Chain Crew

The eight home-team employees who use a 10-yard chain that connects two posts to help officials track where the ball should be placed, and what spot a team must reach to earn a first down.

Defensive Backfield

The area on the defensive line of scrimmage where the linebackers and defensive backs line up. The term refers to the defensive “backs” who line up in the area of the field.


The area of the field between the line of scrimmage and the end zone where the offense runs plays to gain yards with the ultimate goal of scoring a touchdown or field goal.

End Lines

The boundary lines at each end of the field that mark the end of the field at the back of the end zone. These lines run perpendicular to the sidelines and are located 10 yards beyond the goal lines.

End Zone

The scoring areas at each end of the playing field bounded by the goal lines, end lines, and sidelines are known as the end zones. A player must carry the ball into, or catch the ball in, this area to score a touchdown. Each NFL end zone measures 10 yards by 53 ⅓ yards.

Field of Play

The area between the sidelines and the end zones, which is considered to be “in bounds” and where all the action takes place.

Goal Lines

Located at either end of the playing field, the goal lines mark where the field of play ends and where the end zones begin. The team with the ball has the goal of reaching and crossing these lines for a touchdown.


Placed behind the end line and painted a league-approved shade of yellow or equivalent, goalposts consist of a padded post, a crossbar 10 feet off the ground and two 35-foot tall uprights that are 18 feet 6 inches apart and are topped with orange streamers. Placekickers kick the football above the crossbar and between the uprights on field-goal and extra-point attempts.


Short lines that measure the field in one-yard intervals between the yard lines. Hash marks run the length of the field and are located 70 feet and 9 inches from each sideline and are used by the officials to determine where the ball should be placed.

Offensive Backfield

The area behind the offensive line where the quarterback and running backs line up. The term refers to the offensive “backs” — the running back, halfback, fullback and quarterback — who line up in the area of the field.


The area formed by the quarterback’s blockers to prevent defensive players from sacking him.


The area on either side of the field where players not currently playing in the game, medical and technical staff and league employees perform their jobs on game days.

Tackle Box

The area of the offensive backfield between the two offensive tackles who line up at either end of the line of scrimmage.

Yard lines

The markings on the field used to measure distance on the football field. Yard lines are painted at five-yard intervals parallel to the goal lines.


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