Questions tagged [american-football]

Questions about the sport of American football. This should not be confused with the [football] tag, which only applies to the sport called "soccer" in most of North America.

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37
votes
4answers
3k views

Why would you ever allow an opponent to score?

Watching Super Bowl XLVI, I noticed near the end of the game the New England Patriots allowed the New York Giants to score a touchdown uncontested. At this point in the game, the Patriots were ...
34
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5answers
164k views

"53 has the Mic" means what in American Football?

I frequently hear quarterbacks say something like "53 has the mic" when pointing out the defensive formation. Usually the player number that he points out is a linebacker. I believe the defensive ...
28
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1answer
9k views

What's the justification for this rarely-invoked NFL fumble rule?

Yesterday, at the end of the Packers-Bills game (2014 Week 15), Rodgers fumbled into his own endzone. Eddie Lacy recovered it, but was unable to fight his way out, resulting in a game-winning safety. ...
25
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3answers
117k views

Why is American football called football?

Why is American football called "football" even though the players play with their hands more than their feet? It seems to be very similar to rugby, and doesn't have the name "American Rugby". What ...
23
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6answers
46k views

Why isn't spiking the football intentional grounding?

I understand that spiking the football is a time management technique in American football, but I don't understand why there is no penalty (e.g. intentional grounding) associated with it?
21
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5answers
11k views

Why does every American sport except Football seem to have a farm league?

Baseball (MLB) has a minor league, Hockey (NHL) has the AHL, Basketball (NBA) has the D-League, and even Soccer (MLS) has the USL and NASL although they may not be farm leagues in the same sense as ...
20
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2answers
110k views

What is the difference between a strong safety and a free safety?

There are two distinct labels for a "safety" in football: strong (SS) and free (FS). Ed Reed (FS) and Troy Polamalu (SS) were two of the premier players in the NFL "in the safety position" during ...
20
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4answers
1k views

Does the defense have to defend the extra point?

At the end of the controversial Green Bay Packers/Seattle Seahawks game on Monday night, the Seahawks were awarded a touchdown as time expired that gave them a 13-12 point lead. In the ensuing ...
19
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1answer
55k views

How does one get 5 points in a football game?

During today's Niners vs Seahawks game, the score by the end of the first half was 0-5. What I don't understand is how the Seahawks scored 5 points. My understanding of football is : 6 points for a ...
19
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1answer
515 views

Does icing a fieldgoal kicker actually work?

It's a common strategy in most levels of football to call a time out shortly before the ball is snapped prior to a field goal. This is called icing the kicker (as it makes the kicker wait through the ...
17
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5answers
18k views

Statistically, who is the worst NFL team in history?

I know there are a lot of bad NFL teams but I want to know who the worst franchise in NFL history is.. (ie: least playoff appearances/wins/win percentage etc.)
17
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4answers
88k views

What if a field goal is missed and it's not 4th down?

I guess it's commonplace to see a football team attempt a field goal on 4th down. Let's say the football team for whatever reason decides to kick it on 2nd or 3rd down and they miss it. Does that ...
16
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5answers
12k views

What is the purpose of the eligible reciever rules?

I do not know a lot about American Football, but I enjoy watching games from time to time. The other day I saw a penalty given for a player catching a pass but being an ineligible receiver. I had not ...
16
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2answers
81k views

NFL standings: 8-6-2 team vs 9-7-0 team?

Are they considered to have the same records? One should just apply tie-breaking procedures? NFL rules say: If, at the end of the regular season, two or more clubs in the same division finish with ...
15
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7answers
32k views

Why is NFL season significantly shorter compared to most other sports?

I am not sure but if I remember correctly the NFL teams play 15-16 games during regular season and a couple more in the play-offs if they can make it the whole way. Why such a short season, in ...
15
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2answers
4k views

As a defensive lineman, can I intentionally encroach to stop the clock?

