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.

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. (However, in other leagues, the person under the snapper is an eligible receiver, and this restriction does not apply.)

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[1].

The halfback option play is an integral part of the wildcat offense, which involves the halfback receiving a direct snap.

Notable instances

There have been many notable cases where the halfback option pass has been used with great success.

  • In Super Bowl XII, Dallas Cowboys fullback Robert Newhouse threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Golden Richards, versus the Denver Broncos, becoming the first fullback/halfback to throw a touchdown pass in Super Bowl History. QB Roger Staubach took the snap and pitched the ball to Newhouse who ran left, faking a sweep, before pulling up and throwing an absolutely perfect pass to an almost perfectly covered Richards.[3] This basically sealed the game for Dallas, and they went on to win 27-10.

References

  1. ^ https://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/198309180nor.htm
  2. ^ Oberheide.org Hargiss's Option Play
  3. ^ http://www.nfl.com/superbowl/history/boxscore/sbxii
  4. ^ Bell, Jarrett. Odd formations could become latest fad across NFL. USA Today. 24 September 2008.
1958 NFL Championship Game

The 1958 National Football League Championship Game was the 26th NFL championship game, played on December 28 at Yankee Stadium in New York City. It was the first NFL playoff game to go into sudden death overtime. The final score was Baltimore Colts 23, New York Giants 17, and the game has since become widely known as "The Greatest Game Ever Played".It marked the beginning of the NFL's popularity surge, and eventual rise to the top of the United States sports market. A major reason was that the game was televised across the nation by NBC. Baltimore receiver Raymond Berry recorded 12 receptions for 178 yards and a touchdown. His 12 receptions set a championship record that stood for 55 years.

1966 Alabama Crimson Tide football team

The 1966 Alabama Crimson Tide football team (variously "Alabama", "UA" or "Bama") represented the University of Alabama in the 1966 NCAA University Division football season. It was the Crimson Tide's 72nd overall and 33rd season as a member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The team was led by head coach Bear Bryant, in his ninth year, and played their home games at Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Legion Field in Birmingham and Ladd Stadium in Mobile, Alabama. They finished season undefeated with eleven wins (11–0 overall, 6–0 in the SEC), as SEC co-champions and with a victory over Nebraska in the Sugar Bowl.

Alabama opened the season with a victory over Louisiana Tech in Birmingham and followed that with a victory at Ole Miss for their first conference win of the season. The Crimson Tide then returned home and defeated Clemson in the first Tuscaloosa game of the season before they traveled to Knoxville for their annual rival game against Tennessee. In the game, Alabama trailed the Volunteers 10–0 in the fourth quarter before they rallied for an 11–10 victory that saw Tennessee miss a game-winning field goal in the final minute of play.

Alabama then alternated home games between Birmingham and Tuscaloosa over the next four weeks and defeated Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, LSU and South Carolina in each game. After they defeated Southern Miss in their annual Mobile game, the Crimson Tide defeated Auburn in the Iron Bowl and captured a share of the SEC championship. In the January that followed, Alabama then defeated Nebraska in the Sugar Bowl and finished the season undefeated. Although they were the only undefeated and untied college team at the conclusion of the year, Alabama was not selected as national champions for the season. On the 1966 squad, Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi stated: "I don't know, we haven't played Alabama yet" when asked how it felt to have the world's greatest football team for the season after his Packers won Super Bowl I.

1967 Green Bay Packers season

The 1967 Green Bay Packers season was their 49th season overall and their 47th season in the National Football League and resulted in a 9–4–1 record and a victory in Super Bowl II. The team beat the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL Championship Game, a game commonly known as the "Ice Bowl," which marked the second time the Packers had won an NFL-record third consecutive NFL championship, having also done so in 1931 under team founder Curly Lambeau. In the playoff era (since 1933), it remains the only time a team has won three consecutive NFL titles.

The Packers were led by ninth-year head coach Vince Lombardi and veteran quarterback Bart Starr, in his twelfth season. Green Bay's victory in Super Bowl II over the Oakland Raiders was the fifth world championship for the Packers under Lombardi and the last game he coached for the Packers.

1967 NFL Championship Game

The 1967 National Football League Championship Game was the 35th NFL championship, played on December 31 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin.It determined the NFL's champion, which met the AFL's champion in Super Bowl II, then formally referred to as the second AFL-NFL World Championship Game.

The Dallas Cowboys (9–5), champions of the Eastern Conference, traveled north to meet the Western champion Green Bay Packers (9–4–1), the two-time defending league champions. It was a rematch of the previous year's title game, and pitted two future Hall of Fame head coaches against each other, Tom Landry for the Cowboys and Vince Lombardi for the Packers. The two head coaches had a long history together, as both had coached together on the staff of the late 1950s New York Giants, with Lombardi serving as offensive coordinator and Landry as defensive coordinator.

Because of the adverse conditions in which the game was played, the rivalry between the two teams, and the game's dramatic climax, it has been immortalized as the Ice Bowl and is considered one of the greatest games in NFL history.

