Football terminology

I spent several years away from watching football, both college and NFL, and now find terms I never heard before and do not understand. Can someone help me?

What does “run the table” mean, as in “Buffalo will have to run the table to get in the playoffs.”?

Also the term "hat on hat’; does that mean man-to-man coverage? Or does it refer to the apparently new rule against helmet to helmet blocking and tackling?

Other terms I understand but never heard until recently are “pick six” and “three and out”.

Run the table: to win all of your remaining games.
Hat on hat: helmet to helmet contact.
Pick six: an interception returned for a touchdown.
Three and out: to not gain a first down after the first 3 downs of a series, and being forced to punt.

To win all of the rest of the games on your regular-season schedule.

The latter is correct; it’s a helmet-to-helmet hit.

“Pick six” is a pretty recent term; it refers to an interception (“pick”) that’s returned for a touchdown.

“Three and out” has been around for quite a while, though you may not have noticed it before. It refers to the offense starting a drive, running three plays, failing to get a first down, and punting.

Thanks, guys! Ignorance is forced to punt from deep in its own territory!

Hat on hat is usually used in the context of everyone manning up (in a testosterone sense, not a coverage sense) and just beating the guy across from you. As in, the Xs and Os will only take you so far; at some point it comes down to hat on hat. I’ve never heard the expression “hat on hat” in reference to a big helmet to helmet collision.

Pick Six became a common term in the early 2000s, maybe around 02-03. Three and Out has been around forever. Running the table is not a football term, but rather a generic sports term.

I agree with Ellis Dee. Putting a hat on a hat usually just means getting everybody blocked and typically connotes winning the individual battles.

I agree with this as well, although I just wanted to add a note of loathing for the “pick six” term. It just seems like such a forced and effortfully cute term. I hope it goes away soon.

Huh…looks like we’ve got a double-meaning here – I’ve always understood it to mean “helmet-to-helmet contact”.

I have to go with Ellis Dee I usually hear the term Hat on Hat in regards to blocking schemes.

I don’t recall ever hearing it in that context, and I watch a crapload of football. I hear it mostly in reference to run blocking and kick coverage.

“Nothing complicated on this play; they just put a hat on a hat and ran it down their throat.”

“They put a hat on a hat and the returner just needed to make a single move to score a touchdown.”

Yeah, I always thought it was just getting everyone blocked by their guy. I wonder what the definitive source for some of these sayings would be; it’s not like sportscasters are always right…I HATE when a team runs an end-around and the announcers call it a “reverse.”

Then the end around makes a toss and it’s a double reverse! :smack:
Also, the shovel/shuffle pass dichotomy. And using wildcat to refer to every time a nontraditional player takes the snap.

I hate that one. Shuffle? What would “shuffle” have to do with that play?

Well, it clearly originates with pool, where it means to sink all the balls on the table - or at least all those required to win - thus denying your opponent another chance to play.

Concurring with Ellis Dee’s description here. I don’t think there’s any double meaning, but that’s not to say that some braindead announcer hasn’t used it that way in order to make themselves sound like an insider.

Yep. Definitely does. It’s only used, though, when you have a significant amount of balls remaining. Or, if said in hindsight, a significant amount of balls were sunk consecutively. Sinking your last ball, then the 8-ball, doesn’t count.

But does “run” mean “to go on a streak” or does it allude to the fact that a shooter will have walked all around the table after taking so many shots?

I’m with Ellis.

That should be a bumper sticker.

I’m with the blocking on Hat-On Hat. Old school three yards and a cloud of dust type running game, No stunts, no pulling guards, no zone blocking. Just look up, see who is across from you and put his ass on the ground.

Mark Schlereth gave the classic example of hat on hat usage on Friday’s NFL Live while discussing the Jets/Bills game.

Trey Wingo introduced it with “Thomas Jones, Shaun Greene, or even Tony Richardson…”
Mark Schlereth: “…it didn’t matter. Hat on hat, look at that blocking, running with purpose”

Or something to that effect. For a day or so I thought that maybe some announcers do say hat on hat when talking about helmet to helmet contact, but then I realized that “helmet to helmet” is about as “official” a phrase as there is. They always say exactly that: “helmet to helmet contact.” I vote for total distinction between the two phrases.

I’m just chiming in to say that, while I’ve watched college football for years, I don’t remember hearing the term “pick six” prior to this year. Now it seems I hear it all the time.

I started hearing it a few years back. I got the impression that it had been in the lexicon of defensive backs for a few years before that.

Yesterday an NFL announcer strung together something like seven football terms ranging from simple to obscure, and I understood the whole thing. I’m not sure that’s good or bad.