- Statue of Liberty play
The Statue of Liberty is a trick play in
American football, occasionally seen in high school football, college footballand NFL.
Execution of the play
Although many variations of the play exist, the most common involves the
quarterbacktaking the snap from the center, dropping back, and gripping the ball with two hands as if he were to throw. He then takes his non-throwing hand and uses it to place the ball behind his back while pump faking a throw to one side of the field. While his arm is still in motion during the fake throw, he hands the ball off behind his back to a running backor a wide receiverin motion, who runs the football to the opposite side of the field. The play is contingent upon the defense being tricked out of position by the pump fake, and then being unable to catch up with the runner as he runs in the opposite direction of the fake.
The play is named after the positioning of the quarterback as he hands the ball off. If done correctly, he should have one hand in the air and the other at his side, resembling the pose of the
Statue of Libertyin New York City. When executed properly, the Statue of Liberty is a very deceptive and high-yardage play. However, because of the difficult coordination of motions it is often very challenging to properly execute the play, and this may lead to a fumble, sack, or lost yardage. Additionally, disciplined defenses will be more likely to pick up on the fake and will not be tricked by the play.
History of the play
Amos Alonzo Stagg was the first to call the play, but it was made popular by Fielding H. Yost during his tenure as head coach of the football team at the
University of Michigan.cite web| url=http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/statue_of_liberty_play | title= Statue of Liberty Play | last=Popik | first=Barry | work= The Big Apple| date=2004-07-19| accessdate=2007-03-21]
The Northwestern Wildcats employed a version of this play in the
1949 Rose Bowlto run for a 45-yard touchdown in the final minutes of the game, defeating the heavily favored California Golden Bears 20-14. [cite web|url=http://www.library.northwestern.edu/archives/exhibits/football/6.html |title=A History of Football at Northwestern: Bob Voights: 1947-1954 |publisher=Northwestern University Archives |accessdate=2008-07-17] [cite web|url=http://hailtopurple.com/cde/bowls1949rose.html |title=1949 Rose Bowl |publisher=Hail to Purple |accessdate=2008-07-17]
The Baltimore Colts ran a version of the play in December, 1970. Led by 37-year-old quarterback
Johnny Unitas, The Colts beat the Oakland Raiders in the 1970 AFC Championship game 27-17.
The most famous use in recent years was by
Jared Zabranskyand Ian Johnson in the 2007 Fiesta Bowlcite web| url=http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/football/games/2007-01-02-fiesta_x.htm | title= Boise State shocks Oklahoma with dramatic play calls in OT at Fiesta Bowl | last=Staff and Wire Reports | work= USA Today| date=2007-01-02| accessdate=2007-03-21] between the undefeated Boise State Broncos and the Oklahoma Sooners. The play, known as "Statue Left" by the Broncos, clinched Boise State a two-point conversion for the overtime victory, and surprised the Oklahoma defense as well as many television viewers who had never seen a Statue of Liberty play before. The game between the two teams is referred to as one of the closest and most exciting college football games of all-time,cite web| url=http://proxy.espn.go.com/espn/columns/story?columnist=forde_pat&id=2716979 | title= Broncos earn respect with improbable victory | last=Forde | first=Pat | work= ESPN.com| date=2007-01-02| accessdate=2007-03-21] due in part to the do-or-die nature of this play. It is run in the trips shotgun set. The Sooners saw another Statue of Liberty play in their September 6, 2008, game against the Cincinnati Bearcats. Bearcats quarterback Dustin Grutza handed off to John Goebel, but the Sooners stopped Goebel for only a short gain.
In a regular season matchup against the
Michigan Wolverinesin 2007, Oregon DucksQuarterback Dennis Dixonfaked a Statue of Liberty to Running Back Jonathan Stewartand then ran for a crucial touchdown almost unseen.
The New England Patriots employed an unusual variant of the play in their 2007 NFL Divisional playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Strictly speaking, the play, which the Patriots called "Double Pop," [ [www.patriots.com/search/index.cfm?ac=searchdetail&pid=30266&pcid=41&rss=1 Brady's 'double pop' fake worth a second look] ] was actually a "reverse" Statue of Liberty play, in that the run, not the pass, was the fake element. Center
Dan Koppenfaked a direct snap to Patriots running back Kevin Faulk, causing the defense to move to stop the run; meanwhile, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who received the football, faked an over-the-head snap, and held the Statue of Liberty pose with his back to the defense before turning around and throwing a touchdown pass to wide receiver Wes Welkerin the back of the end zone. [ [http://www.nfl.com/videos?videoId=09000d5d8060fd8d Anatomy of a Play: Tom Brady's fake snap] ]
* [http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/statue_of_liberty_play/ History on the Statue of Liberty play]
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