12/23 OT/NFL/Cowboys Thread

The hook and lateral or hook and ladder is a trick play in American or Canadian football. It starts with the hook, which is where a wide receiver runs a predetermined distance, usually 10 yards down the field, and along the sideline, and "hooks in" towards the center of the field to receive a forward pass from the quarterback. Another offensive player (usually another wide receiver) times a run so that he is at full speed, just behind the player with the ball at the time of the catch. As the defenders close in on the stationary ball carrier, he laterals or hands the ball to the teammate running at full speed in the opposite direction of the original receiver.

If unanticipated, this play puts defenders out of position, running in the wrong direction. If the second receiver catches the lateral in stride, he can be long gone before defenders can react. However, the offense runs a high risk of turning the ball over if it is not handled properly because, unlike a forward pass, a dropped lateral pass results in a live ball.


  • The Miami Dolphins executed a successful "87 Circle Curl Lateral" play at the end of the first half of their AFC playoff game against the San Diego Chargers on January 2, 1982. Wide receiver Duriel Harris caught a 20-yard pass from quarterback Don Strock and then lateraled it to running back Tony Nathan, who ran 25 yards for the score. The play gave the Dolphins huge momentum going into the second half, but the Chargers eventually won in overtime.
  • The Utah Utes ran a successful version of the play in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl against the Pittsburgh Panthers. Steve Savoy caught the ball on a short pass and lateraled to Paris Warren who took it into the end zone.
  • The Boise State Broncos executed the play (called "Circus" in their playbook) against the Oklahoma Sooners on fourth down to force overtime in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. Boise State later scored a touchdown in overtime on a wide receiver roll out option pass, and won by scoring the ensuing two-point conversion on the seldom-seen Statue of Liberty play.
  • The Missouri Tigers executed a hook and lateral to set up a field goal in the fourth quarter of their October 23, 2010 regular season victory over the Oklahoma Sooners, who were at the time ranked number one in the BCS standings.
  • The Florida International Golden Panthers successfully ran the play on fourth and 17, with less than a minute remaining, in the 2010 Little Caesars Bowl. This helped set up the game winning field goal as time expired. In an interview after the game, FIU coach Mario Cristobal said the play was called "Boise", referring to Boise State's play in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.

Go Tony Romo.

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