On-Field Positions, Play and Penalty Terminology Glossary

Canadian football and football in general have on-field and play terminology unique to the sport and difficult to understand for newcomers. For new or curious fans CFLdb provides this glossary of some phrases and their definitions. This page will continue to be expanded and improved based on queries; you can help improve and add to this section by contacting CFLdb with terms and phrases you would like added or explained or just send suggestions for improvement.

See the glossary page on roster terminology. Please see the FAQ for answers to questions beyond terminology such as schedules, players, rosters and compensation. The rulebook is the best resource for penalty and foul terminology.

See also Paul LaPolice’s explanation of offensive line on-field coverage terminology and A to Z glossary of CFL terms.

Explaining complicated terminology succinctly is a challenge. This glossary is meant to provide an introduction to individuals new to the game, not provide complete information on all responsibilities of roles, background and history of a term. Positional responsibilities are complex, and I do not attempt to cover all possible roles or usages for each position, instead focusing on the basics and traditions of Canadian football, which differs from other brands of the gridiron game.

Have I made a mistake? Send your corrections to prevent the spread of misinformation.

Scoring

(See Rule 3 Scoring – Section 1 — Table of Scores and Rule 3 Scoring – Section 2 — Definitions for complete details and definitions.

Convert (1-point or 2-point)
Teams scoring a touchdown are granted one opportunity (down) to convert the touchdown for extra points. Kicking the ball through the uprights from the 25-yard line via a drop kick or place kick results in a single point. Having possession of the ball in the opponent’s end zone after a scrimmage from the 3-yard line results in a 2-point convert.
A 1-point convert is commonly referred to as a convert, PAT (point after attempt), or extra point.
Field Goal
Kicking the ball through the opponent’s uprights from a drop kick or place kick (held on ground) results in a score for the kicking team worth three points
Safety (Safety Touch)
A safety touch is scored by the opposing team when the ball becomes dead in possession of a team in it’s own end zone. This results in a score of two points for the opponent.
Single Point (Rouge)
A single point is scored when a ball is kicked into the end zone and the ball becomes dead in the receiving team’s end zone or the ball crosses the end line or a sideline in goal. The exception to this is the kickoff, which requires the ball to be touched before crossing the end line or a sideline in goal or the ball to become dead in the goal area to score a single point.
A rouge (in my understanding) originally was the term used when a player attempted but failed to return a kicked ball out of the end zone e.g. “Jones was rouged fielding the punt in his goal area”, while other single points would be scored as kick to deadline. The term rouge, which is red in French, may have come from a red signal an official used to indicate the ball carrier did not exit the end zone before being tackled.
Touchdown (major, major score, six)
A player in possession of the ball in the opponent’s end zone results in a score for the team in possession worth six points.

On-Field Positions

These definitions are meant as an introduction to the unfamiliar. There are nuances and subtleties to the rules surrounding positions and movement not covered here. To understand these fully, please see the rulebook.

Offence

Offence
When a team has possession of the ball at the snap, they are on offence, or attack. Offensive teams have three downs (tries or snaps of the ball) to gain 10 yards. Successfully gaining 10 yards or more grants the offensive team an additional three downs and remain on offence.
Offensive Line
Five players make up the offensive line, lined up on the line of scrimmage. Line players must be motionless before the snap. Two additional players (ends) must line up on the line of scrimmage to meet the requirements of seven players on the line. The five O-linemen are ineligible receivers and must wear a jersey number of an ineligible receiver, 50-69.
Centre (C)
Player in the centre of the offensive line whose duty it is to snap the ball between his legs to the quarterback to start each play from scrimmage.
Guard (Right and Left) (OG, ORG, OLG)
Players immediately on either side of the centre, part of the offensive line.
Tackle (Right and Left) (OT, RT, LT, ORT, OLT)
Players on the ends of the offensive line, on the outside of each guard.
Quarterback (QB), Pivot
Player behind the centre who takes the snap to start each play from scrimmage.
Running back (RB)
Player in the backfield who can accept handoffs/pitches on a running play, block or escape the backfield as a receiver.
Fullback (FB)
A bulkier, bigger running back whose primary purpose may be to block but also may receive the ball on a running or passing play. CFL offences normally do not deploy a fullback in all scrimmage situations, deploying a fifth receiver instead.
Tight end (TE)
Tight ends are normally deployed at the ends of the line of scrimmage, tight to the line (next to a tackle). They count as the 6th and 7th men on the line of scrimmage or they can be lined up 1 yard off the line of scrimmage and other players technically occupy the end positions. Single or double tight end formations are normally only seen in short yardage or special formations in the CFL.
Slotback (SB), Slot
The inside receivers, closest to the quarterback. Slotbacks, as backfield players, are allowed unlimited motion and regularly “waggle” or move towards the line of scrimmage before the snap.
Wide Receiver (WR), Wideout
The receivers widest on either side of the field. Normally they line up on the line of scrimmage, but can be in motion before the snap.


