Two Football Trick Plays

With the college football bowl season proceeding in most areas of the U.S. and the NFL up and running, here are two trick plays that you’re not likely to see over the next few weeks.

The first example, a goal-line play performed by Bethel College, is risky and may not be appropriate for you own team, but it definitely would confuse those defensive backs who “key” off the quarterback’s eyes (there’s no sound track on this video).

There’s another trick play you may have seen, in which the quarterback makes a comment about the ball, is handed the ball from the center,  walks through the line of scrimmage untouched, then makes a mad sprint to the goal line.

Here’s a psychological explanation of why the play works, as discussed by Christopher Chabris, professor of psychology at Union College.

(By the way, as a football fan, I was one-for-two last weekend. My alma mater, the University of Wisconsin lost the Rose Bowl, but my NFL team, the Green Bay Packers advanced to the playoffs…barely).


Dick Moss, Editor,

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[tags]football trick plays,trick plays in football[/tags]

Football Games and the True Excitement in Sport

FBall_web1I’m a big NFL football fan. In particular (after having attended the University of Wisconsin for six years), a follower of the Green Bay Packers. To me, one of the consolations for Fall’s shorter days and colder temperatures is the fact that I get to watch NFL football on Sundays.

That said, the two most exciting games on television over the past two weeks didn’t take place in the NFL. They were games in “lesser” leagues north of the border.

One example was the Canadian university game between Queen’s and Laval universities for the Mitchell Bowl, the Eastern Conference Championships. In this barn-burner, passing sensation Danny Brannagan of Queen’s built up a huge lead in the first half only to have Laval charge back in the second half, gain possession with two minutes to go, then ultimately lose by only three points. The game was broadcast only in French…which I don’t speak. Yet I couldn’t stop watching. The 6000 fans in the stands might have been 60,000, they were making so much noise.

The second example was yesterday’s Grey Cup game. This championship of the Canadian Football League (CFL) followed a similar scenario, in which the underdog Saskatchewan Rough Riders built up a two-touchdown lead, only to squander it and have the game come down to a final drive and a 43-yard last-second field goal attempt by the favoured Montreal Alouettes. That field goal attempt was wide, but a too-many-men-on-the-field infraction gave Montreal a do-over from the 33 yard line. Kicker Damon Duval, who had been horrible all game, put it through the uprights to give Montreal the win. It was shocking, and exciting and I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen.

My point is…the excitement in sports isn’t determined by big salaries, big budgets and media hype. It comes down to hard competition and the ebbs and flows of a close game between two equal teams. And to the gut-wrenching pressure of last-second win-it-all plays. And that can happen at any level, including elementary and high school – as I’m sure all of you involved in scholastic sports already know!


Dick Moss, Editor,

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[tags]football,physical education,competition,Grey Cup,Mitchell Cup,CFL,CIS,NFL[/tags]

Watching the Super Bowl With A Group of Girls


I usually don’t go to Super Bowl parties. In my experience, you really never get to watch the game – there’s too much chit-chat going on to concentrate.

However, last night, I made an exception. My university women’s track team had a Super Bowl party and invited the coaches. It sounded like fun, but I hedged my bets, saying that I probably wouldn’t stay for the entire game.

It quickly became apparent that my wife, Terry, and I were the only ones who actually understood the rules of football. Here’s a sample of the questions and comments made during the game:

Them: “What’s that on the back of his pants? Is that sweat?”
Me: “Yes, that’s sweat.”
Them: “Well, why do they have to wear white pants?”

“In fact, what do they WEAR under their pants? Look, you can see his bum.”

“Oh, they’re wearing pads? Is that why they’re so big?”

Them: “Why doesn’t that black stuff under their eyes run?”
Me: “Well it’s not mascara.”
Them: “How come everybody doesn’t wear it?”

“I was going to research football rules, so I’d know what was going on, but I forgot.”

Them: “Sacks? Ouch? They record that?”
Me: “It’s not what you think.”
Them: “Oh good. I was thinking that poor guy. Three times.”

Them: “That’s the end of the first half? Does the other team get the ball now?”
Me: “No, both teams can have the ball in both halves. Both teams had it in the first half. “
Them: “They did?”

All good questions. I had a lot of fun. I love those girls.

But I was home in time for the second half kick-off.


Dick Moss, Editor,

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[tags]sports,football,Super Bowl,physical education,coaching[/tags]

Officials Might be Tougher Than Athletes


Some of the National Football League games this weekend were conducted in blizzard conditions – it was exceptionally enjoyable watching them from in front of my fireplace on my LazyBoy chair.

In the Buffalo versus Cleveland snow-bowl, you’d see the players complete their series of downs in the driving winds and ankle-deep snow, then head for the sidelines and their blankets and heaters. But you know who didn’t have the option of heading for the sidelines? The officials – they were on the field for both offensive and defensive play, dressed in skimpy referee shirts, and doing more standing than running. Youch – it made me shiver as I sipped my hot chocolate and put another log on the fire.

And it made me think of the Canadian Cross-Country Running Championships that I wrote about two weeks ago, and the cold, snowy conditions that faced the athletes…and the officials there.

The officials and race organizers were stuck outside from long before the race began, to long after: setting up, getting the races started, collecting and compiling results, and finally, retrieving the course marking, long after the party had disbanded – unlike the athletes, who warmed up, raced, then headed for their warm van or tent.

In my sport, track and cross-country, most officials are volunteers. And most are committed to a long watch – in the case of championship track meets, often two or three days at a time. And if the weather is bad (and I’ve been to many meets where it has been raining and barely above freezing), well, tough – they can’t escape the elements like the athletes and coaches who often sit in their shelters griping about why the meet is running so slowly.

To tell you the truth, I’ve never been able to figure out the motivation of these officials. But whatever that motivation is, I’m grateful for it. Without dedicated officials, our sport…any organized sport…could not exist.

So, as the year winds down, thanks to all the officials of outdoor sports: the soccer, rowing, track, football, (and many more) officials who must brave the elements and without whom there would be no organized competitions. Have yourself a great holiday break…we’ll be needing you in 2008!

By the way, we have readers from over 17 countries now, and many of you may never have seen football in the snow. So, to take a look at the game I was watching yesterday, check out this link:


Dick Moss, Editor,

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[tags]football,physical education,sports,officials[/tags]

He’s Not My Quarterback…He’s My Linebacker!

Linebacker - Football Player Making a Tackle

Is your football defense getting dominated up the middle and outrun around the ends? If so, maybe you have the wrong athletes playing linebacker.

According to Sports Illustrated, the latest trend in defense is to emphasize speed over size when selecting linebackers. The position is so important in defense, that many coaches are putting their best players – from both offense and defense – in that position.

Where do you find these players? Possibly among your tailbacks and even quarterbacks. Joe Lemire, High School Football, Quick Hitters, Sports Illustrated, September 10, 2007.

Dick Moss, Editor,

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