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Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a glossary of American football terms?

James Alder is an expert on the game of American football, blogs for The New York Times, and appears on radio shows. Whether you're new to football or a longtime fan of the game, this glossary of common—and not so common—football terms provides a quick reference or a tool to learn the basics.

What is a back in football called?

Backs: Football players which stand behind the line of scrimmage. For a legal formation the offensive team must have 4 backs. They usually include the quarterback, running back, and full back. Blitz: A football play where the defensive team rushes more football players than usual to try and sack the quarterback.

What is an linemen in football?

Linemen: The offensive and defensive football players who start each play at the line of scrimmage. Neutral zone: The area between the offense and defense at the start of the play. Only the center is allowed in this zone until after the ball is snapped. Nickel defense: When the defense brings in a 5th defensive back to help cover the pass play.

What are the different types of football players?

Quarterback: This is the football player that starts each play. He takes the snap from the center and either runs with it, hands off the football to another player, or passes it. Receivers: The football players who catch the football.

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