If a defense is facing a tough situation with no timeouts left, it is difficult to stop the clock. Your options are very limited - you hope the offense passes and you can bat it down, or you hope you ...
15
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4answers
15k views

Why are NFL hash marks closer than NCAA hash marks?

Typically as you move up to more competitive levels of a sport, elements are adjusted to account for the increase of skill/speed/power of better players. NBA 3-point line is farther from hoop than ...
15
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2answers
12k views

NFL division with all teams having a losing or winning record

I'm wondering if there has been any division in the modern day NFL history where all teams finished the regular season with winning or losing record. Even though this might not be so probable, it is ...
15
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1answer
23k views

What is "Strength of Victory"?

The NFL lists the following Tiebreaking Procedures to break ties within a division: Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games between the clubs). Best won-lost-tied percentage in games ...
15
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1answer
887 views

Why does the NFL use Roman numerals for Super Bowl numbering?

This year's Super Bowl broke the tradition of using Roman numerals. According to this article the NFL postseason media guide says: The Roman numerals were adopted to clarify any confusion that may ...
15
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2answers
56k views

Who gets Super Bowl rings?

When a team wins the Super Bowl, there are a lot of players and organizational members that helped in the process. For each team playing this year, there are multiple players on injured reserve that ...
14
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4answers
60k views

What is "strong side" vs. "weak side" on defense in American football?

What is "strong side" vs. "weak side" on defense in American football? I'm trying to get a basic understanding of this terminology but am getting tripped up.
14
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2answers
7k views

Are you allowed to fake a field goal or punt?

Whenever an offense reaches the 4th down in American Football, i.e. they didn't achieve to get a new 1st down in their past 3 attempts, they're faced with basically 2 fundamentally different options. ...
14
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2answers
2k views

How can a 3rd college quarterback be found if two are injured?

As colleges can't sign a new player like an NFL team can, what do they do if two or three of their starting QBs go down? Is there a rule that lets them get new players or do they have to play their ...
14
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4answers
34k views

Why do football players say "Oskie" after an interception?

When I was learning to play football in the backyard as a child, my family would always say "Oskie" after the quarterback threw an interception. I always thought that it was just some sort of family ...
14
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1answer
10k views

What is the highest number of picks a team has had in the draft?

I was looking at the draft from 2012 and noticed that the 49ers had made a lot of trades to acquire more picks for the 2013 draft. This led me to wonder about trades and the number of draft picks ...
14
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1answer
705 views

Who pays for the travel for Heisman trophy nominees?

When a player is nominated to receive the Heisman Trophy, he and sometimes his family appears at the trophy presentation. Who pays for this travel?
13
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2answers
342 views

What is the actual waiver wire?

Saw a tweet from Adam Shefter, an ESPN NFL Insider, regarding Peyton Manning being released: Still no NFL waiver wire, so any team reaching out to Peyton Manning now would be violating the rules. ...
13
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2answers
4k views

Number of gap techniques in American Football

While reading this thread and this one I had trouble following the football terminology of the different "techniques" for defensive line men. What does it mean to have a 1 / 2 / 3 / 5 gap technique ...
13
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2answers
22k views

History of NFL scoring format

Can anyone tell me why the NFL uses the current scoring format of 6 points plus extra point for a touchdown, 3 points for a field goal, 2 points for a safety? Is there a history or story behind why ...
13
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2answers
16k views

What makes a formation illegal?

Sometimes the referee will flag a team for having an "illegal formation". What are the restrictions on how a team is allowed to line up?
13
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3answers
12k views

Why is the player in the middle of I-formation called the fullback?

From the names of the positions, I would assume that in an I-formation the order (from front to back) would be quarterback, halfback, then fullback. This Image of the I-Form shows the fullback in ...
13
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5answers
10k views

Why do the balls used in rugby and American football have a similar shape?

Is there any reason for the fact that rugby and American football share this (quite unusual) ball shape?   Do they have common roots? Does the American football ball come from the rugby one (...
12
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2answers
16k views

When is an offensive lineman allowed to move?

