View Full Version : Glossary S

03-11-2009, 12:35 PM

tackling a ball carrier who intends to throw a forward pass. A sack is also awarded if a player forces a fumble of the ball, or the ball carrier to go out of bounds, behind the line of scrimmage on an apparent intended forward pass play. The term gained currency ca. 1970.
In Madden NFL series, a sack also mean, for an offensive lineman, being flattened by the defensive lineman, therefore unable to hold off his defensive tackle or defensive end, the worst that could happen is to contributing to conceding an interception or a quarterback sack.


1. a player position on defense see free safety and strong safety.
2. a method of scoring (worth two points) by downing an opposing ballcarrier in his own end zone, forcing the opposing ballcarrier out of his own end zone AND out of bounds, or forcing the offensive team to fumble the ball so that it exits the end zone. A safety is also awarded if the offensive team commits a foul within its own end zone. After a safety, the team that was scored upon must kick the ball to the scoring team from its own 20-yard line.
A safety scored during a try scores 2 points (1 point in the NFL) and is followed by a kickoff as for any other try.

safety valve
a receiver whose job it is to get open for a short pass in case all other receivers are covered.
the strong side outside linebacker
A Running Back that is generally very fast, and good at juking and making defenders miss as opposed to running them over on purpose like a 'power' back.
scramble or quarterback scramble
on a called passing play, when the quarterback runs from the pocket in an attempt to avoid being sacked, giving the receivers more time to get open or attempting to gain positive yards by running himself.
screen pass
a short forward pass to a receiver who has blockers in front of him. The receiver in this play is usually a running back, although wide receiver and tight end screens are also used. Although they are both called screen passes, the wide receiver screen and the running back screen are used for very different reasons. In the case of a running back screen, the play is designed to allow the pass rushers by the offensive linemen, leaving the defender out of position to make a play. The play is usually employed to defuse the pass rush in the case of a running back screen. The Wide Receiver screen is a much faster developing play, designed to catch the defense off guard.

1. See also play from scrimmage and line of scrimmage
2. An informal practice matchup, either between two teams or between different units of the same team. Usually score is not kept; often, each team will get 10 plays from the same yard line. Sometimes played "7 on 7," with a full backfield and an abbreviated offensive line.

refers to the defensive "backfield", specifically the safeties and cornerbacks. Primarily responsible for pass coverage/defense.
shield punt
when 7 men line up on the line of scrimmage and immediately start to cover the punt while 3 offensive players stay to guard the punter.
when two or more offensive players move at the same time before the snap. All players who move in a shift must come to a complete stop prior to the snap.
the action of a linebacker or defensive back to blitz
shotgun formation
formation in which offensive team may line up at the start of a play. In this formation, the quarterback receives the snap 5-8 yards behind the center.

1. one of the lines marking each side of the field
2. as adjective: on the field near a sideline

