What is a Football Hidden Ball Trick?
A hidden ball trick in football is a more general term that has been used to refer to trick plays in which the ball is hidden from the defense in some way. As is the case with all trick plays, a hidden ball trick is meant to deceive the defense.
Some plays that have been referred to as hidden ball tricks have experienced enough success or fame over the years to receive their own names. A few of these specific plays include the "Fumblerooski," the "Statue of Liberty," and "The Hidden-Ball Carrier." Other hidden ball tricks have been used, though they have not necessarily received their own play call.
A hidden ball trick can be any number of plays that disguise the true ball carrier during a play. Some include handing the ball off inconspicuously to an unlikely eligible receiver. Other plays deemed a hidden ball trick involve multiple players bunching up after one player has received the ball and then running in different directions to mislead the defense.
The "Fumblerooski" requires the quarterback to intentionally fumble the ball so it rests in front of him on the field. While everyone runs one way, an offensive lineman picks the ball up and runs in the opposite direction. The "Fumblerooski" was outlawed in 1992 in the college game and had been considered a violation of the NFL's rules before that.
The "Statue of Liberty" is a play in which the quarterback fakes a pass after receiving the snap. Before starting his throwing motion, however, he switches the ball to his non-throwing hand and gives the ball to a running back or wide receiver, who runs in the opposite direction of the supposed pass.
For "The Hidden Ball-Carrier" to work, the offense must use a small ball carrier, who hides behind some of the larger, closely huddled linemen. When the ball is snapped, a few players run off in one direction while the ball carrier goes the other.