I've noticed that sometimes an offensive lineman will seem to get down in his stance but then stand back up to listen to the Quarterbacks' audible. But when he is in his stance and merely twitches ...
12
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1answer
15k views

What determines the spot of a field goal kick in the NFL?

Is there a limit to how close the ball gets spotted behind the line of scrimmage during a field goal attempt? I regularly watch the NFL and on the field goals the holder awaits for the ball about 8 ...
12
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2answers
8k views

What is the role of the Captain on the (american) football field?

After reading this post about soccer or football (for europeans), What is the on-field role of the captain? i was curious about this issue in american football. What is the role of the football ...
12
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1answer
2k views

How come the NFL is not allowed to play on Friday/Saturday

There was some ruling back in the 1960s (or something like that) that barred the NFL from having games on the same days as College or High School games. I think it had to do with their anti-trust ...
12
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1answer
4k views

On an onside kick, what happens when a return man signals fair catch and is obstructed from reaching the ball?

Team A is still down by two points with less than one minute remaining in the game and they are kicking off to team B after just scoring a touchdown. Team B realizes they are going to try an onside ...
12
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3answers
9k views

Declining a delay-of-game penalty: what about an infinite loop?

I was watching the Outback Bowl today when one team decided to punt from around its opponents 35 yard line. The coach decided to let the play clock expire to get a little extra room to kick after the ...
12
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0answers
291 views

Neutral field advantage for team with more fans in attendance?

In college football, home teams outscore away teams by 3-3.5 points per game according to analysis by Matt Mills at SB Nation. But is the advantage due to the home crowd or something else? It's ...
11
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4answers
6k views

Is it possible for an NFL team to go 20-0?

Is it possible for three NFL teams in different divisions in the same conference to all go 16-0 during the regular season? I'm not sure if this is possible with all the scheduling rules that they ...
11
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1answer
2k views

How can an American football team tie with another team?

I am a football beginner, but still a fan. I've been wondering how could an American football team tie with another team. I know that there is OT (overtime), and I'm not sure if the game ends with a ...
11
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2answers
2k views

Is it true that a line backer is the quarterback for the defense?

I've often heard that the linebacker is the quarterback for the defense. Thus, is it really true that a linebacker's role is sometimes to produce calls to change the defensive's game plan or an ...
11
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3answers
8k views

What type of individual player incentives are allowed in the NFL?

Recently, ESPN (and others) reported that the New Orleans Saints had instituted a "bounty" program. This program awarded players for inflicting game-ending injuries against the opposing ...
11
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2answers
13k views

Difference between one gap and two gap techniques for defensive linemen

While watching American football, I frequently hear about "one gap" or "two gap" techniques when referring to defensive linemen. I found this terminology to be a bit unclear, so I looked for an ...
11
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1answer
9k views

Has the Lambeau Leap been banned at all NFL stadiums except Lambeau Field?

The Lambeau Leap is a celebration started by Green Bay Packers players who leap into the stands after scoring a touchdown at Lambeau Field. The celebration has spread across the NFL though, because I'...
11
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3answers
2k views

Does the tackle box in gridiron football extend through all the offensive linemen even if they're a long way apart?

On 10 January 2015 in the NFL playoffs, the Patriots lined up in a weird formation in which Shane Vereen, a running back, reported ineligible. Vereen was "covered" by a receiver on his team, meaning ...
11
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1answer
269 views

What made Notre Dame, Notre Dame?

In the mid 90s I spent some time playing football and training at the University of Nebraska. I was in awe at how the football program generated such an advantage under Tom Osborne. You walked the ...
11
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3answers
17k views

When a QB slides, is it considered a dead ball?

I was watching the Niners-Lions game last week and saw something that has me a little confused. I was under the impression that when a quarterback slides in the NFL, the play is considered dead when ...
11
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1answer
10k views

Is there a rule for when K-Balls are used?

In the NFL, special balls ("K-Balls") are used for kicking plays. These balls are harder and slicker than the balls used during normal play. My understanding is that kickers don't really like using ...

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