January 08, 2008

Shotgun in the bucket: I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but a coworker and I were watching the NFL playoff games Sunday, and he had a question I couldn't answer, so I put it to all of you: Why do many quarterbacks lift a leg just as they're about to take a shotgun snap? I thought it might have to do with getting a quicker start on backpedaling, but does anyone know? Thanks.

posted by ajaffe to navel gazing at 03:21 PM - 25 comments

Ajaffe, I believe it is a signal to a receiver to start going in motion, or some other type of signal like a silent count. It can be a different signal depending on the offensive system.

posted by hawkguy at 03:28 PM on January 08

motion signal, I always thought.

posted by chris2sy at 03:30 PM on January 08

It's for a secret play called "the Whizzing Dog". Seriously I'm with hawkguy and chris - it's part of a silent count or to let recievers know to start their motion.

posted by BoKnows at 03:36 PM on January 08

I vote that it's some sort of "get yer ass in gear, dude" signal. But hey, I'd entertain fake reasons as well. Like the Whizzing Dog theory.

posted by NoMich at 03:41 PM on January 08

I was always told that it was a signal to the center that everybody was set. That he could snap the ball at will, kind of like a silent count. In as much as the defense had no clue how long after the foot raise the ball was actually comming. However, neither did the O-line or any other offensive player either for that matter.

posted by jojomfd1 at 04:50 PM on January 08

I always figured it was because the QB was far enough away that shouting the count was unreliable, especially in a noisy stadium, so it's kind of an "I'm ready when you are, Mister Center" deal. But the Whizzing Dog theory sounds totally plausible.

posted by chicobangs at 04:59 PM on January 08

It's a little known fact that among NFL quarterbacks, the Dance, Dance, Revolution craze is huge. As a sort of way of showing up the opposing QB, the field general that is in posession of the ball is trying to "get in the head" of his Dance, Dance, Revolution opponent by showing him, and the TV audience for that matter, on the field, just how good his moves are. Or it's what jojo said.

posted by THX-1138 at 07:20 PM on January 08

THX, I think you're onto something. I've seen hidden-camera footage of these things, but I thought for sure they were doctored. I guess they don't call them "Romocop," "Matt Leindance" and "Eli-Trick Boogaloo" for nothing. (They're sure gonna miss "Denny Terrio-staverde" next year. He was the fuckin' King, man.) Fun thing I'ma do in the pub this weekend: every time Peyton or whoever lifts his leg, I'm going to squeal like Michael Jackson. HEEEE! SHAMAR! Anyone wanna come watch me get beat up, probly midway through the second quarter?

posted by chicobangs at 01:39 AM on January 09


posted by ajaffe at 08:08 AM on January 09

Actually, the "Wizzing Dog" play is signalled by lifting either leg straight to the side with the knee locked. This is usually done with a running back near the QB to the side of the leg lifted. When the QB lifts his leg vertically by bending the knee, he is calling the "Counting Horse" play. This one requires leg lifts equal to the number of the down, just so the rest of the team understands that the QB has a clue.

posted by Howard_T at 09:22 AM on January 09

I had forgotten about the "Clever Hans" play even existing...I want to change my answer now.

posted by chris2sy at 10:26 AM on January 09

I forgot one thing important to the "Wizzing Dog" play. The use of a Wizzenator" by the QB results in a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

posted by Howard_T at 10:53 AM on January 09

Sorry, Howard_T is right. I misunderstood the question a bit. Just to clarify a little, the "Counting Horse" play is also referred to as the "Passing Gas" formation, (which would result in a false start depending on what his pregame meal was).

posted by BoKnows at 03:41 PM on January 09

"Passing Gas" formation, (which would result in a false start depending on what his pregame meal was). Legend has it that the "Passing Gas" formation was pretty much every formation when Terry Bradshaw took a snap from "Iron Mike" Webster. Apparently, Mike liked to maintain a pre-game ritual of downing liver pills with buttermilk and as a result would be ripping eye-watering farts by the fourth quarter. But, I'm not sure they were using the leg-lift technique in those days.

posted by Spitztengle at 04:54 PM on January 09

Here it is. Thanks, Spitz.

posted by BoKnows at 05:16 PM on January 09

ajaffe, please, PLEASE, never ask a question like this again. I'm now in trouble with my boss for laughing too loudly at my desk. You must realize that when SpoFites begin sharing their expertise, the answers are often not quite what one would expect. (Now, Spitz, how many times during a game did Mike Webster have to change his pants?)

posted by Howard_T at 11:47 AM on January 10

If only my powers could be channeled for good rather than evil...

posted by ajaffe at 02:12 PM on January 10

(Now, Spitz, how many times during a game did Mike Webster have to change his pants?) Well, that's a question I can't answer. But it does bring up another pre-game ritual for many guys that never seems to be spoken about outside of team locker rooms---the pre-game dump. Some guys tend to celebrate this as a major part of the pre-game ritual ... and boast of exploits on the john. No shit!

posted by Spitztengle at 11:01 AM on January 13

Wouldn't boasting of expoits on the john involve lots of shit? I've never heard anyone boast about constipation before.

posted by apoch at 12:11 PM on January 13

A real man can HOLD his... ah, never mind...

posted by ajaffe at 12:37 PM on January 13

Pre-game dumps are essential for success.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 01:55 PM on January 13

YYM, That explains why my high-school football team went 1-9 in our senior season. The bathrooms at my school were worse than the local dive bar, it was hard to pee without the fear of catching something itchy.

posted by BoKnows at 04:11 PM on January 13

Obviously our team had a similar problem this year. The only game they won had to be forfeited. Apparently using ineligible players is frowned upon by the MHSAA.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 08:24 PM on January 13

HUH, how about that? Weird. Completely off thread topic but related to that - In 8th grade, my school's soccer team won the district championship. Within a day it was determined that 2 players for our team did not log any playing time, so we had to forfeit the game and trophies. Apparently not playing an eligible player is also against the rules.

posted by BoKnows at 09:15 PM on January 13

The bathrooms at my school were worse than the local dive bar, it was hard to pee without the fear of catching something itchy. After they went 1-5 why didn't somebody tell those rough, tough football players to stand up and pee?

posted by jojomfd1 at 09:31 PM on January 13

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