By R Freeman
Let's face it: football is a difficult sport to understand. The ways a team can score, how the team moves the ball, and the endless list of rules can confuse just about anyone. When you add the different types of plays to the mix, it just gets worse.
Have you ever tried to describe how a football team earns a first down to someone who knows absolutely nothing about football? It isn't an easy task by any stretch of the imagination. You basically have to drill down to the minute details just to even explain what four downs are, never mind adding 10 yards to the mix.
If you are successful in explaining first downs, try to move on to the different ways a team can move the ball down the field: passing, running and penalties. Heck, throw penalties out of the mix and just try to explain passing and running first. After the three hours you spend on that with someone, most likely your wife, you can then move onto specific plays the offense uses.
Start Simple: Basic Plays
The most basic play to get across to a not-so-knowledgeable football fan is the forward pass. Once your pupil grasps this, then you can add the hand-off and maybe the screen pass to the mix as well. At this point you may have caused the student's brain to go into overload so before going further make sure they are still able to tell you their name.
Second Level: Understanding the Draw Play
If they pass this test, then move onto one of the more difficult plays to explain: the draw play. Now, for a football expert this play isn't as difficult to comprehend as say the flea-flicker or the statue of liberty, but for a non-football attic, the draw play is a high hurdle to jump over. For a quick explanation of how to explain it, keep reading; but if you are a pro at the draw play, keep reading anyway and see if you got it right or not.
The draw play integrates a little bit of a passing play and a running play as it is meant to trick the defense into thinking the quarterback will throw the ball but in the end, the running back (or tailback for your old school guys) will actually run the ball. In quick, simple terms the quarterback steps back like he is going to throw the ball and when he sees the defense bite onto this, he hands the ball off to the running back who takes it down the field.
Advanced Students: Formations
For your advanced pupils, you can further differentiate the draw play based on the formation the offense chooses to line up in. When utilizing the traditional quarterback under center formation, a draw play is considered to be a "delayed handoff" but when utilizing the shotgun formation the play is more widely known as the "draw." Of course an explanation into the formation types is warranted here but for now, your student should be fully versed on the draw play.
The simplicity of explaining a draw play lies behind you. Go and take this knowledge and teach others so the legacy of football "draw plays" can carry on into the future.