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Whatever happened to the hook and lateral/hook and ladder? (1 Viewer)

JohnnyU

Footballguy
You used to see this play all the time in the 70s. It's a beautiful play too when it works and it seemed to work a lot back in the 1970s.

 
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Ego. Modern NFL players think they're too good to toss the ball to someone else after they've made their play.

 
Trick plays stop being as effective after they've been used so many times...

Same thing with the fleaflicker - Even when it works, the receiver is usually covered, just makes a nice play on the ball.

 
Trick plays stop being as effective after they've been used so many times...

Same thing with the fleaflicker - Even when it works, the receiver is usually covered, just makes a nice play on the ball.
A play that probably hasn't been used in 30 years probably doesn't qualify as a play used so many times any longer. Somehow I doubt that defenses are so good now that the play wouldn't work, but hey, I'm just a guy on a message board.

 
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Trick plays stop being as effective after they've been used so many times...

Same thing with the fleaflicker - Even when it works, the receiver is usually covered, just makes a nice play on the ball.
A play that probably hasn't been used in 30 years probably doesn't qualify as a play used so many times any longer. Somehow I doubt that defenses are so good now that the play wouldn't work, but hey, I'm just a guy on a message board.
I tend to agree....I think it could definitely work, especially against a certain coverage in a regular game situation. Its not like anyone has seen it in a while and would be prepared for it. You just have to make sure the WR catches it clean with enough separation from the DB, otherwise it could be disastrous....probably why you havent seen it in awhile. I could see a college team breaking it out one day and ending up all over Sportscenter....
 
I think we don't see it because the damage of a turnover, which is exaggerated when you set up a downfield lateral without being able to predict quite where the players on either team will be, is somuch worse than the advantage of getting a few extra yards at the end of an already successful pass. If the receiver gets hit while trying to lateral, the other receiver gets hit while trying to catch it or its nabbed by an unseen defender in between, you have disaster. I think defensive players are also much quicker laterally and have better hands than they did on average in the earlier decades, which increases the risk of loss. I think this is why we don't see a lot of laterals on kick returns any more either. One fumble can do more damage than the benefit of several successful laterals - so why risk it? Its also another whole thing to expect the receiver to do, when today's defenses leave getting open and catching the ball a thin enough margin of error. Injuries aside, catching a 10 yard first down pass, trying to lateral (while not really knowing if one of your defenders is going to slap it out of your hands and ending up with the ball fumbled for a pick 6 is probably the worst imaginable single play disaster in football.

 
I think we don't see it because the damage of a turnover, which is exaggerated when you set up a downfield lateral without being able to predict quite where the players on either team will be, is somuch worse than the advantage of getting a few extra yards at the end of an already successful pass. If the receiver gets hit while trying to lateral, the other receiver gets hit while trying to catch it or its nabbed by an unseen defender in between, you have disaster. I think defensive players are also much quicker laterally and have better hands than they did on average in the earlier decades, which increases the risk of loss. I think this is why we don't see a lot of laterals on kick returns any more either. One fumble can do more damage than the benefit of several successful laterals - so why risk it? Its also another whole thing to expect the receiver to do, when today's defenses leave getting open and catching the ball a thin enough margin of error. Injuries aside, catching a 10 yard first down pass, trying to lateral (while not really knowing if one of your defenders is going to slap it out of your hands and ending up with the ball fumbled for a pick 6 is probably the worst imaginable single play disaster in football.
When I saw this used in the 70s, it would go the distance a lot of times. At least the ones they put on highlights did. It seemed as if it was a weekly occurrence.

 
I've seen it used occasionally in college. Didn't Boise St. use it among other trick plays in a Bowl game vs Oklahoma? As memory recalled, they also pulled out another old time trick play the Statue of Liberty to finish the game. Maybe most NFL coaches aren't willing to devote the extra practice reps towards those types of plays.

