10 Basic Football Plays

Need to know 10 basic football plays? Whether you are looking to coach a football team (whether virtual or physical), begin to play the sport, or simply understand the game that captivates America for six months out of every year, it is important for you to know the ten basic football plays that occur in every football game. There are three aspects of the game of football: offense, defense, and special teams, each of which is equally important to the success of a team.  If you're a football lover, you'll definitely want to check out some more sports videos to satisfy your entertainment needs.


  1. Inside Run – The most basic type of inside runs are dives, traps, and draws. In these types of football plays, the quarterback hands the ball off to another player, the running back, usually set five to seven yards behind the quarterback. The aim point of the running back in an inside run is in between the two exterior linemen (or tackles). These styles of plays are the most common way of getting short, positive yardage in an offense.
  2. Outside Run – Sweeps/stretches, tosses, and off-tackle football plays are the other type of basic running plays. In these plays, the running back stretches out the defense and attempts to get outside the tackles. Coaches generally run these plays when they possess speed at the running back position, or if they want to stretch out the defense in an attempt to open up the interior running game.
  3. Forward Pass – Passing plays have become more solid staple of football offenses as the game has progressed, and the basic forward pass play is the most common. In this style of football play, the quarterback drops back and attempts to find an open receiver to throw the ball to. The receiver must catch the football in the air before they can advance the football, otherwise it is an incomplete pass and the offense will take the ball at the original line of scrimmage, as if the play did not happen.
  4. PlayAction Pass– This style of basic pass play combines the running game and the passing game. The quarterback fakes a hand-off to the running back before he looks for open receivers. 
  5. Screen Pass – Screen passes serve as a hybrid between the running game and the passing game. It is technically a pass, but the intended receiver (which can either be a wide receiver or a running back) is behind the line of scrimmage, making it different than a basic forward pass.


  1. Man Coverage – Man coverage is one of the two basic defensive football plays where each defensive back and line backer matches up with one of the "skill position" players on offense that can catch a football. 
  2. Zone Coverage – In this form of basic defensive football play/coverage, each defensive back and linebacker drops into a "zone" where they attempt to cover the receivers. They do not cover a specific player, rather, they attempt to read the routes in front of them and react.
  3. Blitz – Often times, defensive coaches will send one or more of their linebackers to attempt to get to put pressure on the quarterback. Linebacker blitzes are the most basic way to pressure the quarterback, and they can be executed out of either man or zone coverage football play.

Special Teams – 

  1. Punt – Punting is arguably the most important football plays in a game. On fourth down, the offensive team lines up with one player dropped back around twelve yards. He attempts to field the snap and drop kick the ball to a returner opposite of him. The punting team then attempts to tackle the returner before he can gain positive yardage. 
  2. Field Goal – This basic football play, which happens after each touchdown or on fourth down when within range, involves a place kicker who attempts to kick a football through the field goal uprights for one to three points (depending on whether it is an extra point or field goal).
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