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A New NFL-Jewish Lexicon

Oct 032013
 By , October 3, 2013

The NFL needs a new lexicon that Jews can relate to. We’re here to help.

Football still hasn’t won the hearts and souls of the Children of Abraham. Perhaps it’s the violence (after centuries of pogroms and the Holocaust, we need a break from bone-crushing bruises). Perhaps it’s the size of the NFL players (Jews don’t easily identify with 300 pound linemen).

nfl football

Photo by Mark Botham,

Or maybe it’s the language. With Yiddish slang around the house, and Hebrew in Sunday school, who wants a sport that requires a whole new vocabulary, from blitz and lateral to play action and Hail Mary passes?

Which suggests a possible solution: adopt jargon that lets Jewish fans feel more at home. Here’s the start of a Jewish NFL lexicon.

“Blintz” – When defensive secondaries rush through the offensive line to sack the quarterback (see “Slaying of the First Born” below)

“Braiding the Challah” – Sending receivers on crossing routes.

“Eligible” – Unmarried player with professional degree (who would make a fine husband and avoid “illegal touching”).

“Foreskin” – Colloquial for “football” (“pigskin” – in NFLese – doesn’t play as well with the Children of Abe).

“Golem of Prague“ – Play in which quarterback stands like a golem, ball held aloft for a pass, allowing a back to grab it and run (in American football, “Statue of Liberty”)

“Miami Beach-2” – Defensive line-up allowing middle linebacker to move up, move back or finally call his mother.

“Minyan+2” – Too many players on the field at snap; 5 yard penalty.

“Mi Sheberach” pass – A last ditch effort to score by having quarterback throw a long bomb to the end zone (in NFL  parlance, a “Hail Mary” pass).

“Promised Land” – End zone

“Schlong Pass” – When male fans walk far enough over to leave an unused urinal between two men.

“Schmaltz” – Playing “We Are the Champions” after the Super Bowl

“Slaying of the First Born” – When defensive rushers succeed in bypassing offensive line and toss the QB on his tushy.

“Sit Shiva” – Seven day ritual performed by fans of losing teams, ending when next game begins.

“Take the sable off the bagel” – When long receiver escapes coverage to receive a pass (adaptation of “take the top off the defense,” used by aficionados). (Also: “Take the yarmulke off the kepala”)

”Tight Tuchus” – An offensive player who can be used as an end or receiver, creating a “strong” side.

“Weitzman Trophy” – Award to the outstanding Jewish collegiate football player; not awarded since creation in 1935


(With thanks to Jim Corrigan for blocking and tackling.)

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Howard Zaharoff

Howard Zaharoff reads (a lot), writes (mostly humor), teaches (occasionally) and practices law (doesn't everyone?). He is the author of "Stump Your Lawyer!" (Chronicle 2007), and his work has appeared in The Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, Amazing Stories, Computerworld, The Journal of Irreproducible Results, The Annals of Improbable Research and the books Growing Up Jewish (Penguin 1987) and Sex As a Heap of Malfunctioning Rubble (and Further Improbabilities) (Workman 1993), among other places.

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