Defence

Defence
When a team does not have the ball at the snap of the ball, they are on defence, or defending the attack. The point of defence is to stop the offensive team from gaining 10 yards in three downs or gaining possession of the ball, which when successful allows their offence to scrimmage the ball and go on the attack.
Defensive Line (DL)
In a 4-3 defence, there are 4 defensive linemen. In a 3-4 defence, there are 3 defensive linemen.
Defensive end (DE)
Defensive player on either end of the defensive line.
Rush end (RE)
Defensive end whose primary purpose is to rush the quarterback, usually from a stand up position rather than a down lineman. The rush end is normally positioned on the wide or strong-side of the field.
Quick end (QE)
Defensive end whose primary purpose is to rush the quarterback. The quick end is normally positioned on the weak-side of the field.
Defensive tackle (DT)
Defensive player in the centre of the defensive line (2 tackles in a 4-3 defence).
Nose tackle (NT)
Defensive tackle in the centre of the defensive line (1 tackle in a 3-4 defence).
Linebackers (LB)
Players behind the defensive line providing run and pass support. In a 4-3 defence, there are 3 linebackers. In a 3-4 defence, there are 4 linebackers. In the neo-modern CFL, with offences running five receiver sets, a defensive back plays a linebacker position with the responsibility of covering the fifth receiver.
Weak-side linebacker (WILL, WLB)
In the neo-modern CFL, the weak-side linebacker will be located on the side of field with fewer receivers in the formation, normally the short side of the field. The weak-side linebacker has responsibilities for covering the running back (both pass and run), the extra receiver in six receiver formations and rushing the passer. The actual lineup position of the weak-side linebacker will vary depending on scheme and play responsibility. Positional responsibilities are complex, vary by scheme implemented and I do not attempt to cover all possible roles for this position.
Traditionally, the linebacker who plays the weak-side (short side of the field created when the ball is located on a hash mark) of the field.
Middle Linebacker (MAC, Mike, MLB)
Linebacker who plays the middle linebacker position. Primary focus is filling gaps in the line to stop the run and rushing the passer. Positional responsibilities are complex, and I do not attempt to cover all possible roles for this position.
Strong-side linebacker (SAM, SLB)
In the neo-modern CFL, the strong-side linebacker is a defensive back in a linebacker position, who will cover the fifth receiver in the offensive formation, likely on the wide side of the field. Most often the SLB lines up on the side with the greater number of receivers, but may be tasked with covering a specific receiver and will follow his assignment in the formation. Some teams/coaches use the terminology NICKEL or DIME linebacker for this position. Positional responsibilities are complex, vary by scheme implemented and I do not attempt to cover all possible roles for this position.
Traditionally, the linebacker who plays the strong-side (wide side of the field created when the ball is located on a hash mark) of the field.
Defensive back (DB)
Sometimes refers to all defensive coverage players, or also the inside coverage players responsible for covering inside receivers or territory of the field.
(Defensive) Halfback (DHB, HB)
Ambiguous term that has fallen out of usage. Could refer to a running back or the inside defensive back. Normally prefixed as Defensive Halfback to indicate the player covering the inside receivers (normally slotbacks).
Cornerback (CB)
Defensive back responsible for covering the outside receivers or territory of the field.
Safety (S) (aka Free safety FS)
The defensive back in the middle of the formation.
A safety, or safety touch, is also a scoring play where the defence tackles a ball carrier who has retreated into his own end zone.
Secondary
The defensive backs (DB, DHB, CB, S) in the defensive formation, the secondary line of defence. The first line of defence, the linemen and linebackers are usually referred to as the front seven.
Nickelback/Dimeback
In the modern CFL, with default offensive formations including five receivers, some defences call the starting strong-side linebacker the Nickel linebacker position. This linebacker tends to have pass coverage responsibilities, is sometimes called a tweener and is sized more like a defensive back than a traditional linebacker. The position occupied is still an outside linebacker in the front seven of the defence.
Traditionally, extra defensive backs that enter the game in obvious passing situations, replacing a linebacker. Since the CFL normally deploys five defensive backs, Nickelback (named for the fifth DB, i.e. nickel) is a misnomer for the sixth DB in Canada (the term is borrowed from the US). Before the adoption of starting five receiver/one back sets, Nickelback was used for a sixth DB replacing a linebacker and Dimeback was the name for a seventh DB replacing a linebacker in prevent defences when offences were in definite passing situations due to score, time and distance to goal.


