In gridiron football, a reception, also known informally as a catch, is part of a passing play in which a player in bounds successfully catches (receives) a forward pass thrown from a friendly quarterback behind the line of scrimmage. After making the catch, the receiver will then proceed to run towards the opposing end zone carrying the ball and try to score a touchdown, unless the play ends due to him being downed or forced out of bounds. Yardage gained from the passing play are credited to the catcher as his receiving yards.
If the pass is not caught by anyone, it is called an incomplete pass or simply an "incompletion". If the pass is caught by an opposing player, it is called an interception.
A reception should not be confused with a lateral, also known as a lateral pass or backward pass, which is a legal pass anywhere on the field. In a lateral pass, the ball is thrown backwards or sideways to a teammate with no vector of the pass trajectory towards the opponent's goal line.
Canadian football is a sport played in Canada in which two teams of 12 players each compete for territorial control of a field of play 110 yards (101 m) long and 65 yards (59 m) wide attempting to advance a pointed oval-shaped ball into the opposing team's scoring area.
In several forms of football a forward pass is a throwing of the ball in the direction that the offensive team is trying to move, towards the defensive team's goal line. The forward pass is one of the main distinguishers between gridiron football in which the play is legal and widespread, and rugby football from which the North American games evolved, in which the play is illegal.
In gridiron football, a lateral pass or lateral occurs when the ball carrier throws the football to a teammate in a direction parallel to or away from the opponents' goal line. A lateral pass is distinguished from a forward pass, in which the ball is thrown forward, towards the opposition's end zone. In a lateral pass the ball is not advanced, but unlike a forward pass a lateral may be attempted from anywhere on the field by any player to any player at any time.
A touchdown is a scoring play in gridiron football. Whether running, passing, returning a kickoff or punt, or recovering a turnover, a team scores a touchdown by advancing the ball into the opponent's end zone.
Rushing is an action taken by the offense that means to advance the ball by running with it, as opposed to passing, or kicking.
A wide receiver (WR), also referred to as a wideout, formerly a split end, is an eligible receiver in gridiron football. A key skill position of the offense, it gets its name from the player being split out "wide", farthest away from the rest of the offensive formation.
Strategy forms a major part of American football. Both teams plan many aspects of their plays (offense) and response to plays (defense), such as what formations they take, who they put on the field, and the roles and instructions each player are given. Throughout a game, each team adapts to the other's apparent strengths and weaknesses, trying various approaches to outmaneuver or overpower their opponent in order to win the game.
In gridiron football, clock management is the manipulation of a game clock and play clock to achieve a desired result, typically near the end of a match. It is analogous to "running out the clock" seen in many sports, and the act of trying to hasten the game's end is often referred to by this term. Clock management strategies are a significant part of American football, where an elaborate set of rules dictates when the game clock stops between downs, and when it continues to run.
An incomplete pass is a term in gridiron football which means that a legal forward pass hits the ground before a player on either team gains possession. For example, if the quarterback throws the ball to one of his wide receivers, and the receiver either does not touch it or tries to catch it unsuccessfully, it is ruled as an incomplete pass. An incomplete pass causes the down to advance by one and the offensive team gains no yards. The game clock is stopped.
A trick play, also known as a gadget play, gimmick play or trickeration, is a play in gridiron football that uses deception and unorthodox tactics to fool the opposing team. A trick play is often risky, offering the potential for a large gain or a touchdown if it is successful, but with the chance of a significant loss of yards or a turnover if not. Trick plays are rarely used not only because of the riskiness, but also to maintain the element of surprise for when they are used.
A comparison between American football and rugby league is possible because of their shared origins and similar game concepts. Rugby league is arguably the most similar sport to American football after Canadian football: both sports involve the concept of a limited number of downs/tackles and scoring touchdowns/tries takes clear precedence over goal-kicking.
In American football a play is a close to the ground "plan of action" or "strategy" used to move the ball down the field. A play begins at either the snap from the center or at kickoff. Most commonly plays occur at the snap during a down. These plays range from basic to very intricate. Football players keep a record of these plays in their playbook.
In American football, a completion or completed pass occurs when an eligible receiver successfully catches a forward pass thrown by the quarterback without the ball touching the ground. It is one of the three possible outcomes of any pass thrown during a passing play, with the other two being incompletion and interception.
The following terms are used in American football, both conventional and indoor. Some of these terms are also in use in Canadian football; for a list of terms unique to that code, see Glossary of Canadian football.
A comparison of Canadian football and rugby union is possible because of the games' shared origins, despite their dissimilarities.
In sports, out of bounds refers to being outside the playing boundaries of the field. Due to the chaotic nature of play, it is normal in many sports for players and/or the ball to go out of bounds frequently during a game. The legality of going out of bounds, and the ease of prevention, vary by sport. In some cases, players may intentionally go or send the ball out of bounds when it is to their advantage.
Schleuderball is a sport that originated in the Northwest Germany. It is played by two teams consisting of anywhere from two to eight players. The object of the game is to throw the ball into the opponents end zone. The game is played on a field that is 100-meters long by 15-meters wide. The Schleuderball itself is a 1.5 kilogram leather ball with an attached strap. The primary throw, called a schleuder, is performed by swinging the ball around by the strap, gaining centrifugal force, and releasing in the direction of the opponent's goal. A different type of throw, called a shock, can be thrown by the player who catches an opponent's throw. The two teams alternate schleuders back and forth until one team gets the ball to land inbounds beyond the opponent's goal line.
In gridiron football, a punt is a kick performed by dropping the ball from the hands and then kicking the ball before it hits the ground. The most common use of this tactic is to punt the ball downfield to the opposing team, usually on the final down, with the hope of giving the receiving team a field position that is more advantageous to the kicking team when possession changes. The result of a typical punt, barring any penalties or extraordinary circumstances, is a first down for the receiving team. A punt is not to be confused with a drop kick, a kick after the ball hits the ground, now rare in both American and Canadian football.
A route is a pattern or path that a receiver in gridiron football runs to get open for a forward pass. Routes are usually run by wide receivers, running backs and tight ends, but other positions can act as a receiver given the play.