Goal Line Formation
Football Terms – Goal Line Defense
The goal line formation is also known as “heavy,” “jumbo” or “full house” package. Used exclusively in short-yardage situations, the purpose of the alignment is to use brute force to advance the football a few yards (often over the goal line).
In many cases, no wide receivers will be used in the goal line formation. Instead, three tight ends and two running backs will be used for blocking (or two tight ends and three running backs). One of the tight end or fullback roles may be filled by someone who normally plays on the offensive or defensive line. Famous examples of this would include both Mike Vrabel of the New England Patriots and William “The Refrigerator” Perry of the Chicago Bears.
While the goal line formation works best on running plays, a crafty coach might also use it for passing. In the example mentioned above, linebacker Mike Vrabel lined up for the Pats at tight end and caught a pass for a touchdown. A play using a faked handoff to set up a pass is known as a "play-action pass".
The goal-line is an extension of the Power I or Big I, first created in 1954 by Virginia Military Institute coach Tom Nugent. USC would later win a national title by running the I Formation, and the NFL would also adopt it.
For more on the various tactics employed throughout the NFL , be sure and read our Football Offensive Strategy article.