30 votes
Accepted

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

To answer your question(s), the rule is to discourage intentional fumbling. It was added following the 1978 season in which the famous "Holy Roller" play occurred: The rule was put in the rule book ...
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  • 3,160
19 votes
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How can an American football team tie with another team?

In the NFL, if the score is tied at the end of the fourth quarter, the game goes into overtime (OT). The current overtime rules follow a modified sudden death format. In this format, the first ...
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17 votes
Accepted

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

There are a few differences between American Football and other sports that lead to this: particularly, the length of playing careers (shortest by far), and the cost of running a team (largest by far)....
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  • 11.4k
16 votes
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NFL division with all teams having a losing or winning record

Yes, the NFC West had all teams finish with a losing record in 2010. Wikipedia mentions this: In 2010, the NFC West became the first division in NFL history to have a champion with a losing record, ...
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  • 4,751
15 votes

Statistically, who is the worst NFL team in history?

Wikipedia has a list of NFL win-loss records for each of the current 32 NFL teams. The tables on the page include all games that each team has played in, including regular season and playoffs. ...
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15 votes
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What is the closest any team has come to playing a home Super Bowl?

For the first 54 Super Bowls, it was true that teams had never played the game in their home stadiums. Then it happened two years in a row: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers became the first team to play in a ...
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15 votes
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What's the etymology of the term Red Zone?

Joe Gibbs, the former Washington Redskins coach (1981–1992, 2004-2007), is widely credited with making the phrase popular in a Washington Post article in 1982. Supposedly, he tried to use it to ...
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15 votes
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What determines the spot of a field goal kick in the NFL?

There is no rule about the required exact distance from the line of scrimmage. It can be taken from the line itself or behind. They kick from 7 yards behind the line primarily because they're used to ...
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  • 4,832
14 votes
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Why are NFL hash marks closer than NCAA hash marks?

In 1972 the NFL moved the hash marks closer together, "looking for a way to produce more action and more touchdowns, now that defenses have become so effective". The article goes on to add, ...
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  • 2,778
14 votes
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What is the Spider 2 Y Banana?

This is an example of play calling in the West Coast Offense. The play call itself could be called something else in another offensive scheme. Here is a breakdown of the playcall and terms: Spider ...
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  • 3,160
14 votes

Are you allowed to fake a field goal or punt?

A punt has no special bearing and follows the rules of football. Meaning you must have 7 men on the line of scrimmage, the end players are eligible, the backs are eligible, you are allowed a forward ...
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  • 5,093
14 votes
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NFL football incentives

NFL incentive bonuses are split into two categories, likely to be earned (LTBE) and other. Likely to be earned is based on previous years and count immediately towards the cap, so if you have a 100K ...
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  • 1,048
13 votes
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Is it possible for an NFL team to go 20-0?

It is not. This is because of the regular reason scheduling: Each team plays 16 games. 6 games are in their own division (3 teams, each twice). 4 games are against a division in the other conference....
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  • 3,160
12 votes
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San Francisco 49ers uniform colors: White or red?

For each game, the home team decides whether they want to wear colors or white, and the visiting team wears the opposite. The majority of teams wear colors at home, which means that the visiting ...
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12 votes
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Why do teams take knee before halftime?

It's hard enough to score in American football when you have half an hour to score in. Trying to score when you have 0:30 left in the game? Nearly impossible, if you're on your side of the field. ...
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  • 11.4k
12 votes

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

An article in the Christian Science Monitor indicates that it was Lamar Hunt's idea initially: "It was [Hunt’s] brainchild," said Moore of the numbering system in an interview with Yahoo. "I think ...
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  • 11.4k
12 votes
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Has the Lambeau Leap been banned at all NFL stadiums except Lambeau Field?

In the early 2000s, the NFL felt that touchdown celebrations had gotten out of control, delaying the game and promoting unsportsmanlike behavior. Some of the top "offenders" included Steve Smith (who ...
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11 votes

Statistically, who is the worst NFL team in history?

It depends exactly how you measure "worst", so I have two submissions for you. The Muncie Flyers were one of the NFL's inaugural teams in 1920. After losing their first game 45-0 their other ...
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11 votes

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

In the "old days (up to about 50 years ago), teams had two "ends" at either end of the line (i.e., 'tight' to the line and therefore 'tight end(s)') to receive passes. Other pass receivers included ...
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  • 3,704
11 votes
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College football game - start time vs kickoff time

Start time is the estimated kickoff time. Back in the day some tickets would actually say EST Kickoff Time 2:00 PM. However most tickets don't include times anymore since game times are so often ...
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  • 5,093
11 votes
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Is the quarterback allowed to make an underhand throw in the NFL?

From the NFL rulebook (Rule 8, Section 1, Article 1), the definition of a forward pass is when (a) the ball initially moves forward (to a point nearer the opponent’s goal line) after leaving the ...
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  • 1,659
11 votes
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NFL division with 3 teams in the playoffs

The NFL started allowing two wildcard teams per conference to enter the playoffs in the 1978-79 season, and went to three wildcard teams in 1990-91. With only three divisions per conference, it was ...
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11 votes
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Why do the players in this video appear to be trying not to get a touchdown?

So there are really 2 things happening regarding to your question: what you're asking, and what those players are actually doing, which is very different than what you asked. I'll explain both ...
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  • 10.3k
10 votes
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What made Notre Dame, Notre Dame?

Notre Dame became Notre Dame because it was one of the best football schools in the early days of college football, when a great coach with a few interesting strategies could make all the difference ...
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  • 11.4k
10 votes
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Can a team in the NFL make the playoffs with only three wins?

Technically yes. One of those 3-3 teams will win the division by tie-breaker and, strangely enough, get a home game as the #4 seed against the top wild card team.
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10 votes

NFL: Why do kick coverage teams always run all the way down the field

From personal experience (high school and not the NFL), we were required to run through the goal line every time. There are a couple of reasons I could see for them doing so: If the kick does not go ...
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  • 3,160
10 votes
Accepted

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

This is a more complex question than I initially thought, and most of that stems from some weird wording in the NFL rules. The provision that allows the QB to throw the ball away once he's outside the ...
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  • 216
10 votes
Accepted

Why do american commentators call the ball "the football"?

First, the object is a "football". See Definition 9: The ball used in any game called "football". Second, your premise is mistaken. Commentators do call it the "ball". From http://www.pbs.org/...
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