down of play/a sequence of play

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VicNicSor

Banned
Russian
scrimmage

Football
the beginning of each down of play, with the ball placed on the ground between the offensive and defensive lines with its longest axis at right angles to the goal line.
AmE OED

2 [mass noun] American Football a sequence of play beginning with the placing of the ball on the ground with its longest axis at right angles to the goal line:
BrE OED

As I understand, these two definitions talk about the same thing and so do the parts in bold. But what do these parts mean? I didn't find an answer in dictionaries.
Thanks.
 
  • Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    See the first definition of "down" as a noun in the WR dictionary:

    "One of a maximum of four consecutive attempts by one team to advance the ball a total of at least ten yards."

    Does that help?
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    See the first definition of "down" as a noun in the WR dictionary:

    "One of a maximum of four consecutive attempts by one team to advance the ball a total of at least ten yards."

    Does that help?
    Could you tell me:
    Do these two definitions in #1 really mean the same thing? If so, does a sequence of play mean a sequence of those four attempts? If so, why is it "a sequence of play"?
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Because the downs follow one another in sequence. In reporting on a football game, you'll hear comments like, "It's second down and seven to go." This means that Team A has managed to advance the ball three (of the ten) yards toward the Team B goal, and they get three more chances (downs) to try to make at least the full ten yards.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Because the downs follow one another in sequence. In reporting on a football game, you'll hear comments like, "It's second down and seven to go." This means that Team A has managed to advance the ball three (of the ten) yards toward the Team B goal, and they get three more chances (downs) to try to make at least the full ten yards.
    I don't understand the grammar of it:(
    the downs follow one another in sequence = a sequence of the downs... isn't?
    As I understand, in "a sequence of what", "what" should be in plural only. Otherwise I don't understand the meaning of this....
     
    Last edited:

    waltern

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    While the downs do follow one another in sequence, I think the dictionary definition quoted here might be referring to the "sequence of play" that happens for each "down" - the ball is placed (on the line of scrimmage), the teams line up, (usually) the center snaps the ball to the quarterback, the quarterback hands off/passes/runs the ball, etc.

    (I see, Vik, you are quoting what you call the "AmE OED" and the "BrE OED". While Oxford does publish various dictionaries of American and British English, almost always "OED" is meant to mean a specific dictionary - the very comprehensive "Oxford English Dictionary", which takes up something like 20 large volumes or is available online by subscription, and does not come in separate BrE and AmE versions. I'm just letting you know this to avoid potential confusion...)


    The OED definition of this meaning of scrimmage ls:

    4-

    c. Amer. Football.

    (a) A sequence of play which is started when two lines of opposing players are ranked parallel to the goal-lines, and a centre holds the ball between the teams before handing or passing it to one of his backs
     
    Last edited:

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Thank you, everyone!

    Yes, Waltern, I have this dictionary, too. But I haven't used it so far. It has too many examples dated 18-19 centuries and earlier. I'm afraid I'll have a lot of questions if I use it. Maybe later on:D
     

    Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    Vik, are you asking why it's "a sequence of play" and not "a sequence of plays?"

    "Play" in this context doesn't refer to the action that takes place on one down, such as a pass or a run. It means (from the WR dictionary):

    the playing or conduct of a game or the period during which a game is in progress: rain stopped play
     
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