12.22.09 8 years ago 7 Comments

NFL fans have found another way to be annoying: by not being able to identify what has to be one of the oldest gadget plays in the game: the polecat. It’s a play that, if you’ve ever watched or played football at the high school level, is relatively familiar. And successful. [I’ve also heard it called the “swinging gate,” by a couple east coasters]

The play works by sending the entire offensive line in motion, in hopes of confusing the defense. And if it doesn’t, well, you’re pretty much screwed. And that’s why nobody in the NFL runs it. Because every player and coach in the NFL has, at some point, already seen it.

The beauty of it all is that the Giants were totally ready for it. Five players follow the line and six stay on the ball. They rush three at the punter, who’s probably so grateful that the Redskins decided not to wear white pants that night, and force an interception. Hunter Smith’s first read was probably the “center,” who is eligible in this formation. Smith chose to throw it to his second option: Jesus.

It’s not a terrible football play, but it’s a horrible, horrible NFL play. Even with a real quarterback, this play doesn’t work against the Giants. But the Redskins coaching staff thought that the polecat was ready for prime time, which explains a lot about their woeful season. Watch it after the jump.

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