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3 Plays for the Backyard Gridiron

Digital Shotgun / flickr

The annual backyard football game isn’t only about winning. It’s about winning and being able to completely humiliate your older brother while doing so, and then reminding of him of your superiority for the next year.

While the "Go Out and Get Open" play has been reasonably reliable, some controlled chaos might be more successful.

Trent Dilfer, ESPN pro football analyst, draws up three sure-fire scores:

1. Two Jet All Go

How to Run It

Have one guy in the backfield and two receivers on each side—one pair on the outside, four yards from the sideline, the others on the inside just off of where an offensive line would be. Put your best player at one of the inside slots. The outside receivers run straight and deep and are essentially decoys. The inside guys gradually get wider as they run deep. One of them is your target. Take a 5-step drop, pump fake in the opposite direction, and chances are your man will be open. The back runs a pattern to the right or left and is an effective Plan B, since it looks like a longball play and he’ll be forgotten.

Why it Works

The effectiveness of this scheme comes from the spacing, forcing the defense to cover both length and width. “It’s the best play in football. It’s yet to be figured out by defenses,” Dilfer says.

2. The Smash Play

How to Run it

Same formation as Two Jet All Go. The outside guys run 8-yard stop routes. The inside guys run 12 yards straight out and then cut 45 degrees to the sideline.

Why it Works

The defenders will become too focused on the outside guys, allowing the inside receivers to sneak behind them. This formation also stretches the defense horizontally and vertically and creates mass confusion. Once again, put your best player on the inside.

3. 22 Scat Hook and Lateral

How to Run it

Have 3 receivers on one side, 1 receiver on the other with the back cheating to that side. The single receiver runs a 12-yard curl. The inside receiver on the 3-man set runs a crossing route after 4 yards (about 2 steps off the line). After a 5-step drop, the quarterback throws a numbers-perfect pass to the curl receiver who then pitches to the crossing receiver who takes it up the sideline. While this is going on, the running back runs a flare down the sideline and is available for an option pitch. The other two receivers run away from the play.

Pro Tip

To sell the decoy, keep looking downfield to maintain urgency and scare the defender. Put your best player in the crossing route—if the curl’s not there, he’s still open and can run the rest of the play. Guarantee the lateral by making a soft toss and letting the guy run into it from about three yards away.

About The Author

Steve Calechman – Steve Calechman is a contributing writer for CorePerformance.com. He has published articles for Men's Health, Natural Health, The Robb Report and Women's Health magazine.

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Tags: Football, Leisure Time