Sample Essay

Strategy plays a significant role in football. Each team has a playbook that contains a number of scripted, strategically sound and coordinated plays.


Plays thought up by the offense may be rushing plays, i.e. relying heavily on running with the ball or passing plays that rely more on ball passes. “Rushing plays are less risky than passing plays. To deceive the other team, some passing plays are designed to resemble running plays and vice versa. These are referred to as play-action passes and draws. There are many trick or gadget plays, such as when a team lines up as if it intends to punt and then tries to run or pass for a first down. Such high-risk plays are a great thrill to the fans when they work. However, they can spell disaster if the opposing team realizes the deception and acts accordingly.” (American Football)


Defense uses tackles, defensive ends and linebackers to stop the run of the offense.  “The standard rush package is flour players. When more than four defenders are used to rush the passer, this is called a blitz defense. This is meant to overwhelm the offensive line with too many people to block.” (Football Defense)

The zone blitz is used to fool an offensive team, in the sense that the players who normally rush the passer are dropped off into zone pass coverage, while players not usually accounted for in pass blocking schemes are sent after the quarterback. (Football Defense). “Often, the zone blitz attempts to overload one side of the line with blitzers, making it impossible for offensive linemen to block every defender. Though this can be effective when employed, the zone blitz leaves gaping holes in run defense and mismatches (lineman versus receivers) in pass defense.” (Football Defense)

In order to stop passes, the defense can use a strategy termed as “Nickel Package”. “This means that a linebacker is taken out and replaced by a defensive back, whose specialty is pass coverage. Since there are normally four defensive backs on defense, the insertion of a fifth defensive back is naturally called a “nickel” package.” (Football Defense)

Another strategy, similar to the nickel package is “Dime Package” which includes the insertion of a sixth defensive back in the defense.  If a seventh back is included, the strategy is called “quarter package” or more commonly, “Prevent defense”. (Football Defense)

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