Dive (American football)

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"Pass to half back for straight plunge through the line." Line plunge pass.jpg
"Pass to half back for straight plunge through the line."

A "dive" (or "plunge" or "buck", also called a line plunge or line buck) [1] is a type of play in American football in which the ball carrier (usually a fullback or a halfback) attempts to thrust quickly over the line of scrimmage, rushing through the linemen. A dive or buck is distinct from both an end run and an off-tackle run; the gap for the runner can be either between center and guard or between guard and tackle.

In American football a play is a close to the ground "plan of action" or "strategy" used to move the ball down the field. A play begins at either the snap from the center or at kickoff. Most commonly plays occur at the snap during a down. These plays range from basic to very intricate. Football players keep a record of these plays in their playbook.

Ball (gridiron football) device used to play Gridiron football

In Canada and in the United States, a football is a ball, roughly in the form of a prolate spheroid, used in the context of playing gridiron football. Footballs are often made of cow hide leather, as such a material is required in professional and collegiate football. Footballs used in recreation, and in organised youth leagues, may be made of rubber or plastic materials.

In American football and Canadian football, a carry or rushing attempt is a statistical term equivalent to a single rushing play. The term is typically used in reference to "yards per carry", meaning yards per attempt rushing the ball. Although running backs are typically tasked with carrying the ball, any offensive player who performs a carry is known as a ball-carrier for that play, regardless of position. The yards gained on a carry are referred to as rushing yards. In the National Football League (NFL), Emmitt Smith holds the record for the most career carries, with 4,409. The current leader in yards-per-carry in NFL history with at least 750 carries is quarterback Michael Vick.



The dive may be run with or without a lead blocker, though when run with a lead blocker it may be called a "lead dive". It is often, though not always, used in short-yardage situations, specifically at the goal line.

Historical types

A cross buck Yost tackle over fbc.jpg
A cross buck

A "cross buck" is a play with two backs crossing paths, one faking to receive the ball, and the other receiving it; thus a dive play with either a faked cross buck or a faked reverse was known as a "split buck". [1]

A reverse is a relatively common trick play in American football that involves one or more abrupt changes in the lateral flow of a rushing play.


Fullbacks, or larger, stronger running backs less prone to fumbling, are favorable because this play values strength over speed.

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  1. 1 2 Football. pp. 241–248.