What is the Statue of Liberty Play in Football?
The Statue of Liberty Play is a risky trick play in football that is known to be a 'do or die' play. The play involves careful consideration of the situation the team is currently in as if there are any mistakes during the play, it could result in a huge loss of yards or even a turnover. The core positions of the play are the Quarterback, the Running Back, and the Wide Receivers.
The play begins with the Quarterback and Running Back standing side-by-side in the shotgun formation, with usually two to three Wide Receivers on one side of the line of scrimmage with one to two Wide Receivers on the other side. The ball is snapped to the Quarterback who grabs the ball with both hands. The Quarterback grips the ball with one hand and lowers it down to his side while they use their throwing hand to pump fake, or act like he's throwing the ball, to the Wide Receivers on the right side of the formation. During the pump fake, the Running Back takes the ball from behind the Quarterback and begins running in the opposite direction of the pump fake. If performed well, the Running Back should have a lot of space to run the ball downfield.
The play is named after the position of the Quarterback if performed correctly, who should have one hand in the air for the pump fake and the other at their side, similar to the Statue of Liberty.
History of the Play
The play is one of the rarer fake plays in Football as it is much easier to break down by the defense than other plays. The first Statue of Liberty play was called by Amos Alonzo Stagg at the University of Chicago. Since then, the play has only been called a handful of times, mostly in College Football though.
The most famous use of this play occurred in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl between the Boise State Broncos and the Oklahoma Sooners. After using another trick play called the Hook and Ladder play to tie the game, the Broncos ran the Statue of Liberty for a game-winning two-point conversion in overtime.