Football Terms – Shotgun Formation
The Eastern Shotgun is a variation of the standard Shotgun Formation in professional football. In the normal Shotgun Formation, the quarterback lines up five yards behind the line of scrimmage, while he lines up only four yards back in the Eastern Shotgun.
Eastern Shotgun Advantages
This gives the quarterback a better view of the defense, while still allowing him to call running play audibles. The halfback is lined up in a singleback position, so the defense may be led to believe that the offense is in an I Formation. The receivers are split wide, and one or two tight ends may be added in some variations.
The Shotgun Formation was originally created in 1960 by the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, Red Hickey. The first quarterback to run the formation in the NFL was John Brodie.
The name “shotgun” comes from the notion that the formation sprays receivers around the field. Others have noted that the Shotgun Formation actually resembles the shape of its lethal namesake.
The Shotgun was famously used by the New York Jets during the Joe Namath era, and it was later utilized with much success by Roger Staubach and the Dallas Cowboys. The Buffalo Bills made numerous Super Bowl appearances running a modified “K-Gun” Shotgun Formation, and it’s also become quite popular in the Canadian Football League, where teams only have three downs to gain ten yards.
For more information on NFL and CFL offensive formations, be sure to visit our page devoted to Offensive Football Plays.