Special Teams

Special Teams
Specials teams is the team that is neither offence or defence. Special teams plays are kicking plays, both kicking and receiving, so all punts, field goals, 1-point converts and kickoffs would be considered special team plays.
Holder
The player that receives the snap from centre and holds the ball on field goal attempts. A holder is not a dedicated position, it can be filled by a receiver, quarterback, punter or other player.
Kicker (K)
A player that specializes on place kicking duties, that is field goal attempts. Kickers will also sometimes perform kickoff duties. When a player performs both kicking and punting duties, they are normally listed as K/P.
Kick Returner (KR)
A player that specializes on kick return duties, returning punts, kick offs and/or missed field goal returns. A team may deploy different players for different types of returns and even multiple players on different returns depending on the conditions and situation.
Long Snapper (LS)
A long snapper is a specialized centre who snaps the ball on special teams plays, field goal attempts and or punts. The technique and actions of this position are so unique that a dedicated role has developed on most teams, usually out of a backup, as rosters have grown.
Punter (P)
A player that specializes on punting duties. When a player performs both kicking and punting duties, they are normally listed as K/P.


Field Terminology

Boundary side, boundary corner
The short side of the field. See weak side. For example, boundary corner.
Contain
Defensive players, usually the defensive ends, are responsible for containing the quarterback in the pocket by getting upfield first, rather than taking a direct path to the quarterback to cut off routes for the quarterback to roll-out. The mobility of the quarterback, and therefore the risk of he escaping the pocket, determines how much contain is required.
Deadline
The line signifying the back of the End Zone, 20 yards from the Goal Line.
End Zone (Goal Area)
The areas of the field bordered by the Goal Line, Deadline and Sidelines in Goal. There are two end zones, one at each end of the field. The purpose of the game is to move the ball towards the opponents end zone; moving the ball across the goal line results in a score.
Field of Play
The area of the field bounded by the goal lines and sidelines. The field of play is 110 yards long and 65 yards wide.
Field side, field side corner
The wide side of the field. See strong side. For example, field side corner.
Goal Line
The lines marking the end of the field of play, representing the start of the end zone. There are two goal lines, each 55 yards from centre field or 110 yards apart. Crossing the opponent’s goal line with the ball results in a score.
Goal Posts
Apparatus situated on each goal line, with two posts 18 feet, 6 inches apart and 30 feet high with a crossbar 10 feet above ground level. Kicking the ball from the ground through the goal posts results in a field goal.
Hash marks
The dashed yard markings 24 yards from each sideline. The position of the ball at scrimmage must always be on or between the hash marks, so when the ball carrier is tackled between the hash marks and sideline, the ball moves to the nearest hash mark for the next scrimmage. With the field 65 yards wide, there is 17 yards between the hash marks. When the ball is on the hash marks, there is 24 yards from the centre to the near sideline, and 41 yards from the centre to the far sideline.
Neutral zone
The 1-yard space between the offensive line of scrimmage and the defence. Defensive players are not allowed to be in the neutral zone when the ball is snapped. See Rule 4, Section 1, Article 4
Out of Touch
Out of bounds
Passer
The player who throws a forward pass. In most instances, this refers to the Quarterback, however, any of the backfield players are eligible to throw a forward pass under the same restrictions as the quarterback, and would be the passer on the play and receive passing statistics.
Plane
The goal line plane. An invisible plane extending upwards from the front of the goal line stripe across the width of the field. The ball touching or breaks this plane, a touchdown is scored. See also the FAQ.
A flat surface on which a straight line joining any two points on it would wholly lie.
Pocket
The space formed behind the offensive line for the quarterback on a throwing play. The tackles, guards and centre form a rough semi-circle for protection in front of the quarterback, this is called the pocket. When the quarterback throws from the pocket, he is throwing from behind the offensive linemen. The passer is afforded extra protection while in the pocket, with rules restricting contact at or below the knees.
Red zone
Inside the 20 yard line of the opposition for the offence. This is the scoring zone, with the expectation to score touchdowns when reaching this position on the field. Also called the green zone or the go zone.
Roll-out
The quarterback running left or right out of the pocket, usually planned, to avoid the rush and throw a pass.
Sidelines
The lines marking the sides of the field, perpendicular to the yard lines. Sidelines represent the long side boundary of the playing field.
Strong side
In the neo-modern CFL, the side of field with more receivers (in non-symmetrical formations, i.e. five receiver sets), likely the wide-side of the field.
Traditionally, when formations were symmetrical, the wide-side of the field. When the ball is placed on a hashmark, it creates unequal widths of the field from the centre’s point of scrimmage, one wide and one short. Can be used to refer to a position, for example, strong side linebacker.
See also field side.
Weak side
In the neo-modern CFL, the side of the field with fewer receivers (in non-symmetrical formations, i.e. five receiver sets), likely the short-side of the field.
Traditionally, when formations were symmetrical, the short-side of the field. When the ball is placed on a hashmark, it creates unequal widths of the field from the centre’s point of snap, one wide and one short. Can be used to refer to a position, for example, weak side linebacker.
See also boundary side.
Yard Lines
The yard lines are marked across the width of the field parallel to the goal lines, 5 yards apart.


