What in living hell has happened to the vernacular of NFL and college football play-by-play announcers and color analysts? Had the average football fan just awakened from a 5 year coma, he would need a dictionary. Heck—we need a dictionary and we’ve been exposed to this gibberish for some time now. We put these terms into two categories:
1) Invented “cool-sounding” terms (instead of simple ones) that an announcer uses to make himself sound “chic.”
2) “Coachspeak,” leaving the average viewer who has never played organized football wondering what the hell these announcers are talking about because they don’t explain what the lingo means (ESPN’s Jon Gruden is a huge “coach-speaker”).
So below are 10 terms and their translations; some are obvious—but others, not so much.
1. “Put it on the ground” = Fumble
2. “Going vertical” & “High-pointing the football” = Jumping
3. “Running downhill” = Running forward
4. “Throwing vertically” = Throwing downfield
5. “Leverage the linebackers” = Get open in the secondary (away from the linebackers)
6. ”The second level” = The secondary
7 . “Double A Gap” (a Gruden favorite) = The 2 spaces between the centers and guards. This term has been around football forever but only recently have commentators used it with regularity. (Note: The “B Gaps” are the spaces between the guards and tackles. The “C Gaps” are the spaces between the tackles and tight ends.)
8. “Bubble” screen (Announcers never explain the difference between a “bubble” and just a plain old screen pass) = When the pass is thrown to the receiver IMMEDIATELY as opposed to a normal screen when a QB waits for the play to develop before he throws the pass.
9. “Spider-2 Y Banana” (another Gruden favorite) = When an offensive team lines up in a power running formation, the QB fakes a handoff to the halfback, and throws to the fullback who should be open in the secondary. If he isn’t, the QB has secondary options to throw to (hopefully).
10. “Setting an edge” = On defense, it’s a point where a defensive player doesn’t allow an offensive play to go outside of him, thereby forcing the play to the inside. On offense, it’s when a lineman blocks the defense so the play can get outside—therefore—he is “setting the edge.”
What are football announcer terms that annoy you? Let us know below.