During NFL games the commentators often talk about the play design. One thing that comes up a lot is the formation at the time of snap and quarterback's play readability. The quarterback could be under the centre and pick up the football from his centre. Or he could be standing few feet behind him and catch the ball out of the shotgun. The commentators also mention how rookie QBs are not used to playing under the centre and that some of the struggle to transit from almost always playing out of the shotgun.

So I'm interested to know what are the strategical and performance differences of these configurations?

1 Answer 1


The Shotgun is mostly about understanding the play that has been called and throwing the football. You take the snap and can read the field.

Under center you need to be progressing through your reads while letting your steps dictate the progression. If you've never done it it's a huge learning curve, which also requires consistent and solid footwork. It's a huge demand on field vision, pattern recognition and mental processing speed.

Because the Shotgun play is so much easier for you to just run the play it's not surprising that it's way ahead of Under center in pass plays (79% vs 21%), while the run rate is in favor of Under center (69% vs 31%).

[Stats source]

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