Play Terminology

Audible
After calling a play in the huddle and lining up in formation, the quarterback may decide to call an audible at the line of scrimmage once reviewing the defence. In barking the signals, he will indicate with a signal the play is changing and the signal for what the new play is.
Called an audible because the play is audible or heard by the defence, meaning the audible indicator and plays must be changed game-to-game to prevent defences from associating audible signals to play calls.
Changing the play at the line of scrimmage is usually done to exploit a particular defence or avoid a good defensive formation for the play called, and would involve a major difference in the primary purpose of the play. Most offences use condition branching in route trees and play-action/rushing plays, which are dependent on the individual defensive coverage/reaction and not audibles.
Blitz
A defensive blitz is the attempt by the defence to send at least one more player rushing the passer than there are blockers, hopefully allowing a player an unblocked path to the quarterback. Play-by-play announcers and commentators often use the term blitz whenever five or more players (four lineman plus linebackers and defensive backs) rush the quarterback, though this is technically incorrect as there are always five offensive linemen for blocking.
Block
The act of legally impeding the opposition from reaching the ball carrier. Referred to as interference in the Rulebook due to the history of the game.
Blocked field goal/punt
Making contact with a punt or field goal attempt after it leaves the kicker’s foot but before it crosses the line of scrimmage. A blocked ball that crosses the line of scrimmage is partially blocked, while one that doesn’t cross the line is blocked.
Convert, PAT, Extra Point
After scoring a touchdown, teams receive an additional opportunity to add to their score. Starting in 2015, they may choose to kick for a single point from the 25-yard line (32 yard placement) or run or pass the ball from the 3-yard line for a 2-point score. Teams have one opportunity to execute the convert attempt, barring penalty. Previous to 2015, teams received one down from the 5-yard line with the option to kick, run or pass. Teams normally choose to kick for the single point unless they are behind or the score is such that a 2-point score is more valuable. In overtime in the CFL, teams must attempt a two point convert.
If the defence recovers a blocked kick, fumble or interception and returns it across the opposition goal line, they score the two points.
When successful, the touchdown is called a converted touchdown. For statistical purposes the kicked convert is sometimes called the Point After Touchdown (PAT).
Counter play
A running play where the direction of the play starts in one direction only to reverse in the other direction. This may occur by the running back running one direction before the handoff, only to reverse direction or another player creates the misdirection and the ball is given to a player heading in the opposite direction. Sometimes some blocking players pull in the opposite direction of the actual runner to further disguise the play.
Down
One of three plays the offence gets to try to gain 10 yards to achieve another set of three downs. Teams move down the field this way attempting to cross the opponents goal line to score a major score or touchdown. A down begins with the snap of the ball and ends with either the ball carrier tackled or out of bounds, a score made or an incomplete pass.
Draw play
A delayed handoff to a running back, who appears to be staying in the backfield to block. The delay allows the defence to move into pass defensive positions, opening up room for the RB. Often used in passing situations such as second or third and long when a rushing play is unexpected.
Empty backfield
The backfield is empty of running backs, either initially or by motion.
End-around
An end (usually the wide receiver in the end position on the line, but can be a slotback in the CFL) moves through the backfield and accepts a pitch or handoff heading for the opposite side of the field.
Flat
The area between the line of scrimmage and 10 yards downfield within 15 yards of the sidelines, usually on the wide-side of the field. Running backs can release into the flat as the safety valve receiver and wide receivers run quick outs and hitch passes in this area.
Flea flicker
A deceptive play intended to draw the defence towards the line to defend the run then throw a pass. The quarterback will hand off the ball to a running back, who as he approaches the line will turn and pitch the ball back to the quarterback. The quarterback then throws a pass to a hopefully undefended receiver. If the defence does not bite and defenders stay with their receivers, the quarterback may not have a receiver to throw to and may take a loss. Other variations include the RB sweeping to the side of the field and throwing a lateral back to the quarterback before crossing the line of scrimmage.
Forward pass
A forward pass is one that is not a lateral, but moves forward towards the opponent’s deadline. A forward pass is dead upon striking the ground before being caught. There is no consideration for how a pass is thrown, underhand, overhand, sidearm to determine whether it is live or not. Only the direction of the pass matters. That is why an overhand pass parallel to the line of scrimmage or backward is a live ball, the same as a pitch-out and a pitch forward (shovel pass) to a receiver that falls incomplete is an incomplete pass.
Fumble
The loss of the ball before being tackled, which is a live ball able to be recovered by either team. Forced fumbles, fumbles lost and fumbles recovered are all tracked statistically.
I Formation
Traditionally a double-back set lined up behind each other directly behind the QB under centre. In the modern CFL, a single RB behind the QB, either under centre or in the shotgun (rarely seen) could be called an I Formation.
