A reverse (sometimes referred to as an end reverse or criss cross) is a relatively common trick play in American football that involves one or more abrupt changes in the lateral flow of a rushing play.
A trick play, also known as a gadget play, gimmick play or simply trickeration, is a play in American 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 to also maintain the element of surprise for when they are used.
American football, referred to as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, which is the team controlling the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with or passing the ball, while the defense, which is the team without control of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and aims to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs, or plays, and otherwise they turn over the football to the defense; if the offense succeeds in advancing ten yards or more, they are given a new set of four downs. Points are primarily scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.
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.
The invention of the reverse is credited to Amos Alonzo Stagg. The invention of the naked reverse, i. e. a reverse run to the weak side, is credited to Pop Warner.
Amos Alonzo Stagg was an American athlete and college coach in multiple sports, primarily American football. He served as the head football coach at the International Young Men's Christian Association Training School (1890–1891), the University of Chicago (1892–1932), and the College of the Pacific (1933–1946), compiling a career college football record of 314–199–35. His Chicago Maroons teams of 1905 and 1913 have been recognized as national champions. He was also the head basketball coach for one season at the University of Chicago (1920–1921), and the head baseball coach there for 19 seasons.
A classic reverse typically begins as a bootleg, sweep or end reverse, but before the ball-carrier crosses the line of scrimmage he hands the ball off to a teammate, usually a wide receiver, running in the reverse (opposite) direction. Because many of the defensive players will have gravitated in the direction of the original rusher, if the second ball-carrier can outrun the defenders to the other side of the field, he has a very good chance to make a big gain.
In American football, a bootleg play is a play in which the quarterback runs with the ball in the direction of either sideline behind the line of scrimmage. This can be accompanied by a play action, or fake hand off of the ball to a running back running the opposite direction.
A sweep is a running play in American football where a running back takes a pitch or handoff from the quarterback and starts running parallel to the line of scrimmage, allowing for the offensive linemen and fullback to get in front of him to block defenders before he turns upfield. The play is run farther outside than an off tackle play. Variants of the sweep involve the quarterback or a wide receiver running with the ball, rather than a running back.
In American and Canadian football, a line of scrimmage is an imaginary transverse line beyond which a team cannot cross until the next play has begun. Its location is based on the spot where the ball is placed after the end of the most recent play and following the assessment of any penalty yards.
A variation of this play is a double reverse, in which the second ball-carrier takes the ball all or part way back across the field before he too hands off to a teammate running in the opposite direction. This causes the flow of the play to "reverse" a second time. A double reverse adds another level of surprise to the defense; however, the play takes more time and space to develop and increases the risk of a big loss or a fumbled handoff.
Another variation is the reverse option. On a reverse option, the second ball-carrier runs for a few steps, then (optionally) passes the ball downfield to a teammate, similar to a halfback option play.
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.
Many teams will also use the threat of a reverse to gain an advantage on simple sweep plays. In such a case, the quarterback might pitch the ball to the running back, who will fake a handoff or lateral to a teammate running in the opposite direction. The distraction is sometimes enough for the running back to gain an edge in getting past the defense.
Sometimes an end-around, in which the only handoff is from a stationary quarterback to a wide receiver, is imprecisely called a "reverse". An end-around is not a reverse because the lateral flow of the play does not change direction. However, it has become commonplace for fans, sportswriters, announcers, and even coaches and players to refer to any end-around as a 'reverse', and to an end-around reverse as a 'double reverse.'
The end-around is a play in American football in which an end or wide receiver crosses the backfield towards the opposite end of the line and receives a handoff directly from the quarterback. The receiver then may proceed to do one of two things: he either runs the ball towards the line of scrimmage in order to gain yardage, or more rarely, attempts to pass to another eligible pass receiver. Both versions of the end-around are uncommon and can be considered trick plays. The play can also be combined with a Statue of Liberty play.
In American football and Canadian football, a lateral pass or lateral occurs when the ball carrier throws the football to a teammate in a direction parallel to or away from the opponents' goal line. A lateral pass is distinguished from a forward pass, in which the ball is thrown forward, towards the opposition's end zone. In a lateral pass the ball is not advanced, but unlike a forward pass a lateral may be attempted from anywhere on the field by any player to any player at any time.
