quarterbacks slide

Why Do Quarterbacks Slide? (Explained)

Quarterbacks are often seen sliding during football games, especially when they are about to be tackled.

This action has become a common sight in the sport, but have you ever wondered why quarterbacks choose to slide instead of taking a hit?

Here we’ll look at the reasons behind quarterbacks sliding and delve into the various factors that influence this decision.

The Importance of Protecting the Quarterback

Before we dive into the reasons why quarterbacks slide, it is important to understand the significance of protecting the quarterback in football.

The quarterback is the leader of the offense and plays a pivotal role in the team’s success.

They are responsible for making split-second decisions, throwing accurate passes, and orchestrating the team’s offensive strategy.

Given their importance, quarterbacks are often targeted by the opposing team’s defense.

Defensive players are trained to disrupt the quarterback’s rhythm, sack them, or force them into making mistakes.

This is where sliding comes into play as a defensive strategy.

Minimizing the Risk of Injury

One of the primary reasons why quarterbacks slide is to minimize the risk of injury.

Football is a physically demanding sport, and quarterbacks are particularly vulnerable to getting hurt due to their position on the field.

By sliding, quarterbacks can avoid direct contact with defenders and reduce the chances of sustaining injuries.

When a quarterback slides, they give up their ability to gain additional yards but gain protection from being hit.

This action is similar in look to a baseball player sliding into a base to avoid being tagged out.

It allows the quarterback to protect themselves and prolong their career by reducing the number of hits they take over time.

Preserving Possession of the Ball

Another important reason why quarterbacks slide is to preserve possession of the ball.

In football, turnovers can drastically impact the outcome of a game.

When a quarterback is about to be tackled, they may choose to slide to the ground to secure the ball and prevent fumbles.

By sliding, quarterbacks can maintain control of the ball and ensure that their team retains possession.

This is especially important in critical situations, such as when the offense is close to scoring or when the game is in its final moments.

Sliding helps quarterbacks protect the ball and avoid costly turnovers that could shift the momentum in favor of the opposing team.

Strategic Decision-Making

Quarterbacks are not only skilled passers but also strategic decision-makers.

They are constantly assessing the situation on the field, evaluating the risks and rewards of each play.

Sliding is often a strategic decision made by quarterbacks to avoid unnecessary hits and extend drives.

When a quarterback slides, they typically do so when they believe they have gained enough yards for a first down or when they are close to the sideline.

By sliding, they can avoid taking a hit that could potentially result in a fumble or injury.

This decision allows the offense to continue their drive and maintain momentum.

Examples of Quarterbacks Sliding

Let’s take a look at some examples of quarterbacks sliding in real-game scenarios:

  • Example 1: During an important third-down play, the quarterback scrambles out of the pocket and sees an approaching defender. Instead of risking a hit, the quarterback slides just past the first-down marker, securing the necessary yardage and preserving possession for their team.
  • Example 2: In a close game with only a few seconds left on the clock, the quarterback takes a knee to end the game. By sliding to the ground, they ensure that the clock continues to run, preventing the opposing team from having another opportunity to score.

NFL Worst QB Slides

FAQs: Why Do Quarterbacks Slide?

1. Why do quarterbacks slide instead of running out of bounds?

Quarterbacks slide instead of running out of bounds to protect themselves from unnecessary hits.

Sliding allows them to avoid contact with defenders and reduce the risk of injury.

2. Can quarterbacks be tackled if they don’t slide?

Yes, quarterbacks can be tackled if they don’t slide.

However, sliding is a strategic decision made by quarterbacks to minimize the risk of injury and preserve possession of the ball.

3. Are there any penalties associated with sliding?

No, there are no penalties associated with sliding.

In fact, sliding is encouraged as a way to protect quarterbacks and prevent unnecessary hits.

4. Do all quarterbacks slide?

No, not all quarterbacks slide.

Some quarterbacks may choose to take a hit or attempt to gain additional yards by running instead of sliding.

5. Are there any situations where sliding is not allowed?

Sliding is generally allowed in most situations.

However, there are some instances where sliding may not be allowed, such as when a quarterback has already crossed the line of scrimmage or when they are in the process of being tackled.

6. Can sliding result in a turnover?

No, sliding itself does not result in a turnover. However, if a quarterback fumbles the ball while sliding, it can lead to a turnover.

7. Are there any quarterbacks known for their sliding abilities?

While sliding is a common practice among quarterbacks, there are no specific quarterbacks known for their sliding abilities.

It is a skill that most quarterbacks develop to protect themselves and preserve possession of the ball.

8. Can sliding affect a quarterback’s statistics?

Sliding can affect a quarterback’s statistics, particularly their rushing yards.

By choosing to slide instead of running, quarterbacks sacrifice the opportunity to gain additional yards.

9. Are there any alternatives to sliding?

Yes, there are alternatives to sliding. Some quarterbacks may choose to dive forward or step out of bounds to avoid contact with defenders.

10. Do quarterbacks receive any special protection from referees?

Yes, quarterbacks receive special protection from referees.

They are considered “defenseless players” and are protected from unnecessary hits or roughing the passer penalties.

11. Can sliding be used as a strategic play?

Yes, sliding can be used as a strategic play.

Quarterbacks may slide to extend drives, preserve clock time, or secure necessary yardage for a first down.

12. Are there any drawbacks to sliding?

One potential drawback of sliding is that it may result in the loss of additional yards that a quarterback could have gained by running.

However, this trade-off is often considered worthwhile to protect the quarterback from injury.

13. Can quarterbacks slide in college football and high school football?

Yes, quarterbacks can slide in college football and high school football.

The rules regarding sliding are similar to those in professional football.

14. Are there any rules regarding how a quarterback should slide?

There are no specific rules regarding how a quarterback should slide.

However, they are expected to slide feet-first and give themselves up voluntarily to avoid contact.

15. Can quarterbacks slide in the end zone?

Quarterbacks can slide in the end zone, but it may result in a touchback if they slide out of bounds or fumble the ball while sliding.


Quarterbacks slide for several reasons, including minimizing the risk of injury, preserving possession of the ball, and making strategic decisions.

Sliding allows quarterbacks to protect themselves, avoid unnecessary hits, and extend drives.

While sliding may result in the loss of additional yards, it is a trade-off that quarterbacks are willing to make to ensure their safety and the success of their team.

Understanding the reasons behind quarterbacks sliding provides valuable insights into the game of football and the importance of protecting key players.


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