The League

Zach Leibowitz
Sideline Reporter

Zach Leibowitz

A former sideline reporter for ESPN

Vogue Patterns


Trick plays have always been in vogue, it's just they don't work all the time so you don't notice them as much. Sunday had the Antwaan Randle-El to Chris Cooley TD pass, so it's in the news. There will be a couple flee-flickers, double-reverses and left handed option passes from LaDainian Tomlinson still to come this season. One of my favorites was in 2001 when almighty St. Louis pounded the Jets to improve to 6-0. Former Rams wide-out Az-Zahir Hakim took a handoff, ran about 12-yards and as he was about to be tackled, pitched it to a perfectly pre-positioned Trung Candidate. The guy sped down the sideline and waltzed into the end zone untouched. Brilliant.

In college, trick plays are a bit rarer. Nebraska used to run a double option all the time, but they've been so mediocre the last decade you almost forget the days when Tommie Frazier or Eric Crouch ran the offense. More recently, the game that sticks out the most is Boise State's trick play after trick play to stun Oklahoma and the nation at the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. That was the greatest college football I've ever seen.

The trick play that stands out the most over the last decade is the Eagles onside kick in Dallas to literally kickoff the 2000 season. The team that had gone 14-33-1 in the three years prior and was entering its first full season with Donovan McNabb as QB. The Eagles recovered David Akers' kick and Duce Staley marched all over the host Cowboys. Not only was it a trick play, it was the symbolic moment that ascended the Eagles franchise back to contender status.

Trick plays can happen at any time, but shouldn't be overused or they'll lose their luster and effectiveness. They are always in the playbook and must be acknowledged by the opposing team every series. Trick plays were never out of vogue to begin with. When you think they are, that's when they'll burn you.

By Zach Leibowitz  |  October 7, 2008; 11:28 AM ET  | Category:  NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Memorable, If They Work | Next: Don't Get Tricked Out

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