ITP Glossary: Bird Dogging

Football is littered with specialized terminology. From 21 personnel to off man technique, commentators rarely get to explain everything you need to know before the next play. Inside The Pylon’€™s glossary was developed to give fans a deeper understanding of the game through clear explanations, as well as image and video examples. Please contact us with any terms or phrases you’d like to know more about.

Bird Dogging

When hunters try and track birds in the field they often rely on hound dogs, such as Irish Setters, to guide them. The canine companions will lead the men and women towards packs of birds using their sense of smell, and when they come upon birds they will signal to their human companions by “pointing,” staring right at the birds and freezing:

Irishsetteronpoint (1)

Quarterbacks do this as well, when they lock their eyes on an intended target and declare to everyone – including the defense – their intention of throwing the football that way. This often leads to interceptions.

On this play from last season, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback locks on to a crossing route from the snap. This soon goes badly for the offense:DaltonPickEndZone

Dalton stares at his tight end, Jermaine Gresham, throughout the play. This gives linebacker Craig Robertson time to read the QB’s eyes, cut under the route and make a play.

Here is another example of a quarterback staring down a receiver:

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On this play from the Division 2 National Semifinals, Chris Bonner from CSU-Pueblo wants to throw a curl route to the outside – and has his mind made up before the snap. The cornerback uses off man coverage here, and is able to read the play and cut under the route. Bonner is lucky this play was not returned for a touchdown.

Mark Schofield contributed to this entry.

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Inside The Pylon covers the NFL and college football, reviewing the film, breaking down matchups, and looking at the issues, on and off the field.

Video and images courtesy NFL Game Pass and

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