Blitz (gridiron football)

Lightning is the name of a defensive strategy game in American football, in which one or more defense player in addition to the normal pass rush applied. Usually, only the defensive line putting pressure on the opposing offensive line and the quarterback standing behind her. In the flash it is supported by linebackers and / or defensive backfield.

In order for the Defense wants to create a preponderance of the line and allow private players to advance to the quarterback, at best, to install a quarterback sack to provoke a fumble, or the running back in the backcourt ( backfield ) to tacklen with loss of space. Another goal is to disrupt the timing between the quarterback and his receivers and force him to pass imprecise.

A flash is usually performed by Line backers, but can also be started from safeties or cornerbacks. This then safety or cornerback flash -called maneuver is risky, however, as this dangerous gaps in the deep pass defense may arise, which can be easily exploited by an experienced quarterback - receiver duo.

The name comes from the German Blitz and is derived from Blitzkrieg, a campaign strategy of the Second World War.


Don Ettinger, a defender of the New York Giants, career is considered the inventor of the lightning during his brief National Football League ( NFL ) By 1948 until 1950.

Larry Wilson, Free Safety of the Arizona Cardinals from 1960 to 1972, built from the turn and perfected the Safety Blitz, a move that was originally known as " Wildcat ". But the Defense Coordinator Chuck Drulis is often portrayed as the inventor of the safety flash.


As a zone flash a particular variant is called, at which leaves fall ( to defend against a Passspielzug ) a defensive line player at the start of the turn to the original position of a flashing linebackers or defensive backs and his defensive zone takes over. The aim of this maneuver is to bring the block allocation of the Offense Line so confused that no one feels responsible for the flashing player and this can easily penetrate to the quarterback. As the inventor of this variant to Bill Arnsparger when he was coach of the 1971 Miami Dolphins. Dick LeBeau, she developed late 80s at the Cincinnati Bengals on and perfected it in the 90s with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the way that the team was known at that time as a flash Pittsburgh. Today, "Zone Blitz" find formations in almost all Defense playbooks of NFL.

Strategies against lightning

On the one hand there are the so-called West Coast Offense an offensive system based on fast short passes. This system gets a natural advantage over a flashing Defense, because the quarterback now has a pass defender less going on.

Secondly, try to respond to the flash the offense by the quarterback throws in the zone, which normally defends the flashing defender.