Sprots Gloss: Sack

Sprots Gloss

Your Grab and Go Sprots Terms Glossary


A quarterback sack is not the thing you found dangling in your face at the football party house at 3 am after all of the trash can punch was gone. Just me? Oh, ok.


A sack IS when the quarterback is taken down by the opposing team while attempting to throw the ball…mostly. There’s actually a lot of technicalities that go into a sack.

  1. The quarterback must be behind the line of scrimmage (behind the line that all the giant men on the quarterback’s team line up on).
  2. The quarterback must be attempting to throw or is dancing around in the pocket for forever because he’s indecisive and doesn’t know what to do-looking at you RGIII.


3. If the QB is not intending to pass, then it’s only a negative rush play aka not as fun.

4. A QB does not actually have to be tackled for a sack to be recorded. Any time a quarterback gets contacted by an opposing player and is then ruled down (and meets all of the other sack qualifications), a sack is recorded. Example: Eli Manning (QB) gets bumped by Clay Matthews (Monster) and then falls to a knee, Clay gets a sack.

5. A QB can even sack themselves. Just think about that one for a minute.

6. Not all men are equally blessed. There is such a thing as a half sack, if the opposition calls in the tag team champions of the world to take down a QB.

7. If the QB fumbles the ball behind the line of scrimmage and it is recovered by the opposition, this is also a sack.


You never knew there was so much to making a quarterback look like a dummy. Three more quick facts before you go:

  1. The Chiefs, Alex Smith, is the reigning king of getting sacked.

2. The term “sack” was popularized in the 60’s. Prior to then, it was called “dumping”. Sack started being used by defensive end, Deacon Jones, who felt that a sack devastated the offense the way ransacking (or sacking) a city was devastating. Bit of a stretch, there, buddy.

3. Sacks were not credited to opposing players until 1982.