Ten Terms American Football Announcers Use - dummies

Ten Terms American Football Announcers Use

By Howie Long, John Czarnecki

One of the most difficult and intimidating parts about following an American football game is that the announcers sometimes seem to be speaking a foreign language known only to true football enthusiasts. But if you remember a few key terms, you’ll be way ahead of the game.

Here are some football terms you may hear, along with their definitions:

  • Corner blitz: A blitzing linebacker or defensive back rushes the quarterback from the outside edge of the offensive alignment or the corner of the offensive line.

  • Dime back: When the defense has six players in the secondary, the sixth player is called a dime back because he’s the second nickel back (two nickels equal a dime).

  • Forklift: A defensive lineman lifts an offensive lineman off the ground, moving him aside as he rushes the quarterback.

  • Franchise player: Commentators routinely refer to the most important player on a team as the franchise.

  • Looking off a defensive back: Commentators say this when a quarterback eyeballs a defensive back, giving the defensive player the impression that he’s throwing the ball toward his area. In actuality, the quarterback intends to throw in a different direction. He fools the defensive back by looking him off.

    [Credit: © iStockphoto.com/Anton Brand]
    Credit: © iStockphoto.com/Anton Brand
  • Muscling his way through: When a commentator uses this phrase, he means a player managed to gain a physical advantage over an opponent.

  • Nickel package: The defensive team is using five defensive backs in the secondary to defend the pass.

  • Running to daylight: The running back has found the soft spot in the defense and is running freely down the field toward the end zone.

  • Shooting a gap: A defensive player somehow runs untouched through a space that should have been blocked by an offensive player. The gap is often between two offensive players or to the outside shoulder of one player.

  • Zeroing in on a receiver: The quarterback is focused on throwing to one specific receiver. The quarterback watches the receiver while he’s running his route and then releases the ball when the receiver’s open.