A hat trick in American football is a term used when a player scores three touchdowns. In most cases this term is only used when the touchdowns are rushing or receiving touchdowns.
Scoring three passing touchdowns as a quarterback is a fairly common feat and is down by several players every single sunday. Scoring three rushing or pashing touchdowns on the other had is incredibly hard to do.
This type of performance is what earns the term hat trick for a player. That being said this term is not used too often in american football.
In most cases when someone uses the term hat trick in football they are referring to its use in the hockey sense.
In North America the term hat trick is much more commonly used in the game of ice hockey to represent a game in which a player scores three goals.
Why This Term Is Not Often Used In Football
There is no concrete reason why the term hat trick never became popular in american football. One theory is that this term is not as popular as there are many different ways to score.
Field goals and safeties are both ways to score in football yet cannot be represented in the hat trick term for football.
This is different for games like hockey or soccer in which the only way to earn points is by scoring a goal.
Additionally, in football, there are several different ways to score a touchdown on the stat sheet. You can throw touchdowns, receive touchdowns, or rush them in yourself.
This makes it more difficult to measure touchdowns as they can come in different avenues. This makes the term hat trick not fit as smoothly as it does with other sports.
Though it seems when the term hat trick is used in American football it is done when referring to rushing or receiving touchdowns. This is essentially the closest American football can come to matching the goal statistic sports like soccer and hockey use.
Where The Term Hat Trick Came From
We will explore both theories below.
The term hat trick is believed to come from an act in cricket that earned the player a literal hat. In cricket is a player is able to take three wickets in three consecutive balls he then earns a hat trick.
For completing this feat the pitcher is said to earn an actual hat.
In hockey, a hat trick occurs when a player scores three goals within a single game. When a hat trick is scored in hockey all the fans in the stadium throw their hats onto the ice surface.
This is done as an act of celebration, the throwing of these hits is only done by the fans of team whos player scored the hat trick.
Hockey also has several other hat trick related terms. Including a natural hat trick which involves a player scoring three consecutive goals. Or a Gordie Howe hat trick which include a goal, a fight, and an assist.