Football 46 Defense

Football 46 Defense

What is 46 Defense in Football?

The 46 defense in football is a very physical defensive setting created in the 80s by Coach Buddy Ryan. The defense has a focus on pressuring, attacking, and especially sacking the quarterback with as many players as possible. That kind of staggering pressure leads the quarterback to release the ball quickly without much thought, generating turnovers.

46 Defense Formation

The 46 defense works with four down linemen, three linebackers, two corners, and two safeties on the field. The defense mounts a defensive line that is hard to get through, making it nearly impossible for teams to run with the ball. That way, the quarterback finds themself in a situation where the pass is the best option. However, with the players who have the necessary skills, the quarterback will be extremely pressured, and a good pass will not be easy to find.

Why is it called the 46 Defense?

The name “46,” unlike other defensive systems, does not come from the number of players or their formation on the field. It is instead named after Doug Plank, a safety-linebacker mix who wore jersey number 46. The name is also fitting because the 46 defense is a strategy that mainly lived and died with the Bears while Plank was on the team.

The 1985 Chicago Bears

The 85 Bears are considered by many as one of the best teams in history. They won Super Bowl XX and finished the season 15-1. Buddy Ryan was the Bears’ defensive coordinator in 1985, and his greatest weapon was the 46 defense. The Bears also had extraordinary defensive players such as Mike Singletary and Dan Hampton, as well as other pieces that perfectly fit Coach Ryan’s system, making their defense unstoppable.

The 46 Defense Today

The 46 defense is not used nearly as much nowadays as it was in the 1980s. For starters, the game of football has changed since then, and players are much better at passing than they were back in 1985. Also, the 85 Chicago Bears had an exceptional lineup of players that perfectly fit with the 46 defense. That all-time defensive lineup is not easy to find again, making it even rarer for teams to run the 46 defense today.