|Glossary of Terms
1. Chucking: Warding
off an opponent who is in front of a defender by contacting him
with a quick extension of arm or arms, followed by the return of
arm(s) to a flexed position, thereby breaking the original
2. Clipping: Throwing the body across the back of an opponentís
leg or hitting him from the back below the waist while moving up
from behind unless the opponent is a runner or the action is in
close line play.
3. Close Line Play: The area between the positions normally
occupied by the offensive tackles, extending three yards on each
side of the line of scrimmage. It is legal to clip above the
4. Crackback: Eligible receivers who take or move to a position
more than two yards outside the tackle may not block an opponent
below the waist if they then move back inside to block.
5. Dead Ball: Ball not in play.
6. Double Foul: A foul by each team during the same down.
7. Down: The period of action that starts when the ball is put
in play and ends when it is dead.
8. Encroachment: When a player enters the neutral zone and makes
contact with an opponent before the ball is snapped.
9. Fair Catch: An unhindered catch of a kick by a member of the
receiving team who must raise one arm a full length above his
head and wave his arm from side to side while the kick is in
10. Foul: Any violation of a playing rule.
11. Free Kick: A kickoff or safety kick. It may be a placekick,
dropkick, or punt, except a punt may not be used on a kickoff
following a touchdown, successful field goal, or to begin each
half or overtime period. A tee cannot be used on a fair-catch or
12. Fumble: The loss of possession of the ball.
13. Game Clock: Scoreboard game clock.
14. Impetus: The action of a player that gives momentum to the
15. Live Ball: A ball legally free kicked or snapped. It
continues in play until the down ends.
16. Loose Ball: A live ball not in possession of any player.
17. Muff: The touching of a loose ball by a player in an
unsuccessful attempt to obtain possession.
18. Neutral Zone: The space the length of a ball between the two
scrimmage lines. The offensive team and defensive team must
remain behind their end of the ball.
Exception: The offensive player who snaps the ball.
19. Offside: A player is offside when any part of his body is
beyond his scrimmage or free kick line when the ball is snapped
20. Own Goal: The goal a team is guarding.
21. Play Clock: 40/25 second clock.
22. Pocket Area: Applies from a point two yards outside of
either offensive tackle and includes the tight end if he drops
off the line of scrimmage to pass protect. Pocket extends
longitudinally behind the line back to offensive teamís own end
23. Possession: When a player controls the ball throughout the
act of clearly touching both feet, or any other part of his body
other than his hand(s), to the ground inbounds.
24. Post-Possession Foul: A foul by the receiving team that
occurs after a ball is legally kicked from scrimmage prior to
possession changing. The ball must cross the line of scrimmage
and the receiving team must retain possession of the kicked
25. Punt: A kick made when a player drops the ball and kicks it
while it is in flight.
26. Safety: The situation in which the ball is dead on or behind
a teamís own goal if the impetus comes from a player on that
team. Two points are scored for the opposing team.
27. Shift: The movement of two or more offensive players at the
same time before the snap.
28. Striking: The act of swinging, clubbing, or propelling the
arm or forearm in contacting an opponent.
29. Sudden Death: The continuation of a tied game into sudden
death overtime in which the team scoring first (by safety, field
goal, or touchdown) wins.
30. Touchback: When a ball is dead on or behind a teamís own
goal line, provided the impetus came from an opponent and
provided it is not a touchdown or a missed field goal.
31. Touchdown: When any part of the ball, legally in possession
of a player inbounds, breaks the plane of the opponentís goal
line, provided it is not a touchback.
32. Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Any act contrary to the generally
understood principles of sportsmanship.