Welcome to the It’s a Numbers Game! Football Blog Tour!
To celebrate the release of the newest addition to the It’s a Numbers Game series AND the start of football season, this week blogs across the internet will be featuring special excerpts from It’s a Numbers Game! Football by Eric Zweig with a foreword by NFL superstar Patrick Mahomes. Join us each day this week as we explore the stats, digits, and dimensions of the game. And be sure to have a pencil and paper ready to try your hand at some fun gridiron calculations!
Don’t Pass Out
Right angles, acute angles, obtuse angles, degrees—it’s all math, or, more specifically, geometry. But what does this have to do with football? You may be surprised to learn just how much geometry is involved in running pass patterns. A great pass receiver needs strong hands. It helps to be fast, too. It also doesn’t hurt to throw in a few fake moves to make the defense think you’re going the other way. But even receivers who aren’t very speedy or shifty can be effective if they can run precise patterns. That means making their cuts at the proper angle—and angles are what geometry is all about. Check out these basic pass patterns with various angles.
OUT: Sometimes known as a down and out or a square-out. The receiver runs straight for a fixed distance, usually 10 yards, and then makes a sharp 90-degree cut to “the outside” toward the sidelines.
IN: Sometimes known as a down and in or a dig route. The receiver runs straight for a fixed distance, usually 10 yards, and then makes a sharp 90-degree cut to “the inside” toward the middle of the field.
POST: Post routes are used for longer pass plays. The receiver runs straight for about 10 or 20 yards, then cuts at a 45-degree angle into the middle of the field and runs toward the goal posts. That’s how this route got its name.
CORNER: Sometimes known as a flag. This is a similar route to the post but in a different direction. The receiver runs straight for about 10 or 20 yards, then cuts at a 45-degree angle toward the corner of the end zone and runs toward the flags there.
HOOK: Sometimes known as a hitch or a button hook. This is a short pass play. The receiver runs straight for 10 yards or less and then abruptly stops and turns to run back toward the quarterback. The ball should arrive almost as soon as the receiver has made his turn.
FLY: Sometimes called a streak route or a go route. The receiver runs straight up the field toward the other team’s end zone. There are no cuts or angles in this route. Passes like these are sometimes referred to as bombs or long bombs. Late in a game, a team might send three or five receivers to run a fly route, hoping to get a lucky catch. When they do that, the play is often known as a Hail Mary pass.
Think about the angles of the patterns described and see if you can come up with your own patterns. Consider some zigzags or combining different cuts with several different angles. Sketch them out on a few pieces of paper first. You can even come up with names for your plays. It could be something as simple as a description of the moves you want done. For example, an out pattern with an extra 90-degree cut upfield could be an “out and up” or a “down out and down.” You can get more creative, too. A zigzag move could be called a “lightning bolt,” or a play designed for a specific friend to run, like your buddy Teddy, could have his or her name or nickname used as the name of the play—the Teddy Bear!
When you’re ready, find yourself a football, a friend, and a field. Then test out your pass patterns. (Don’t forget to ask permission from an adult before you head out!) You’re probably not as good a quarterback as Tom Brady— yet—and your plays might not actually work in an NFL game, but if you can get your geometry right, you might score some touchdowns!
HISTORY BY THE NUMBERS
Where did the quarterback name come from? Think about coins. A quarter—25 cents—is worth one-quarter or 25 percent of a dollar. The player who lined up in the backfield the farthest behind the line of scrimmage was known as a “fullback”. The player who lined up halfway between the line of scrimmage and the fullback was known as a “halfback.” So it was decided that the player who was positioned between the halfback and the line of scrimmage should be known as the “quarterback.”
Buy | Goodreads
Do you know how to calculate a quarterback’s completion percentage? What was the score of the highest scoring Super Bowl game? Become a football fanatic and learn all about the numbers and math behind this popular sport.
With every throw, tackle, and kick, numbers are being calculated on the football field. Get ready to learn all the ways digits and math factor into the game, from the countless statistics used to measure an individual player’s performance to the numbers used in defensive formations. Read about the greatest players from football history and get fascinating facts, like the price of a Super Bowl commercial. Discover which NFL team defenses have allowed the fewest points and check out cool graphics that show the angles in different pass patterns. Also features a er
Jam-packed with sports trivia, awesome photos, and fun activities at the end of every chapter, this number-focused look at the game is a definite touchdown.
About the Author
Right: Young Eric as quarterback!
Originally from Toronto, ERIC ZWEIG grew up as a fan of the CFL’s Argonauts, the NHL’s Maple Leafs, and the MLB’s Blue Jays. When he broke his wrist as a young boy, Eric got Argonauts quarterback and future NFL star Joe Theismann to sign his cast. Eric has been writing professionally about sports and sports history since 1985. He worked for a small Toronto-based publisher affiliated with the NHL for more than 20 years, and has written more than 40 books for adults and for children since 1992. Eric currently lives in Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada.
- Five (5) winners will receive the 4-book It’s a Numbers Game! series, including Football, Soccer, Basketball, and Baseball
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Blog Tour Schedule:
September 12th — Bookhounds
September 13th — Mama Likes This
September 15th — Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
September 16th — A Dream Within A Dream