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  1. #1
    wwvusa is offline Newbie
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    Default sacking the quarterback

    In American football, what is the origin of the use of "sack" meaning to trap the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage?

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    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: sacking the quarterback

    Good question. Could it be that the defensive line (who are actually the attackers from the QB's point of view) are managing to "bag" him?

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    wwvusa is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: sacking the quarterback

    You may be right. My first thoughts were that it likely had something to do with "containing" the QB, but I wondered if it might also suggest the idea of pillaging and burning, as in "The Visigoths sacked Rome in A.D. 410." It seems to me that "sacking" the quarterback seems to suggest knocking him down and potentially inflicting some pain or damage--something beyond mere containment. The "pain or damage" implication seems more in line with the military aura of football jargon.

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    Default Re: sacking the quarterback

    Then the origin of the term would be Fr., saccager.

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    JMurray is online now Key Member
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    Default Re: sacking the quarterback

    From Wikipedia: "Quarterback sack".
    The term "Quarterback sack" was first coined by Hall of Fame defensive end Deacon Jones. Jones, who played in the NFL from 1961 to 1974, felt that a sack devastated the offense in the same way that a city was devastated when it was sacked. However, the term "sack" was not widely used before ca. 1970; previously one would simply refer to a player's being tackled behind the line (of scrimmage), in so many words.

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