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Xs and Os: Football Terms Part 2

Football Terms Part 2

Hail Mary
A desperation high, arching pass thrown a gazillon yards toward the end zone in hopes of scoring at the end of a half because a team is hopelessly behind or at the end of a game in hopes the pass will be completed and the game will be won in a last ditch effort.

Simply put – it is a prayer (the play will work). And it is usually pure chaos since the offense has at least three players waiting to (hopefully) catch the ball and the defense has at least five players trying to keep it from being caught!
Trivia – In 1996, Mark Brunell (who was playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars) completed three Hail Mary passes – one at the end of the first half and two at the end of the game. The third one, which would have won the game for the Jags ended up being one yard short of the end zone.
Most call it a football, or pigskin. But officially it is a pebble-grained leather prolate spheroid. An official NFL football is inflated between 14-15 ounces and is between 11-11 ¼ inches long. The ball has tapered ends and is aerodynamically designed to spin after it is thrown. A quarterback must put a tight spin on the ball to keep it pointed in the same direction while in flight (referred to as a spiral). The home football team supplies the ball for each game and must have a certain number available for open-air stadiums and a smaller certain number available for dome stadiums. Fascinating, huh?

Trivia – The football evolved from the rugby ball which evolved from the soccer ball.

Nickel Package
All teams have different and certain formations when they are playing both offense and defense. Often times commentators will say “the nickel” or “play the nickel” or the “nickel package” (as in five-cents). It means replacing one player with another (on defense) who is called the “nickel back”. That person, for that play acts like a shadow covering a receiver who might have the ball thrown to him. The nickel package is used when the offense needs to throw the ball in an effort to gain a lot of yards to try and get a first down. If a team isn’t in the nickel formation, chances are good that they will run the ball or throw a short pass where that extra person isn’t needed.

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