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What Is A “Pick 6” In Football? Explained

Football has become a passing game. Gone are the days when teams would run the football 30-40 times to secure the win. Teams are now throwing the football more than ever. However, throwing the football can result in good and bad consequences.

A pick 6 in football is when the defense intercepts the ball (also known as a pick) and scores a touchdown (resulting in 6 points) on the same play.

In this article, we will break down a pick 6 and everything you need to know about it.

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How To Get A Pick 6

In modern-day offenses, it’s common for teams to throw the football 40-50 times a game. Thirty years ago, this was only common for NFL teams with elite quarterbacks.

Now pop warner, high school, and even college teams throw the ball downfield more than ever.

Throwing the football has three results associated with it.

The first result is good for the offense; it’s a completion. Often competitions result in positive yards. This also means the offense will retain possession and go to the next down.

The following two results favor the defense. The incomplete pass means the offense didn’t catch the forward pass, resulting in the next down being played.

Forcing an incomplete pass can help throw the quarterback off his rhythm and ultimately force offenses to punt the football. Forcing incompletions should be the main goal for every defense playing against a pass-heavy team.

The third and final result is an interception. Interceptions are caused by defensive players catching the ball from the quarterback. Once the defensive player catches the ball, he will try to score a touchdown.

If the player who intercepts the ball scores a touchdown, this is known as a pick 6.

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Why Is It Called A “Pick 6” In Football?

The term pick 6 is broken up into two parts. The first part, “pick,” is a slang term in football that intercepts the ball. The term comes from “picking” the ball out of the air, stealing it from the quarterback.

The term 6 is how many points are awarded to the defense once the player who intercepted it scores. Touchdowns are worth 6 points and can be scored on interceptions.

Instead of saying the defensive player intercepted the ball and ran it for a touchdown, it’s much easier to say, “they scored on a pick 6”.

Can Any Player On Defense Score A Pick 6?

An interception in football is one of the most exciting plays on defense. A pick 6 can occur by any player that’s on the defense.

A pick 6 is more common for defensive backs and linebackers, as they cover the wide receivers for who the pass is intended.

However, defensive linemen can also catch a deflected pass or even one thrown right to them. A pick 6 from a defensive lineman is rare, but it can happen.

Defensive backs like Deion Sanders and Asante Samuels were known for undercutting routes and score points. The pick 6 is a complete game-changer for both teams and can help swing momentum in the game.

A pick 6 also rattles the quarterback mentally, as they will be more cautious throwing the ball down the field.

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Difference Between An Interception & Pick 6

The difference between an interception and a pick 6 is the scored points with a pick 6. An interception is when a defensive player catches the ball thrown by the quarterback and doesn’t score. A pick 6 is when the defensive player catches the ball from the quarterback and scores a touchdown for their team.

Interceptions are a big part of stopping the passing attack from an offense. If defenses can score points by intercepting the ball, they will often gain a momentum advantage.

Conclusion

A pick 6 is when a defensive player intercepts the ball and scores a touchdown.

The pick 6 in football is one of the most exciting plays in football. Pick 6’s swing the momentum toward the defense and allow them to score points without needing the offense.

Defensive backs and linebackers are the main positions on defense that can often be seen scoring a pick 6. A defensive lineman can intercept the ball for a touchdown, but it’s more common for the defensive backs and linebackers.