal play where a player, in the judgement of the officials, uses tactics that are above and beyond what is necessary to block or tackle another player.

There’s a TON MORE FOOTBALL TERMS, but I thought these would be most the helpful to kick-off (pun intended!) with!

Definitions pulled from 2 sources: and

About Audrey

Audrey McClelland has been a digital influencer since 2005. She’s a mom of 5 and shares tips on her three favorite things: parenting, fashion and beauty. She’s also a Contemporary Romance Author.

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