The halfback option play is an unorthodox play in American and Canadian football. It resembles a normal running play, but the running back has the option to throw a pass to another eligible receiver before crossing the line of scrimmage.
The key to the play is fooling the defensive players, primarily the defensive backs. If the linebackers and/or the defensive line are fooled and believe the ball carrier is attempting a run, they will pursue the runner, abandoning their pass defense responsibilities and thereby leaving pass receivers uncovered. If the defensive backs are not fooled, the running back carrying the ball does have the option to run, instead of risking an incomplete pass or an interception. This play is not as popular as it once was as defensive players are expected to cover receivers until the football crosses the line of scrimmage on running plays.
The running play that halfback options usually resemble is a sweep play. Sometimes the quarterback will run out of the backfield and become a receiving option for the running back. This can be effective because the quarterback usually does very little after handing off or pitching the ball to the running back on most plays, and the defense might not be expecting him to be used as an active receiver. In the National Football League, if the quarterback starts the play under center, then he is ineligible as a receiver; the quarterback must start from the shotgun to receive a pass.
The halfback option play usually has limited success and is not commonly used, especially in the NFL. The play almost completely relies on the element of surprise and better coaching has resulted in defensive backs being instructed to stay in coverage until the running back with the ball crosses the line of scrimmage. Another reason is that the passing ability of most running backs is usually poor in relation to the passing ability of a quarterback. However, certain teams and players do successfully run the option one to a few times a season; used sparingly it can be effective to make a game-changing play. In modern professional football history a halfback has only thrown more than one touchdown in two games: utility player Gene Mingo of the Denver Broncos threw two touchdowns as a halfback in an American Football League game against the Buffalo Bills in 1961; and running back Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears threw two touchdowns in a 1983 NFL game against the New Orleans Saints.
The halfback option play is an integral part of the wildcat offense, which involves the halfback receiving a direct snap.
There have been many notable cases where the halfback option pass has been used with great success.
The quarterback, colloquially known as the "signal caller", is a position in gridiron football. Quarterbacks are members of the offensive platoon and mostly line up directly behind the offensive line. In modern American football, the quarterback is usually considered the leader of the offense, and is often responsible for calling the play in the huddle. The quarterback also touches the ball on almost every offensive play, and is the offensive player that almost always throws forward passes. When the QB is tackled behind the line of scrimmage, it is called a sack.
Super Bowl VI was an American football game between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Dallas Cowboys and the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Miami Dolphins to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1971 season. The Cowboys defeated the Dolphins by the score of 24–3, to win their first Super Bowl. The game was played on January 16, 1972, at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, Louisiana, the second time the Super Bowl was played in that city. Despite the southerly location, it was unseasonably cold at the time, with the kickoff air temperature of 39 °F (4 °C) making this the coldest Super Bowl played.
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Super Bowl XII was an American football game between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Dallas Cowboys and the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Denver Broncos to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1977 season. The Cowboys defeated the Broncos 27–10 to win their second Super Bowl. The game was played on January 15, 1978, at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. This was the first Super Bowl in a domed stadium, and the first time that the game was played in prime time in the Eastern United States.
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Super Bowl XXII was an American football game between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Washington Redskins and American Football Conference (AFC) champion Denver Broncos to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1987 season. The Redskins defeated the Broncos by the score of 42–10, winning their second Super Bowl. The game was played on January 31, 1988 at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California, which was the first time that the Super Bowl was played there. It was the second consecutive Super Bowl loss for the Broncos, who lost to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl the year before 39–20.
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A flea flicker is an unorthodox play, often called a "trick play", in American football which is designed to fool the defensive team into thinking that a play is a run instead of a pass. It can be considered an extreme variant of the play action pass and an extension of the halfback option play.
A trick play, also known as a gadget play, gimmick play or trickeration, is a play in gridiron football that uses deception and unorthodox tactics to fool the opposing team. A trick play is often risky, offering the potential for a large gain or a touchdown if it is successful, but with the chance of a significant loss of yards or a turnover if not. Trick plays are rarely used not only because of the riskiness, but also to maintain the element of surprise for when they are used.
A halfback (HB) is an offensive position in American football, whose duties involve lining up in the backfield and carrying the ball on most rushing plays, i.e. a running back. When the principal ball carrier lines up deep in the backfield, and especially when that player is placed behind another player, as in the I formation, that player is instead referred to as a tailback.
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The following terms are used in American football, both conventional and indoor. Some of these terms are also in use in Canadian football; for a list of terms unique to that code, see Glossary of Canadian football.
The Mile High Miracle is both the NFL 2012 AFC Divisional playoff game between the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos on January 12, 2013, and its defining play, a game-tying 70-yard touchdown pass from Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco to receiver Jacoby Jones with under a minute left in regulation. Playing on the road against the heavily favored Broncos, who had decisively defeated the struggling Ravens late in the regular season while on an 11-game winning streak, Flacco and the Ravens forced the Peyton Manning-led Broncos into double overtime, when rookie kicker Justin Tucker kicked a 47-yard field goal to secure a 38–35 win. With 28 points scored in the first eleven minutes of the game, three return touchdowns, five lead changes, and single-digit temperatures, the game was described by Sports Illustrated as "one of the most exciting and entertaining postseason games in NFL history." The Ravens would go on to beat the New England Patriots, and two weeks later, defeat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII for the franchise's second championship.