Everyone has their way of speaking, and that goes for football players too. If you’re new to football and just started following your favourite team, you might find their slang a little confusing.
It may seem like they have their unique language, but don’t worry, you aren’t alone. Most people new to football feel pretty lost when trying to understand what these players are saying.
We get it; it can be very confusing! Fortunately for you, we have created this handy glossary to help you understand some standard football slang terms.
You will also find an explanation of specific positions and a few standard plays used during a game.
What is Football Slang ?
Football slang refers to words and phrases commonly used by football players and coaches. Football slang is very different from the kind of slang you might hear used by people in everyday life.
Many football terms have their origins in the game’s history, like the word “huddle,” which refers to the practice of players gathering together to discuss strategy.
Others are just made up on the fly by football players, like the term “turf toe,” which is used to describe an injury suffered by players. In addition to team-specific jargon, football has its vocabulary of standard football terms.
Quarterbacks, for example, will often refer to their passes in terms of depth. A pass thrown short of the line of scrimmage will be called a “dump-off pass,” while a pass thrown beyond the line of scrimmage will be called a “deep pass.”
1. Wide Receiver
Wide Receivers are the people who catch passes in football. They are also sometimes called wideouts or wide-outs. The team’s wide receivers are the guys playing on the line of scrimmage opposite the quarterback.
The wide receivers are generally the fastest players on the team, and their main job is to catch passes from the quarterback and run with them. There are different types of wide receivers.
The two main types are split end and flanker. The divided end lines up on the line of scrimmage, and the flanker lines up behind the line of scrimmage. A slot receiver lines up inside, usually about four yards behind the line of scrimmage.
The wide receiver is one of the most critical positions on the field. They have to be very fast, solid and have great hands.
2. Running Back
The running back is a player position that is used on offence. Their primary responsibility is to run with the ball. They are also sometimes responsible for catching passes out of the backfield.
The running backs line up behind the quarterback. The running backs are usually the team’s second-highest paid players. The running backs are the big guys, and they are the ones who get it done.
Some running backs are also used as receivers out of the backfield, while other running backs are used as kick returners. There are different types of running backs.
The two main types are the one-back and two-back running-back systems.
- The one-back running back system has one running back with three wide receivers.
- The two-back running back system has two running backs with three wide receivers.
Safety is a defensive position on the team. The safety’s job is to play deep behind the defensive line and try and prevent a big play. The safety’s main job is to stop the team from getting a touchdown on defence.
Safeties are often thought of as the last line of defence. There are two main types of safeties. There is free safety, who lines up deep behind the line of scrimmage, and there is substantial safety, who lines up on the line of scrimmage.
The safeties are also sometimes used to defend against a punt. Three defensive players try to catch the ball after it is kicked. The players who try to catch the ball are the safety, cornerback, and outside linebacker.
4. Short Snapping
The position of short snapper is very specialised. The short snapper’s job is to snap the ball to the team’s punter. The short snapper is not the team’s centre.
It is someone who lines up off to the side of the centre. The short snapper is usually on the same field side as the punter. The short snapper has to be able to snap the ball very accurately.
The short snapper also has strong hands because he must catch the ball after the punter snaps it. If you are a short snapper, you must have a lot of skill and dedication.
5. Mesh Route
The mesh route is a route that two receivers run simultaneously. The quarterback throws the ball when the two receivers’ paths intersect. The mesh route is widespread in the red zone.
Because of the traffic in the red zone, many teams use the mesh route in the red area to try and get open more easily. The mesh route is used more when the unit is inside the 5-yard line.
6. Slant Route
The slant route is a route that a receiver runs. The receiver runs straight at the defence, then cuts towards the centre of the field at an angle. The slant route is prevalent in football, and many teams use it on offence.
A slant route is usually used when a team needs a quick pass to move the ball. The slant route is one of the best plays in football.
7. Dime Coverage
Dime coverage is a type of coverage in football. Dime coverage is when a team’s defence puts six defensive backs on the field. Dime coverage is used when a couple thinks their opponent will try and pass a lot.
The six defensive backs in dime coverage are the two outside cornerbacks, two inside cornerbacks, and two safeties.
8. Hook Route
A hook route is a route that a receiver runs. The receiver runs straight at the defence, then cuts towards the outside field at an angle. The hook route is prevalent in football. A hook route is usually used when a team needs a quick pass to move the ball. A hook route is one of the best plays in football.
Football is a sport that is loved by people all over the world. Football brings people together, whether watching a professional game or playing it in your backyard with friends. If you are new to the football slang, our glossary will help you understand some standard football slang terms and positions. You will also find an explanation of specific plays used during a game. After reading this, you will hopefully feel more comfortable discussing football with your friends.