The red zone is not the end zone
Posted: Thursday January 27, 2000 08:04 PM
Don't know a first down from a touchdown? We'll help you become an expert before Sunday's game. Send your questions to Football 101, and check back each day for answers.
Define the "red zone."
-- John Piatt, St. Louis, Mo.
The red zone is the area between the defense's 20-yard line and the end zone. When an offensive team reaches the red zone, it is expected to score.
The ball carrier is almost to the goal line, but right before he crosses the goal line, the defender knocks the ball out of his hand into the end zone, and out of bounds. Whose ball is it and where do they spot it?
-- Roger Williams, Nashville, Tenn.
The defensive team gets the ball at its own 20. That's called a touchback.
Why does the line of scrimmage not move back to where the quarterback was when he threw an incomplete pass? It seems that he is getting a break by not losing yardage.
-- Serr, Gila Bend, Ariz.M
He shouldn't lose yardage if he is not tackled (or downed) behind the line of scrimmage. When an attempted pass falls incomplete, the ball returns to the spot where the last player with possession of the ball was downed.
What is a "Flea-Flicker"? What is the "Fumble-rooskie"?
-- Norm Johnson, Toledo, Ohio
Both plays fall under the category of trick or "gadget" plays. The "Flea Flicker" is designed to look like a running play. The quarterback will hand off or lateral to a running back. The running back will start upfield, drawing the defense to him. Before he crosses the line of scrimmage, he will stop and lateral back to the quarterback. The idea is to pull the run-conscious secondary up, leaving wide receivers alone down field. The quarterback will then throw the ball downfield to an open wide receiver. The most famous "Flea-Flicker" in Super Bowl history occurred in Super Bowl III, when the Baltimore Colts almost ran it to perfection against the New York Jets. The only problem was that Colts quarterback Earl Morrell threw short into double-coverage instead of long to wide-open receiver Jimmy Orr. Today, every team runs the play. It's almost a once-a-game occurrence.
The "Fumble-rooskie" is a lot less common. It is basically a draw play for the center or the most athletic offensive lineman. The play starts off like a normal play. But when the quarterback yells "hike," instead of handing the ball off to the quarterback, the center puts the ball into the quarterback's hands (to make the snap legal), then pulls it back and puts it on the ground (or the quarterback may quickly put the ball on the ground himself). While the ball-handling specialists -- the quarterback, running backs and receivers -- run around as if they're making a play and the offensive linemen engage their defensive counterparts, the ball is picked up by an offensive lineman, who runs untouched the other way. The key to the play is for the entire team to sell the fake and continue to run a dummy play. This play, which is no longer legal, worked better in college than in the pros -- Tom Osborne's Nebraska team ran the play the best.
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