A successful trick play in football can really be a game changer. Most of them are rarely used, and when they are, they are rarely successful. However, coaches are hoping for the exception or maybe they are just desperate. Regardless, they can be really fun to watch!

What all trick plays have in common is they are trying to deceive the other team into incorrectly anticipating what is going to happen. While they are thinking one thing (e.g. hang out in a zone waiting for a pass or running towards the guy with the ball as fast as they can to tackle him), something very different happens. This causes players to be out of position or being forced to suddenly change direction. Both of these results are not good for the “trickee” but are great for the “trickor”.

As with most things on this website, we don’t have every single trick play ever run in football. However, if you hear or see one and want to know more, contact us and we’ll give you the inside scoop!!

Trick Play List for Football

  1. Fleaflicker – An offensive play where the ball is handed off, one or two times, and then thrown as a long pass down field. Melissa’s ‘cousin’, Phil McConkey, had a famous one in Super Bowl XXI.
  2. Statue of Liberty play –  This one gets its name because the quarterback kind of looks like the Statue of Liberty holding up her torch. He stands back acting like he is going to pass the ball and has the ball over his head and back like he is trying to find the receiver. At that time, a running back sneaks up behind him, sneaks the ball out of his hand, and takes off running.
  3. Fake Punt – This is when the offensive team lines up like they are going to punt but instead when he receives the ball, he runs or passes it hoping for a first down. 
  4. Play Action Pass –  A pass play where the quarterback fakes a handoff to a running back while he is dropping back to pass and tries to hide the fact he still has the ball. This is hardly a ‘trick play’ as it happens all the time. However, sometimes, the quarterback and running back are so good at the deception, the entire defense thinks the running back has the ball. You know it was a good one when the camera guy follows the running back only and the announcers are trying to figure out what just happened.
  5. Jet Sweep –  A trick play when a wide receiver runs across the backfield behind the other players towards the opposite end of the line and receives a handoff directly from the quarterback. The receiver can then either run the ball or try and pass it since he is still behind the line. Check out our way to use the term in everyday life.
  6. Reverse – A play when a ball-carrier who is running parallel to the line of scrimmage hands off the ball to a teammate running in the opposite direction. The point is to try and get the defense caught off guard and all running toward the first ball-carrier, making it difficult to quickly switch directions. It often happens as an addition to the end-around. If the defense ‘stays at home’ they will really never get caught.
  7. Halfback Pass – When the quarterback pitches the ball to a halfback for a run, but instead of running up the field, the halfback passes the ball down field to a hopefully wide open receiver. The deception is the defense should think he is running and all the defensive players should start running towards him to tackle. Well, if they are all running towards the halfback then other guys may be wide open. One problem here is a lot of halfbacks really can’t throw the ball. But, you always have to worry about those that used to play quarterback in high school.
  8. Hook and Ladder – A play when a receiver catches a pass and, as tacklers close in on him, tosses the ball (laterals it) to a teammate. This is almost never used unless desperate but it is widely used in flag football. It gets its name because the initial receivers route is usually a hook pattern.
  9. Fake Field Goal – It is just like what it sounds like. It is when the team a team looks as if they are kicking a field goal but at the last second, they decide to go for the first down or touch down instead. This generally involves either the guy who holds the ball for the kicker getting up and running with it, passing it or tossing it to the kicker who then runs it or passes it.

Tell us what you think!