Football is a fraternity of men who are almost like brothers. When the casual fan watches the game they see grown men beating each other senseless in a simple game. I found myself with a casual fan the other day watching a rerun of a classic NFL game where the announcers would use certain words that they did not understand and I had to go on explaining, almost every five minutes. Here is a simple guide to some uncommon words used in football that the casual fan may not be used to.
Safety. A safety is worth two points and happens around one time every three weeks in the NFL. It is a common play that occurs when one team falls on the ball or knocks the ball out of their own end zone, usually to prevent a touchdown, which is worth six points or great field position. Quarterbacks are most common to taking safeties on sacks in the end zone but kickers also would kick a ball out of the back of the end zone if a punt is snapped over their head to prevent a touchdown.
Audible. An audible is called on both offense and defense and is a simple change of the original play. A lot of advanced teams have set calls for different plays that correspond with a specific word, code, or hand signal, or call two plays in the huddle to give themselves options when they read the offense or the defense.
Wishbone Formation. A wishbone formation is a backfield set by the offense, that involves three running backs, usually with one running back in front and two behind him, split to his sides in a V-type set.
Uprights. The field goal posts.
Hail Mary. This is in some way a reference to God in that, a Hail Mary is usually a long pass that is thrown down the field near the end of the game or the half that you pray is caught by one of your receivers. Hail Mary’s are not often converted but they warrant big celebrations if they end in a touchdown, especially a game winning one.
Buttonhook. A buttonhook is a route run by a wide receiver when he runs straight for a few yards, stops, and hooks back to the quarterback looking for the ball.
The Mike. The middle linebacker on the defensive side of the ball.
The Sam. The strong side, or right side, linebacker on the defensive side of the ball.
The Will. The weak side, or left side, linebacker on the defensive side of the ball.
Play Action. A play action is play is when the quarterback fakes the hand off to a running back to keep the defense on its toes or maybe bite and run up to play against the run, and then throw the ball to a receiver.