"Statue of Liberty" play

I remember watching a cartoon when I was young (I think it was the Flintstones). They were playing football and called for the old “Statue of Liberty” play. I have heard vague references to it a couple of times growning up. I didn’t really have any interest in football then, so I thought it was a real play. Being all grown up now, and finding an interest where grown men crash into each other with great velocity, I haven’t seen any teams do the SOL play.

Question: Whas that just a fake play used in the cartoon, was it a play they used to do in the early days of football, or is it called by another name now (like a Draw play, or something)?

In the “Statue of Liberty” play the quarterback takes the snap and stands with his arm back like he’s going to throw a pass. (He kinda looks like the Statue of Liberty at this point, hence the name.) Now here’s the tricky part – the running back comes by and takes the ball!!

So it’s just a glorified handoff with a little not-too-subtle misdirection. I don’t know if it was ever used in the pros, but I imagine it probably was once or twice. It is never used today since it is likely to end in a sack and/or a fumble against today’s defenses. But we used to use it once in a while in pickup games when I was a kid – mostly because it was a play that had a memorable name so we all knew what it was. Against the typical grade school defense it was workable, but even then I doubt anyone thought we were really going to pass it.

“Vandelay!! Say Vandelay!!”

Dang! So it has nothing to do with “huddled masses, yearning to breath free” ?

Well, it’s still in use, sort of. It’s the draw play.

The quarterback drops back, like previously stated, but instead of holding the ball up in the air, he hands it off to a running back. The idea is that the defensive team has rushed upfield thinking “pass” and therefore can’t compress back into the middle before the running back gets through.

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The Statue of Liberty play doesn’t get used very much anymore in the NFL or in college. It still shows up at the high school level.

The play takes a second or two longer to set up than a regular draw play and in the NFL that often means that both the QB and the RB are going to get hit.

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