Leading up to the 50th Anniversary of the game, NFL Films released an episode of its Timeline series about the events that day and the lasting impact. The episode is narrated and co-produced by filmmaker Michael Meredith, whose father Don Meredith was the QB for the Cowboys that day.

1979–80 NFL playoffs

The National Football League playoffs for the 1979 season began on December 23, 1979. The postseason tournament concluded with the Pittsburgh Steelers defeating the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl XIV, 31–19, on January 20, 1980, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

1984–85 NFL playoffs

The National Football League playoffs for the 1984 season began on December 22, 1984. The postseason tournament concluded with the San Francisco 49ers defeating the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XIX, 38–16, on January 20, 1985, at Stanford Stadium in Stanford, California.

The two wild card games were held on different days because both venues were in the Pacific Standard Time Zone. The NFL did not schedule prime time playoff games on the east coast until 2002. Normally, playoff games started at either 12:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time/9:30 a.m. Pacific Standard Time or 4 p.m. EST/1 p.m. PST. A 9:30 a.m. PST game was considered too early to be played on the west coast.

2009 Old Dominion Monarchs football team

The 2009 Old Dominion Monarchs football team represented Old Dominion University during the 2009 NCAA Division I FCS football season. The team compiled a 9–2 record, in the first season under the guidance of head coach Bobby Wilder. The Monarchs competed as an independent. The team's home games were played at Foreman Field.

Emmitt Smith

Emmitt James Smith III (born May 15, 1969) is a former college and professional American football running back who became the National Football League's (NFL) all-time leading rusher during his fifteen seasons in the league during the 1990s and 2000s.

Smith grew up in Pensacola, Florida and became the second-leading rusher in American high school football history while playing for Escambia High School. Smith then attended the University of Florida, where he set numerous school rushing records over a three-year college career with the Florida Gators. After being named a unanimous All-American in 1989, Smith chose to forgo his senior year of eligibility and play professionally. He came back and completed his college coursework, graduating from the University of Florida in 1996.

The Dallas Cowboys selected Smith in the first round of the 1990 NFL draft. During his long professional career, he became the NFL's all-time rushing leader with 18,355 yards, breaking the record formerly held by Walter Payton, and played for three Super Bowl-winning Dallas Cowboys teams. He also holds the record for career rushing touchdowns with 164. Smith is the only running back to ever win a Super Bowl championship, the NFL Most Valuable Player award, the NFL rushing crown, and the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player award all in the same season (1993). He is also one of four running backs to lead the NFL in rushing three or more consecutive seasons, joining Steve Van Buren, Jim Brown and Earl Campbell. Smith led the league in rushing and won the Super Bowl in the same year three times (1992, 1993, and 1995) when to that point it had never been done. Smith is also one of only two non-kickers in NFL history to score more than 1,000 career points (the other being Jerry Rice). Smith was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

Smith played thirteen seasons with the Cowboys and two with the Arizona Cardinals. While playing for Dallas, Smith plus quarterback Troy Aikman and wide receiver Michael Irvin were known as "The Triplets," and they led their team to three Super Bowl championships during the 1990s.

Flea flicker (American 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.

Halfback (American football)

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 (usually a blocking back), as in the I formation, that player is instead referred to as a tailback (see History below).The halfback position is one of the more glamorous positions on the field, and is commonly viewed as a requirement for a team's success. Sometimes the halfback can catch the ball from the backfield on short passing plays as he is an eligible receiver. Occasionally, they line up as additional wide receivers. When not running or catching the ball, the primary responsibility of a halfback is to aid the offensive linemen in blocking, either to protect the quarterback or another player carrying the football.

Preston Ridlehuber

Howard Preston Ridlehuber (born November 2, 1943) is a former American collegiate and professional football running back in the NFL and the American Football League (AFL). He played one season each for the NFL's Atlanta Falcons and the AFL's Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills. He was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the 11th round, pick 166 overall, in the 1966 NFL draft and by the New York Jets in the 19th round, pick 168 overall, of the 1966 AFL draft.

Reverse (American football)

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.

Running back

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 (in certain contexts also referred to as a tailback), a wingback or a fullback. A running back will sometimes be called a "feature back" if he is the team's starting running back.

Super Bowl XII

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 time that the Super Bowl was played in a domed stadium, and the first time that the game was played in prime time in the Eastern United States.

The game pitted Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach against their former quarterback, Craig Morton. Led by Staubach and the Doomsday Defense, Dallas advanced to its fourth Super Bowl after posting a 12–2 regular season record and playoff victories over the Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings. The Broncos, led by Morton and the Orange Crush Defense, made their first Super Bowl appearance after also posting a 12–2 regular-season record and postseason wins over the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Oakland Raiders.