side zone
the area between a hash mark and a sideline
single wing
a term used to describe a diverse set of formations, now out of fashion but highly popular between 1906 and World War II, that typically used an unbalanced line, direct snap, and one wingback.
single wing(ed)-T
a formation with 1 wingback & an adjoining tight end in which the center hands the ball to the quarterback, who holds his hands between the legs of the center.
a receiver route. In the slant route, a receiver runs straight up field a few yards, plants his outside foot hard while in full stride, and turns 45 degrees towards the quarterback. A staple of the West Coast Offense(WCO) and the player may go as little as 2 yards or as many as 6 yards before moving inside for the pass. Variations include the quick slant in which the player plants and turns at the snap instead of running ahead first and the Slow or Zone route, in which the receiver runs 10 to 15 yards downfield to get behind the linebackers before turning.
a particularly gruesome tackle or hit.
The area between a split end and the offensive line. A pass receiver lined up in the slot at the snap of the ball may be called a slotback or slot receiver.
the handoff or pass from the center that begins a play from scrimmage.
snap count
the "hut" sound the quarterback will use to signal for the snap to be made.
an offensive play in which the quarterback, immediately on receiving the snap dives forward with the ball. The play is used when a team needs a very short gain to reach either the goal line or the line to gain.
special teams
the units that handle kickoffs, punts, free kicks and field goal attempts. Often manned by second and third team players.
a play in which the quarterback throws the ball at the ground immediately after the snap. Technically an incomplete pass, it stops the clock. Note that a spike is not considered intentional grounding if it is done with the quarterback under center and immediately after the snap; the only "penalty" is that one down is sacrificed. Running a spike play presumes there will be at least one play by the same team immediately afterward; occasionally there is so little time left in the half or game that a quarterback whose first choice was to spike the ball may have to run a regular play instead, because the spike would run the clock out. There is at least one case of a quarterback in the NFL doing just that, although that quarterback's regular play failed. (In the January 1998 Rose Bowl, Ryan Leaf spiked the ball and inadvertently ran the clock out on that play.)
T formation in which the gaps between offensive guards & tackles are nearly twice as large as the gaps between the center & the guards.
the distance between the feet of adjacent offensive linemen. Said to be wide, if there is a large gap between players, or narrow, if the gap is small.
split end
a player position on offense. A receiver who lines up on the line of scrimmage, several yards outside the offensive linemen. The term is now rarely used in American Football, having been long since replaced by the wide receiver or wideout, with no distinction between whether the receiver is on the line or not.
squib kick
a type of kickoff in which the ball is intentionally kicked low to the ground, typically bouncing on the ground a few times before being picked up. This is done in the hopes of preventing a long return, as the ball is often picked up by one of the upmen as opposed to the designated kickoff returner.
a player who is the first to play his position within a given game or season. Depending on the position and the game situation, this player may be replaced or share time with one or more players later in the game. As an example, a quarterback may start the game but be replaced by a backup quarterback if the game becomes one-sided. A running-back may start the game but share time with another running back in specific situations or to provide the opportunity for rest during the game.

In case of players, they are the opposite of a bust, they are either:

1. Players that are drafted later (or later than expected) in the draft or not drafted at all, but ended up being great players, for example: many of the Buffalo Bills such as Jason Peters, Brian Moorman, and Trent Edwards. Perhaps the modern-day archetypal example would be Tom Brady.
2. Unexpected players that was drafted into the first round, most notably punter Ray Guy, when normally, even a great punter or kicker would never be drafted earlier than mid- to late-round two.

the pole attached to the end of the 10-yard chain that is used by the chain crew to measure for a new series of downs i.e. the line to gain a new "first down".
stiff-arm or straight-arm
a ballcarrier warding off a would-be tackler by pushing them away with a straight arm.
strong i
a formation wherein the tailback is lined up deep directly behind the quarterback, and the fullback is lined up offset to the strong side of the formation.
strong safety (SS)
a kind of safety on defense, as opposed to a free safety. This is a central defensive back; originally, the term indicated that he lined up on the strong side of the field and covered the tight end. However, the modern usage of the term now indicates a central defensive back with responsibility for run and pass support, slightly favoring run support.
strong side
simplistically speaking, the side of the field (left or right) that has the most players, but it depends on the formations of the teams. When a team uses one tight end, the strong side is the side of the field where the tight end lines up. If the offensive package uses no tight end, or more than one tight end, the strong side is the side of the field with the most offensive players on or just behind the line of scrimmage.
A tackle of a ball carrier on a running play, behind the line of scrimmage. Compare to sack.
a tactic used by defensive linemen in which they switch roles in an attempt to get past the blockers. Both defenders will start with power rushes, with the stunting defender getting more of a push. The other lineman will then go around him, ideally using him as a pick to get free from his blocker.
a running play in which several blockers lead a running back on a designed play to the outside. Depending on the number of blockers and the design of the play this is sometimes referred to as a "power sweep" or "student-body-right" (or left).