The flying wedge was an offensive tactic and play previously used in american football, among other sports. This tactic proved to be extremely successful, and became one of football's most iconic formations. However, it was eventually banned from football all together due to its dangerous nature and the number of injuries it caused.
The flying wedge utilizes momentum and brute force to be so effective at protecting the ball and destroying defenders. In the flying wedge formation, blockers would link themselves together in a triangle or wedge formation surrounding the ball carrier and run forward at full speed. This makes it almost impossible for a defender to reach the ball without dangerously throwing himself directly into the wedge and through multiple offensive players running straight on at high speeds.
The flying wedge play was originally drawn from military formations used in ancient times. In 1892, Harvard football coach Lorin F. Deland introduced the tactic to football. It proved to be extremely effective but frequently resulted in severe injuries; head, neck, and spinal injuries were most common. Numerous players even died from the injuries sustained from their participation in the flying wedge. The long line of injuries, deaths, and overall violent nature of the play eventually led the NFL to ban its use in 2009.