A stunt in American football and Canadian football, sometimes called a twist, is a planned maneuver by a pair of players of the defensive team by which they exchange roles to better slip past blockers of the offensive team at the beginning of a play, in order to better rush the passer.
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.
Canadian football is a sport played in Canada in which two teams of 12 players each compete for territorial control of a field of play 110 yards (101 m) long and 65 yards (59 m) wide attempting to advance a pointed oval-shaped ball into the opposing team's scoring area.
In American football, blocking or interference involves legal movements in which one player obstructs another player's path with their body. The purpose of blocking is to prevent defensive players from tackling the ball carrier, or to protect a quarterback who is attempting to pass or hand off the ball. Offensive linemen and fullbacks tend to do the most blocking, although wide receivers are often asked to help block on running plays and halfbacks may be asked to help block on passing plays, while tight ends perform pass blocking and run blocking if they are not running routes to receive passes. Overall, blocking is a skill that virtually every football player may be required to do at some point, even defensive players in the event of a turnover.
The purpose of a stunt is to confuse opposing blockers, which is an aid to the defense in rushing an opposing forward pass or kick. The main weakness of a stunt is that it is more vulnerable than average to running plays by the opposing team. In most cases, the defense will not use a play incorporating stunting if it expects a running play from the offense.
There are two main types of stunts. In one, a line player, who would otherwise try to charge forward, instead drops back, and a nearby linebacker or defensive back charges forward instead. In the other, which is known as cross-rushing, line players, instead of charging straight ahead, cross paths. One of them may follow a looping path that goes behind the other before moving forward (in which case the stunt is called a "loop"), or one may wait for the other to penetrate slightly first, and then cross behind, their paths angling across each other. In some variants, a rushing player will run around more than one rushing teammate.
A linebacker is a playing position in American football and Canadian football. Linebackers are members of the defensive team, and line up approximately three to five yards behind the line of scrimmage, behind the defensive linemen, and therefore "back up the line". Linebackers generally align themselves before the ball is snapped by standing upright in a "two-point stance".
In American football and Canadian football, defensive backs (DBs) are the players on the defensive team who take positions somewhat back from the line of scrimmage; they are distinguished from the defensive line players and linebackers, who take positions directly behind or close to the line of scrimmage.
Because of the exchange of roles, a stunt is sometimes called a "trade"; blockers of the offensive team may engage in similar "trades". The defensive players involved are said to be stunting or trading, or sometimes to "have a game on".
The name "stunt" presumably derives from its more general meaning of a showy trick. The term has been used in a football context since at least the 1960s. However, the maneuver itself dates back to the 19th century. Walter Camp wrote of role exchanges between a line player and a "line-half" (then the nomenclature for what is now called a linebacker; presumably a cross between lineman and halfback, or a halfback playing behind the line; cf. "scrum-half" in rugby) in efforts to block a kick from scrimmage, forward passes not yet having been legal.
Walter Chauncey Camp was an American football player, coach, and sports writer known as the "Father of American Football". Among a long list of inventions, he created the sport's line of scrimmage and the system of downs. With John Heisman, Amos Alonzo Stagg, Pop Warner, Fielding H. Yost, and George Halas, Camp was one of the most accomplished persons in the early history of American football. He attended Yale College, where he played and coached college football. Camp's Yale teams of 1888, 1891, and 1892 have been recognized as national champions. Camp was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1951.
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.
Rugby refers to the team sports rugby league and rugby union. Legend claims that Rugby football was started around the time of 1845 in Rugby School, Rugby, Warwickshire, England, although forms of football in which the ball was carried and tossed date to medieval times. Rugby eventually split into two sports in 1895 when twenty one clubs split from the original Rugby Football Union, to form the Northern Union in the George Hotel, Huddersfield, Northern England over the issue of payment to players, thus making rugby league the first code to turn professional and pay its players, rugby union turned fully professional in 1995. Both sports are run by their respective world governing bodies World Rugby and the Rugby League International Federation. Rugby football was one of many versions of football played at English public schools in the 19th century. Although rugby league initially used rugby union rules, they are now wholly separate sports. In addition to these two codes, both American and Canadian football evolved from rugby football.
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.
In gridiron football, a lineman is a player who specializes in play at the line of scrimmage. The linemen of the team currently in possession of the ball are the offensive line, while linemen on the opposing team are the defensive line. A number of NFL rules specifically address restrictions and requirements for the offensive line, whose job is to help protect the quarterback from getting sacked for a loss, or worse, fumbling. The defensive line is covered by the same rules that apply to all defensive players. Linemen are usually the largest players on the field in both height and weight, since their positions usually require less running and more strength than skill positions.
Defence in ice hockey is a player position whose primary responsibility is to prevent the opposing team from scoring. They are often referred to as defencemen, defencewomen or defenceplayers, D, D-men or blueliners. They were once called cover-point. A good defenceman is both strong in defensive and offensive play and for defenceman pairing also need to be good at defending and attacking.
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.
In American football or Canadian football, blitzing is a tactic used by the defense to disrupt pass attempts by the offense. During a blitz, a higher than usual number of defensive players will rush the opposing quarterback, to try to tackle the quarterback or force them to hurry their pass attempt.
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 apparent strengths and weaknesses of the other team, trying various approaches to outmaneuver or overpower their opponent to score more points in order to win the game.
American football positions have slowly evolved over the history of the sport. From its origins in early rugby football to the modern game, the names and roles of various positions have changed greatly, some positions no longer exist, and others have been created to fill new roles.
A formation in football refers to the position players line up in before the start of a down. There are both offensive and defensive formations and there are many formations in both categories. Sometimes, formations are referred to as packages.
In sports, a starting lineup is an official list of the set of players who will participate in the event when the game begins. The players in the starting lineup are commonly referred to as starters, whereas the others are substitutes or bench players.
Center (C) is a position in American football and Canadian football. The center is the innermost lineman of the offensive line on a football team's offense. The center is also the player who passes the ball between his legs to the quarterback at the start of each play.
In American football, a zone blitz is a defensive tactic that sends additional players to rush the opposing team's quarterback, whilst also unexpectedly redirecting a supposed pass rushing player into pass coverage instead. This tactic also likely includes zone coverage.
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.
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 triple option is an American football play used to offer several ways to move the football forward on the field of play. The triple option is based on the option run, but uses three players who might run with the ball instead of the two used in a standard option run.
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.
On defense in American football, rushing is charging across the line of scrimmage towards the quarterback or kicker in the effort to stop or "sack" them. The purpose is tackling, hurrying or flushing the quarterback, or blocking or disrupting a kick. In both college and professional football, getting a strong pass rush is an important skill, as even an average quarterback can be productive if he has lots of time to find an open receiver, even against a good secondary. To increase pressure, teams will sometimes use a pass-rushing specialist, who is usually a quick defensive end or outside linebacker tasked with aggressively rushing the quarterback in obvious passing situations.
A fullback (FB) is a position in the offensive backfield in American and Canadian football, and is one of the two running back positions along with the halfback. Typically, fullbacks are larger than halfbacks and in most offensive schemes their duties are split between power running, pass catching, and blocking for both the quarterback and the other running back.
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.