 
I've seen it used occasionally in college. Didn't Boise St. use it among other trick plays in a Bowl game vs Oklahoma? As memory recalled, they also pulled out another old time trick play the Statue of Liberty to finish the game. Maybe most NFL coaches aren't willing to devote the extra practice reps towards those types of plays.
Hell, if Sean Payton can use an onside kick for the opening of the 2nd half, then the hook and ladder / hook and lateral has it's place too :)

 
brohans they need more gaget plays like this in the nfl to make it more interesting for the fans i would like to see a play where a player actually wears his shoulder pad up high so that his head is inside of his pads and then his helmet on that with a fake head in it like in escape from alcatraz and then when the play starts the helmet gets hit off and people are going crazy because they think a guys head just came off from football and then as the player with the fake out head is revealing that he still has his head and that he fooled them randall the touchdown robber cobber is going the other way with the football for the longest touchdown ever from scrimmage in a play involving a fake head take that to the bank brohans

 
In thinking about it, bowl games are kind of the perfect opportunity to use that kind of play. Sometimes teams have 6 or more weeks between their last game during the season and their bowl game. Heck with all of those practices, it's no wonder that creative coaches will dial up the tricks during bowl season. That could also apply to the two weeks of preparation for the Super Bowl as well.

 
In thinking about it, bowl games are kind of the perfect opportunity to use that kind of play. Sometimes teams have 6 or more weeks between their last game during the season and their bowl game. Heck with all of those practices, it's no wonder that creative coaches will dial up the tricks during bowl season. That could also apply to the two weeks of preparation for the Super Bowl as well.
right on brohan a bowl game would be perfect for the old headless horseman play take that to the bank brochacho

 
one more thing they should run more of and that is having a guy where an old timely brown cleat like they wore back in the day and then when the ball is snapped the fullback has been practicing this and can kick that old cleat up and carry it and it would look likethe football and then everyone would be going after him but bam brohans it is just an old timey shoe and then the qb has the ball for real and tucks it under his jersey and stelthaly sneaks around the end where he hands it to the wide open randall the touchdown robber who bursts up the sideline for a td involving an old timey shoe and the old statue of liberty and because the shoe is old timey you would have to have a fullback with an old timey nickname like dutch or ironsides or something like that take that to the bank brohans i love trick plays and could type about a million of em here bam

 
Wha

I know, I was modifying it while you were posting this.
What bugs me is how teams have abandoned this at the end of the game - if you're down by a TD or less for cryin' out loud either:

1. do the Big Ben bomb

or

2. do the hook and ladder or maybe the across the field lateral.

I cannot say how many times I have seen teams just not even try to score on the last play when they have a chance, baffles me.

 
Always liked the reverse hand-off on kickoffs that the Cowboys used to do a lot of back in the 80s and 90s.

 
Seems like a play that would have more success back in the day when the average defender didnt run a 4.5 with cat-like speed and reflexes.

 
Any time I hear about the H-A-L play, this one always comes to mind first.

Beautifully executed, though Nathan almost showboated a little too early.
Joined this forum earlier in the season and have really enjoyed reading everyone's comments. I had to respond to this one for my first post on here since when I was a kid I was actually at this game. Let me tell you...after that play, the stadium went NUTS! I mean really, really nuts. The electricity in the croud sent shockwaves through my entire body and something I will never forget. Anyway I have often wondered the same thing the OP stated. I would think a team like the Rams could line up Austin in the backfield and have him shadow a receiver down field and then take a pitch all the way to the house. Ironically a few years later, after growing up in Miami, I move to San Diego and have been a big Charger fan. Funny how those things happen.

 
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maybe the other reason you don't see the hook and ladder much anymore is the emphasis they place on getting yards after the catch for receivers in the modern game. every receiver is expected to have great hands and great run after the catch ability already, so if you have room to safely lateral the football, then you should have the room to make a play yourself. at that point the only advantage the H&L gives is a bit of misdirection which ain't nothing but probably not worth the turnover risk of a botched lateral.

 
maybe the other reason you don't see the hook and ladder much anymore is the emphasis they place on getting yards after the catch for receivers in the modern game. every receiver is expected to have great hands and great run after the catch ability already, so if you have room to safely lateral the football, then you should have the room to make a play yourself. at that point the only advantage the H&L gives is a bit of misdirection which ain't nothing but probably not worth the turnover risk of a botched lateral.
I don't recall ever seeing a botched H& L in the 70s, but I'm sure there were a few.

 
It wasn't necessarily a hook and ladder, but the end of the steelers game was fun to watch and almost went the distance.

