Hey you, UK Super Bowl Watcher! Staying up to watch American Football, but have no idea what you’re getting yourself into?
Well, grab your coffee and oversized novelty foam finger, because we’ve got the translation guide for you.
The Super Bowl: Okay, if you don’t know this one, you’re really lost. It’s the big game, of course. Lots of shouts of DEFENCE, OFFENCE, TOUCHDOWN.
Think the stop-start of cricket, the pure violence of rugby, and the armour of Mediaeval Combat re-enactment.
- Touchdown (six points) - A touchdown is scored when a team crosses the opposition's goal line with the ball or catches or collects the ball in the end zone. It’s like a try, without the player getting a nice lie down. If people are going wild, it’s probably because of this.
- Field Goal (three points) – these usually happen on a fourth down if the kicker is close enough to the end zone to kick the ball through the posts
- Extra point (one or two points) – Here we go, something more familiar. Like a rugby conversion, the point is earned by kicking the ball through some posts. Good ol’ kicking balls through posts.
- Safety (two points) – Awarded to the defensive team when a member of the offensive team is tacked with the ball in the player’s end zone.
The half time show: The reason why people watch. That, and the adverts. Think all the biggest and best performances, from the biggest and best stars. And Maroon 5.
Scrimmage: Basically, just a weird way of saying scrum. Scrimmage sounds like a board game a Victorian grandmother would play.
Sack: An instance of tackling the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage. Oof, ouch, I felt that one.
Weak-Side: The side of the offensive line that has the fewest players, particularly on teams that use one tight end. Also my nickname in high school.
Blitz: No, not that Blitz. This one is when a defensive player leaves their normal position to rush the passer. I can almost hear the air raid sirens.
Muff: This is when a player has attempted to catch the ball but didn’t. So, when you hear an announcer say “so-and-so has muffed it”, they’re not being rude. Promise.
Audible: When a quarterback changes the play at the line of scrimmage before the snap based on something he saw with the defence. Also a pretty good audiobook platform.
Sudden Death: This one’s probably not going to be literal. Or maybe it is, you never know what those Americans are up to. This one specifically is a coin toss used to decide an issue or contest.
Shotgun: Wouldn’t be American football without a shotgun. This occurs when the quarterback takes a few steps back behind the line of scrimmage in anticipation of the snap, which is called the shotgun formation. The shotgun sprays the receivers all over the field.
Hail Mary: A Hail Mary is a last-second pass to try and escape the clutches of defeat or close out the first half of football. It’s also what your R.E studies teacher would get you to say just before your GCSEs.
Wildcat: An offence that is positioned so that either the quarterback or the running back can take the centre’s shotgun snap. Wildcats everywhere, Wave your hands up in the air. That's the way we do it, Let's get to it, time to show the world.
Pooch Punt: This one worried me, too. It’s not about kicking any dogs, promise. It’s actually a short punt designed to avoid highly skilled kick returners.
The Quarterback: Think Troy in High School Musical. The VIP. The Big Dog.
Offence/Defence: Don’t even try it. It's like trying to explain offside, but even harder. I refuse to try.