Incomplete
A pass that falls to the ground without being caught is incomplete. The ball is then dead and the down over.
Interception (idioms: pick, picked off)
A defensive player who catches a pass thrown by the offence has intercepted the ball. Interceptions are tracked for both quarterbacks and defensive players.
Lateral
A pass that is parallel or backwards towards the offensive team’s deadline. As this is not a forward pass, the ball is live and not dead if it hits the ground.
Naked bootleg
A outside run by the quarterback to an open side of the field with no blocking help, such as pulling linemen. Called a Sally Rand in many Damon Allen team play books in the 1990’s after the burlesque dancer of the same name.
Play action
A fake handoff to a RB in order to draw the defence in and set up the pass.
Punt
A ball dropped from a player’s hands and kicked before it touches the ground. When faced with their last (third) down and long yardage to gain, teams will punt the football to the opposition rather than risk turning the ball over to the other team at the point of scrimmage if they fail to gain the necessary yardage.
Quarterback Draw
A delayed running play executed by the Quarterback. In today’s CFL, the QB will receive the snap from centre in the shotgun formation, pause for a moment before running off-centre depending on the play design. Offensive linemen in pass protection are responsible for passively opening up a path in the middle of the line. Rarely seen today, but in the past QB’s under centre would complete their 3 or 5 step drop before rushing the ball. Quarterback draws are used in passing situations (such as second and long) and use receiver routes to pull defenders out of the middle of the field to be successful. See also, Draw play.
Quick Kick
Any punt from an offensive formation on a down other than third down. Usually executed on second and long, where the quarterback or another player will receive the ball from centre and quickly punt the ball downfield, with the hope that onside players (which includes the kicker) may be able to recover, get a good bounce (perhaps wind assisted) or at least catch the defence off guard and limit the return. Recovering a kick that crosses the line of scrimmage counts as a change of possession, and therefore a new set of downs for the recovering team, no matter if they gained the full yards needed for a first down. Rarely seen in the modern era as players became more specialized and kicking skills are undeveloped. Today, a five yard gain on second and thirty and punt on third down would be seen as positive plays and less risky.
Reverse
A handoff to a RB or receiver who then hands off to a receiver running the opposite way. An end-around, where a receiver receives a hand-off in the backfield moving from one side of the field to another is often incorrectly called a reverse.
Rush
The defensive players pursuing the QB is called the rush.
Rushing play
A running play, that is a hand-off or pitch to another player, or the QB running the ball after receiving the snap. Yards gained on the ground are called rushing yards.
Sack
Tackling the quarterback (with the ball) behind the line of scrimmage is called a sack and is a statistical category tracked for defensive players. See Section 16 of the Statistical Scoring Rules for details on what qualifies and is recorded as a sack.
Screen pass
A play where offensive lineman release their blocks and the QB throws a short pass to a player who has blockers in front. A centre screen would be a pass to a RB with OL blockers. A hitch screen or hitch pass would be to a WR behind the line of scrimmage (but not usually a lateral) with other receivers in position to block defensive backs.
Shotgun formation
The QB about 5 yards behind centre to receive the snap instead of directly behind the centre. Except short yardage situations, almost all snaps from centre in the CFL are now from the shotgun formation. This evolved over the past 30 years, when the opposite was true.
Shovel pass
A short, underhand forward pass to a RB or receiver between the tackles. If the pass is incomplete, the ball is dead as a forward pass. The underhand flip of the ball looks like the QB is shovelling the ball forward.
Statue of Liberty
Traditionally, the QB must pump fake to one side of the field while handing off the ball to a RB or receiver behind his back with his other hand. In the CFL, play-by-play men will call any pump fake and handoff a Statue of Liberty play.
Stunt
A defensive maneuver where players switch positions at the snap of the ball in order to confuse the blockers. This may involve a lineman dropping into a linebacker role while the linebacker rushes the quarterback or the switching of two players rushing the quarterback, with one looping behind the other in his path to the quarterback. This crossing of players during the rush is also called a trade, twist, or loop.
Sweep
An outside run by a quarterback or running back with blocking help from pulling guards or other offensive linemen. The ball carrier runs parallel to the line of scrimmage until blocks are in place allowing them to turn up field.
Waggle
A waggle is the motion of a receiver towards the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped. Slotbacks generally take a running start towards the line of scrimmage, timing their arrival with the snap of the ball. I believe Don Matthews coined this term as an assistant coach in Edmonton, later stating his wide receivers would waggle and his slotbacks would wiggle, when he expounded on his philosophy as new head coach of the BC Lions in 1983. The waggle became the descriptor for the slotbacks’ running start as it became adopted across the league.
YAC
Yards after catch, or the amount the receiver gains after receiving the ball before being tackled. If a player is thrown a pass 10 yards down field and runs 40 yards to score, the 50 yard passing play would have 40 YAC yards credited to the receiver.


