What is Goal Line Defense in Football?
Goal line defense refers to the alignment of defensive players when attempting to make a goal line stand. Having a strong goal line defense is vital to winning football games, since holding teams to field goal attempts when close to or in the red zone or turning the ball over on downs so close to scoring is a huge momentum builder for a team.
A big factor in goal line defense is being stronger up front and having the willpower to outwork the blockers.
Goal Line Defenses
A defenses formation is always predicated on the play type of the offense, even more so at the goal line because it is harder to disguise coverages and zone schemes that allow yards underneath are non-existent.
It is typical for offenses to run the ball up the middle when they have a first down at the goal line. On these plays, defenses will usually run an all out blitz, with every player converging on the ball. There will be a few players who will keep an eye on the quarterback in case of an option run or on the tight ends leaking out into the end zone after a block.
The job gets harder for the defense when offenses spread out their formation with wide receivers or multiple backs because there is less predictability with the play calling. While this can lead to more touchdowns, it also has a higher risk of turnover since there is so little room to throw the ball that it can bounce off many players for an interception. Malcolm Butler made one of the most famous goal line defensively plays in history, picking off Russell Wilson to win Super Bowl 49 for the New England Patriots.