The Cowboys defense dominated most of Super Bowl XII, forcing eight turnovers and allowing only eight pass completions by the Broncos for just 61 yards. Two interceptions led to 10 first-quarter points. Denver's longest play of the game was just 21 yards, which occurred on their opening drive. Dallas expanded its lead to 20–3 in the third quarter after wide receiver Butch Johnson made a diving catch in the end zone for a 45-yard touchdown reception. An ineffective Morton was replaced by Norris Weese late in the third period. He promptly drove the Broncos downfield to score a touchdown to cut the lead to 20-10, capped by a Rob Lytle one-yard touchdown run. But the Cowboys put the game out of reach in the fourth when fullback Robert Newhouse threw a 29-yard touchdown pass on a halfback option play to receiver Golden Richards.For the first and only time, two players won Super Bowl MVP honors: defensive tackle Randy White and defensive end Harvey Martin. This was also the first time that a defensive lineman was named Super Bowl MVP.

Super Bowl XIV

Super Bowl XIV was an American football game between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Los Angeles Rams and the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Pittsburgh Steelers to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1979 season. The Steelers defeated the Rams by the score of 31–19, becoming the first team to win four Super Bowls. The game was played on January 20, 1980, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, and was attended by a Super Bowl record 103,985 spectators. This also became the first Super Bowl where the game was coincidentally played in the home market of one of the participants, as Pasadena is about 10 miles (16 km) northeast of Downtown Los Angeles. It was the last time the Rams made the Super Bowl while based in Los Angeles until LIII in 2018.

The Rams became the first team to reach the Super Bowl after posting nine wins or fewer during the regular season since the NFL season expanded to 16 games in 1978. Their 9–7 regular season record was followed by postseason wins over the Dallas Cowboys and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Steelers were the defending Super Bowl XIII champions, and finished the 1979 regular season with a 12–4 record, and posted playoff victories over the Miami Dolphins and the Houston Oilers.

Super Bowl XIV was a close game during the first three quarters. The Rams led 13–10 at halftime before Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw connected with wide receiver Lynn Swann on a 47-yard touchdown pass. Los Angeles regained the lead on a halfback option play with running back Lawrence McCutcheon's 24-yard touchdown pass to Ron Smith. But Pittsburgh controlled the fourth quarter, scoring 14 unanswered points with Bradshaw's 73-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver John Stallworth, and running back Franco Harris' 1-yard touchdown run. Despite throwing three interceptions, Bradshaw was named Super Bowl MVP by completing 14 of 21 passes for 309 yards and two touchdowns.

Super Bowl XX

Super Bowl XX was an American football game between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Chicago Bears and the American Football Conference (AFC) champion New England Patriots to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1985 season. The Bears defeated the Patriots by the score of 46–10, capturing their first NFL championship (and Chicago's first overall sports victory) since 1963, three years prior to the birth of the Super Bowl. Super Bowl XX was played on January 26, 1986, at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans.

This was the fourth Super Bowl where both teams were making their Super Bowl debuts. The Bears entered the game after becoming the second team in NFL history to win 15 regular season games. With their then-revolutionary 46 defense, Chicago led the league in several defensive categories, outscored their opponents with a staggering margin of 456–198, and recorded two postseason shutouts. The Patriots were considered a Cinderella team during the 1985 season, and posted an 11–5 regular season record, but entered the playoffs as a wild card because of tiebreakers. But defying the odds, New England posted three road playoff wins to advance to Super Bowl XX.

In their victory over the Patriots, the Bears set or tied Super Bowl records for sacks (seven), fewest rushing yards allowed (seven), and margin of victory (36 points). At the time, New England broke the record for the quickest lead in Super Bowl history, with Tony Franklin's 36-yard field goal 1:19 into the first quarter after a Chicago fumble. But the Patriots were eventually held to negative yardage (−19) throughout the entire first half and finished with just 123 total yards from scrimmage, the second lowest total yards in Super Bowl history, behind the Minnesota Vikings (119 total yards) in Super Bowl IX. Bears defensive end Richard Dent, who had 1.5 quarterback sacks, forced two fumbles, and blocked a pass, was named the game's Most Valuable Player (MVP).The telecast of the game on NBC was watched by an estimated 92.57 million viewers. To commemorate the 20th Super Bowl, all previous Super Bowl MVPs were honored during the pregame ceremonies.

Trick 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.

Trick plays take advantage of the fact that nearly all American football plays are either a pass from the quarterback or a run by the halfback. As a result, defenses will think pass when the quarterback has the ball and run when the running back has it. They respond by quickly changing position in an attempt to impede further progress of the offense's players. Trick plays depart from these expectations, attempting to have the defense move into position to defend the wrong play. They tend only to work when they are completely unanticipated by the opponent.

Utility player

In sports, a utility player is one who can play several positions competently. Sports in which the term is often used include football, baseball, rugby union, rugby league, water polo, and softball.

The term has gained prominence in all sports due to its use in fantasy leagues, but in rugby and rugby league, it is commonly used by commentators to recognize a player's versatility.

William Perry (American football)

William Anthony Perry (born December 16, 1962) is a former American professional football player who was a defensive lineman in the National Football League (NFL) for ten seasons during the 1980s and 1990s. Perry played college football for Clemson University, and was recognized as an All-American. He was selected in the first round of the 1985 NFL Draft, and played professionally for the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL. In reference to his imposing size, he was popularly known as "The Refrigerator" or, abbreviated, "The Fridge". Perry also occasionally played at fullback at the goal line due to his size and power.

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