So much of football is about deception. Maybe that is one of the reasons why so many women don’t like it because our natural tendency is for things to be more transparent and fair. The reality is most every sport has some form of deception in it (except maybe golf where the only deception is in your own mind or on the green).
The play action pass is all about deception. The entire purpose of the play action is to deceive the defense into thinking the offense is going to run the ball while the actual plan is to pass it.
In a play action pass, the quarterback pretends to hand the ball to a running back. After that, the running back pretends he has the ball and the quarterback pretends he doesn’t.
If any of these terms are losing you, here are the definitions of player positions.
Even the receivers and offensive line get into the deception. The receivers act like they are just blocking on the play and the linemen start to block as if they are blocking for the run before they change and start blocking for pass protection (there is a difference).
If everyone’s deception is believed by the defense, the linebackers and the defensive backs (safeties and corners) will ‘bite’ and move towards the line of scrimmage to be prepared to help make the tackle of the running back.
Meanwhile, the receivers finish their route and the quarterback stops pretending he doesn’t have the ball and passes it downfield to a hopefully wide open receiver.
Probably one of the best examples of the play action pass can be seen in this video of the University of Georgia quarterback David Greene playing against Vanderbilt. Greene did this so well, all the cameramen in the stadium ‘bit’ on it too. Watch to the end to see the replays so you can see just how effective this can be.