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The Top American Football Terms You Should Know About

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Getting crazy about football but can’t grasp what those 4-4-4’s coffin corners, jumbos and Hail Mary’s mean? Then research no longer and comment like a pro when the next season starts. Here are the top American football terms you should know by heart:

Gridiron- If you’ve watched Gridiron Gang, gridiron is not just a cool name for Kilpatrick Detention Center’s Football team. Gridiron is in fact the game of American football itself. It came from the crisscrossed lines or griddle which you see in a regular American football field. This term separates the game from other football games like soccer, rugby league, and rugby union.

Hail Mary- Yes, religion is also involved in football. In fact, some services are totally cancelled on Super Bowl Sunday while others are praying fervently for their teams. However, this term has nothing to do with religion. Hail Mary in football means a last resort to get a touchdown when there is not much time. Roger Staubach pioneered the throw in his comeback victory in 1975.

Coffin corner- This area is where punters kick the ball out of bounds so that it can be pinned back near their end zones.

Face Mask- While injuries are common in this rough sport, there are certainly no medical operations going on in the field that requires the wearing of face masks. Instead, this term is to mean a foul when a player grabs his opponent’s helmet while making a tackle. Its 5-yard penalty was abolished early in 2008.

Birdcage- Even if nasty and rough players have inflicted serious injuries over the years, none of them were imprisoned in a birdcage so far. Rather, this term describes the extra vertical and horizontal bars in linemen’s facemask.

Fumble- This occurs when a player accidentally loses the possession of a ball. Offensive tackles who rarely hold the ball can legitimately run with them in case of a fumble. Of course, if you saw the NFL preview promos featuring Shaun T from the fitness company Beachbody performing some killer throws then you would appreciate how difficult this could be! To see Shaun making an ass of himself, check out this insanity workout review site which has a video of Shaun fumbling.

Icing the Kicker- Of course you can whack the face of the kicker with an icing during celebrations, but not in the field. This term is to mean calling for a timeout when the kicker is about to get the ball snapped. This is an ancient tactic that can get most kickers nervous.

Jumbo- Love eating hotdogs to a football game? However, you will most likely drop what you are eating when faced with this offensive package. Would you want to run over a full back, two tight-ends and a half back? I thought so.

4-4-4-The numbers represent the number of players. However, you cannot do this on NFL since the players on each team are only 11. But if you are in Canada, go ahead because you can have as much as 12 players.

Now, does it make sense? So, if you hear someone saying about Hail Mary’s you won’t think of him praying to the Virgin Mary for his team to win. There are so many football terms out there but you can start memorizing these by heart. Who knows one day, you will be lucky to be in the podium and start commenting like John Madden on NBC Sunday Night Football?