A running back (RB) is an American and Canadian football position, a member of the offensive backfield. The primary roles of a running back are to receive handoffs from the quarterback for a rushing play, to catch passes from out of the backfield, and to block. There are usually one or two running backs on the field for a given play, depending on the offensive formation. A running back may be a halfback, a wingback or a fullback. A running back will sometimes be called a "feature back" if he is the team's starting running back.
Rushing is an action taken by the offense that means to advance the ball by running with it, as opposed to passing, or kicking.
A wide receiver, also referred to as wideouts or simply receivers, is an offensive position in American and Canadian football, and is a key player. They get their name because they are split out "wide", farthest away from the rest of the team. Wide receivers are among the fastest players on the field. The wide receiver functions as the pass-catching specialist.
A screen pass is a play in gridiron football consisting of a short pass to a receiver who is protected by a screen of blockers. During a screen pass, a number of things happen concurrently in order to fool the defense into thinking a long pass is being thrown, when in fact the pass is merely a short one, just beyond the defensive linemen. Screens are usually deployed against aggressive defenses that rush the passer. Because screens invite the defense to rush the quarterback, they are designed to leave fewer defensemen behind the rushers to stop the play.
A draw play, or simply draw for short, is a type of American football play. The draw is a running play disguised as a passing play. It is the opposite of a play-action pass, which is a passing play disguised as a running play. The play is often used in long yardage situations.
In American and Canadian football, a single-wing formation, created by Glenn "Pop" Warner, was a precursor to the modern spread or shotgun formation. The term usually connotes formations in which the snap is tossed rather than handed—formations with one wingback and a handed snap are commonly called "wing T" or "winged T". The single wing was superior to the T formation in its ability to get an extra eligible receiver down field.
The Statue of Liberty is a trick play in American football named after the Statue of Liberty.
Strategy forms a major part of the game of American football, and both teams plan many aspects of their plays (offense) and response to plays (defense), such as what formations they take, who they put on the field, and the roles and instructions each player are given. Throughout a game, each team adapts to the other's apparent strengths and weaknesses, trying various approaches to outmaneuver or overpower their opponent to score more points in order to win the game.
The hook and ladder, or hook and lateral, is a trick play in American, Canadian football & indoor American football. It starts with the hook, which is where a wide receiver runs a predetermined distance, usually 10 yards down the field, and along the sideline, and "hooks in" towards the center of the field to receive a forward pass from the quarterback. Another offensive player times a run so that he is at full speed, just behind the player with the ball at the time of the catch. As the defenders close in on the stationary ball carrier, he laterals or hands the ball to the teammate running at full speed in the opposite direction of the original receiver.
In American football, the fumblerooski is a trick play in which the football is intentionally and stealthily placed on the ground (fumbled) by an offensive player, usually the quarterback. The offensive team then attempts to distract and confuse the defense by pretending that a ball carrier is running in one direction while another offensive player retrieves the ball from the turf and runs in a different direction, hoping to gain significant yardage before the defense realizes which player is actually carrying the football.
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.
In American football, a T formation is a formation used by the offensive team in which three running backs line up in a row about five yards behind the quarterback, forming the shape of a "T".
In American football each team has 11 players on the field at one time. The specific role that a player takes on the field is called their position. Under the modern rules of American football, teams are allowed unlimited substitutions; that is, teams may change any number of players after any play. This has resulted in the development of three "platoons" of players: the offense, the defense, and the special teams. Within those platoons, various specific positions exist depending on what each player's main job is.
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.
Buck-lateral is an American football play or a series of plays used in the Single-wing formation. Since the Single-Wing formation lost prominence by 1950, the football play referred to as the Buck-lateral is almost gone from football's vocabulary. However, prior to this time, the buck-lateral play gave fullbacks the option to run, lateral, or hand-off the ball to another player. Running the buck-lateral required an offensive scheme that needed the fullback to possess many specialized skills, as opposed to today's fullback who mainly blocks and carries the ball infrequently.