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What Is A Scheme In American Football?

What Is a Scheme In Football?

In American footballa scheme is a team’s underlying strategy to win games. Schemes can be either offensive or defensive, and they often involve specific player roles and formations designed to take advantage of the opponent’s weaknesses.

Many schemes are also built around specific plays or playbooks, which detail the exact steps to be taken for the scheme to succeed. They constantly evolve as teams try new ways to beat their opponents. Some become so successful that they are widely copied by other teams, while others quickly become outdated as teams figure out how to counter them.

The best schemes are those that can adapt and change over time to stay one step ahead of the opposition.

Example: West Coast Offense

A good example of a successful scheme is the West Coast offense, popularized by head coach Bill Walsh in the NFL. The basic idea behind the West Coast offense is to use short, quick passes to move the ball down the field efficiently.

This style of play was originally designed to counter the strong defenses common in the NFL then, proving to be very effective. Many teams still use variations of the West Coast offense today, more than 30 years after it was first introduced.

Example: Read-Option Offense

Another example of a successful scheme is the read-option offense, which has become increasingly popular in recent years. The read-option is a type of option play in which the quarterback can either hand the ball off to the running back or keep it himself and run with it.

This type of play can be very difficult for defenses to stop since they have to be prepared for two different possibilities. The read option became popular in the NFL after it was used successfully by teams like the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks.

Finding The Right Scheme

Different American football schemes place different demands on players. Some schemes are geared towards power, while others place a greater emphasis on speed and agility. Some schemes focus on deception, using play calls and formations to fool the opposing defense.

When choosing a scheme, coaches must consider the strengths and weaknesses of their players. They also need to take into account the skills of the opposing team. For example, a coach might choose a power scheme when facing a weak defense or a deceptive scheme against a team with a strong but slow defense.

The most important thing is for the coach to find a scheme that gives his or her team the best chance of success. This might mean using multiple schemes throughout a season or even during a game. The bottom line is that the coach needs to put his or her players in a position to win.


While schemes can be a very important part of a team’s success, they are often overblown and overemphasized. In reality, no single “perfect” scheme will guarantee a win every time.

Instead, it is more important for a team to have a good overall game plan and to be able to execute it well. Schemes can be a helpful tool, but they are only one part of the puzzle.

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