Rules and Penalties

Horse Collar Tackle
An unnecessary roughness major foul (Rule 7 — Fouls & Penalties – Section 2 — Major Fouls – Article 3 — Unnecessary Roughness Point (k)) for tackling an opponent by grabbing the inside collar on the side or back of the shoulder pads. The term “horse collar tackle” does not appear in the rulebook, instead it is a lexicalized concept that summarizes the idea of this rule. A horse collar is a harness used on a horse to distribute the load around its neck. The term is used as the jersey/shoulder pads around a players neck resembles grabbing a horse collar in this manner. The penalty is meant to protect players from harm as pulling a player down from the collar has had a high rate of injury.
Illegal Procedure
A penalty on the offence that covers many pre-snap illegal formation or movement penalties on the offence. Most often refers to an offensive lineman moving before the snap of the ball.
No Yards
Refers to the penalty on an offside player (a player who is ahead of the kicker when the ball is kicked) for encroaching within a imaginary circle with a 5-yard radius with its centre at the point a receiving team player first touches the ball.
Suplex Tackle
An unnecessary roughness major foul (Rule 7 — Fouls & Penalties – Section 2 — Major Fouls – Article 3 — Unnecessary Roughness Point (r)) for throwing the ball carrier to the ground. The term “suplex tackle” does not appear in the rulebook, instead it is a lexicalized concept that summarizes the idea of this rule. Taken from wrestling terminology, a suplex is a move involving lifting an opponent and bridging or rolling the opponent to slam them on their back.
Time Count Violation
Failure by the offensive team to get the ball snapped before the 20 second play clock expires. Time count penalties result in the loss of 5 yards and down repeated during most of the game. In the last 3 minutes of each half, the penalty is loss of down if first or second down or loss of 10 yards if third down.
Tourist Hit
An unnecessary roughness major foul (Rule 7 — Fouls & Penalties – Section 2 — Major Fouls – Article 3 — Unnecessary Roughness Point (s)) for hitting an opponent who is out of the play, or should not have reasonably expected the contact before or after the ball is dead. The term “tourist hit” does not appear in the rulebook, instead it is a lexicalized concept that summarizes the idea of this rule.
Trapped Ball
A ball that strikes the ground before entering the receivers hands, or where the ground is used to assist catching the ball, which results in an incomplete pass. The ball must be cleanly caught, meaning it does not touch the ground during the initial process of gaining possession of the ball. Only after possession is gained may a player have the ball touch the ground.