What is a Pick Six in Football?
A pick-six (pick 6) is a play in football in which the quarterback throws an interception which is returned for a touchdown. The term pick-six is derived from a slang term for interceptions being called 'picks' and a touchdown being worth six points. In order to turn a pick into a touchdown, the defender who intercepted the ball must return the ball to the opposite end zone that they are defending. After the touchdown and extra point attempt, the ball is kicked off by the scoring team just like a normal offensive touchdown.
A pick six is usually made by a member of the secondary or a linebacker, since they are more likely to be in coverage. However, if a lineman does happen to intercept a pass, possibly by tipping it up into the air first, it may be more likely for them to return it for a touchdown because there are less opposing players in their way.
Pick sixes are instant game-changers, as a team puts points on the board without having to run a single play.
Defensive back Rod Woodson holds the record for most career pick sixes with 12. Darren Sharper and Charles Woodson are tied for second at 11.
Baltimore Ravens cornerback and safety Ed Reed has the two longest interceptions for touchdowns in NFL history at 108 and 106 yards, meaning he picked off the ball deep in his own end zone before running it all the way back.
Brett Favre has the record for most pick sixes thrown with 35, while his Green Bay Packers counterpart, Aaron Rodgers, has the lowest percentage of interceptions returned for a touchdown per passing attempt, having only thrown one in his entire career.