I've been a football fan for 20+ years and have pretty good knowledge of the game. However, there are some terms used that I'd like to know about the origins of.
1. "In the flat". OK, I know what area of the field "the flat" is, no problem there. I'd like to know how that area came to be called "the flat"? I mean, technically, the entire field is flat, so why is that area called "the flat"?
2. He's a "possession receiver". I've heard this term used a million times by announcers and still don't understand what it means. Is this a receiver who can catch, but can't run very well? One who doesn't exorcise enough?
3. The "shotgun formation". Again, I know what the formation is and why it's used. What I'd like to know is when was the term "shotgun" first used and why?
4. The names of some of the positions. I can understand receiver, tight end, offensive lineman, linebacker etc. The ones that are confusing to me are quarterback, halfback and fullback. I have to imagine those go waaay back to the early days of football when those players lined up a quarter, half and all of the way back from something. But what?
Also, why are O-linemen divided into two types: tackle and guard? They aren't really allowed to tackle anyone per se; that would be holding, right? So, how did the term "offensive tackle" come to be used to describe the interior linemen on the O-line?
Some of the other weird terms, like "touchdown", go waaaaay back to the earliest of football where the rules said the ball had to touch the ground of the opponents end zone. What about the other ones above? Any ideas?