Obviously it's risky, but would be awesome to see plays like this (perhaps a little more planned). But if you ran one or two of these per game when it wasn't the last play of the game, you'd be bound to catch the defense offsides.

But, it also probably helps when it's the last play because the defense will give you that soft underneath route.

 
maybe the other reason you don't see the hook and ladder much anymore is the emphasis they place on getting yards after the catch for receivers in the modern game. every receiver is expected to have great hands and great run after the catch ability already, so if you have room to safely lateral the football, then you should have the room to make a play yourself. at that point the only advantage the H&L gives is a bit of misdirection which ain't nothing but probably not worth the turnover risk of a botched lateral.
I don't recall ever seeing a botched H& L in the 70s, but I'm sure there were a few.
well others have argued that the risk factor is higher now with better defensive players. i don't know if you buy that or not. but what i was trying to get across was that if i have skill player A who excels at gaining seperation and making the catch, and skill player B who excels at beating defenders with ball in hand, the H&L allows me to take full advantage of each's strength. but nowadays A is expected to have B's skills in addition to seperation ability + hands anyway, so what does the H&L get me that i didn't already have by getting the ball into A's hands in the first place?

but i might be selling WRs in the 70's short here. maybe the surprise factor was always the only advantage to the hook and ladder, rather than a way to make up for an inability to get yards after the catch

 
maybe the other reason you don't see the hook and ladder much anymore is the emphasis they place on getting yards after the catch for receivers in the modern game. every receiver is expected to have great hands and great run after the catch ability already, so if you have room to safely lateral the football, then you should have the room to make a play yourself. at that point the only advantage the H&L gives is a bit of misdirection which ain't nothing but probably not worth the turnover risk of a botched lateral.
I don't recall ever seeing a botched H& L in the 70s, but I'm sure there were a few.
well others have argued that the risk factor is higher now with better defensive players. i don't know if you buy that or not. but what i was trying to get across was that if i have skill player A who excels at gaining seperation and making the catch, and skill player B who excels at beating defenders with ball in hand, the H&L allows me to take full advantage of each's strength. but nowadays A is expected to have B's skills in addition to seperation ability + hands anyway, so what does the H&L get me that i didn't already have by getting the ball into A's hands in the first place?

but i might be selling WRs in the 70's short here. maybe the surprise factor was always the only advantage to the hook and ladder, rather than a way to make up for an inability to get yards after the catch
Oh, you're selling the WRs of the 70s short alright. I'll take lots of the HOFer WRs from the 70s over many wannabees from 2013 any day. The WRs from the 70s were just as fast as they are today and probably with better fundementals. Now I would take the lineman and linebackers of today over those from the 70s, but that's based upon strength and size, but skill players from the 70s were just as good, if not better, than skill players of today.

 
It wasn't necessarily a hook and ladder, but the end of the steelers game was fun to watch and almost went the distance.

Obviously it's risky, but would be awesome to see plays like this (perhaps a little more planned). But if you ran one or two of these per game when it wasn't the last play of the game, you'd be bound to catch the defense offsides.

But, it also probably helps when it's the last play because the defense will give you that soft underneath route.
I'd be really curious what a rugby coach could do with an NFL coach in terms of planning this stuff out.

That was a rugby play, plain and simple, that play could have happened in 1903 as much as 2013.

 
It wasn't necessarily a hook and ladder, but the end of the steelers game was fun to watch and almost went the distance.

Obviously it's risky, but would be awesome to see plays like this (perhaps a little more planned). But if you ran one or two of these per game when it wasn't the last play of the game, you'd be bound to catch the defense offsides.

But, it also probably helps when it's the last play because the defense will give you that soft underneath route.
I'd be really curious what a rugby coach could do with an NFL coach in terms of planning this stuff out.

That was a rugby play, plain and simple, that play could have happened in 1903 as much as 2013.
Exactly. I was thinking if rugby when I was typing that. With a little more planning you could develop plays like this that aren't exactly scripted, but people know what space they need to get to based on the flow of the play. You could really surprise some defenses I think with a few of these gadget plays each game.

 
I think the answer to all the questions posed here is the same as the answer to why coaches don't go for it on 4th down more often: because NFL coaches are incredibly conservative, and it's risky to their future job prospects to be seen as too outré.

 

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