What is the Definition of Blindside in American Football?

The blindside in American football is a term that refers to the side of the field that the quarterback cannot see when attempting a pass. This area is crucial for the offensive line to protect, as defensive players often target it in their strategies to disrupt the play. The protection of the blindside typically falls on the left tackle for right-handed quarterbacks, as the left side is the side that they cannot see while focusing on their pass target.

The concept of the blindside has been a crucial aspect of American football strategy for decades, but its importance has grown immensely in recent years. With the prominence of passing plays in modern football, the role of the blindside tackle and other offensive line players has evolved to protect the quarterback from the increasingly skilled and agile defensive pass rushers. By understanding the significance of the blindside and the responsibilities of various players on the offensive line, fans can deepen their appreciation for the intricate strategies that occur on every down in American football.

Key Takeaways

  • The blindside is the side of the field that the quarterback cannot see while attempting a pass, making it critical for offensive protection.
  • The left tackle is primarily responsible for protecting the quarterback’s blindside, especially in cases of right-handed passers.
  • As passing plays become prevalent in football, the importance of protecting the blindside has grown, resulting in evolving strategies for both offense and defense.

Understanding the Blindside in American Football

The blindside in American football refers to the side of the field opposite to the way a player, typically a quarterback, is facing. Protecting the blindside is crucial in the gameplay, as it is an area the quarterback cannot see while attempting a pass. Most NFL quarterbacks are right-handed, which means their blindside is on the left, making the left tackle responsible for shielding the quarterback.

A significant concern involving the blindside is the possibility of a blindside tackle. This occurs when a defensive player, unseen by the quarterback, makes contact and tackles them, particularly on passing plays. The quarterback’s inability to see the hit coming makes them more prone to fumble the football.

Defensive players often target the blindside in their quest to sack the quarterback. Sacking is the successful tackling of the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage before the passer can complete a forward pass attempt or advance downfield with the ball. Key to the offensive line’s strategy is the left tackle, who must effectively block the pass rush coming from the blindside. As a result, left tackles are among the most critical and highly skilled positions in football.

In summary, the blindside is an essential aspect of American football, particularly concerning the quarterback’s safety and the offensive line’s effectiveness. Left tackles shoulder a significant responsibility in protecting their quarterback, and maintaining a strong offensive line is crucial to a team’s passing success.

Role of the Blindside Tackle and Offensive Strategies

Choosing the Right Tackle

Selecting the right tackle is crucial for any football team because they play a fundamental role in protecting the quarterback’s blindside. The blindside refers to the side of the pass rush the quarterback cannot see, typically the left side for right-handed quarterbacks. Therefore, a left tackle is responsible for safeguarding the quarterback’s blind side.

When looking for an ideal blindside tackle, teams should focus on finding a player with:

  • Size: A towering presence is vital to forming a strong barrier against oncoming defenders.
  • Athleticism: Quickness and agility are essential for reacting to and blocking fast-moving opponents.
  • Strength: Raw power will allow the tackle to hold off and push away aggressive defensive players.

Protecting the Quarterback

The main responsibility of the blindside tackle is to ensure the quarterback remains safe and has enough time to make accurate passes or initiate offensive strategies. Here are some techniques used by blindside tackles to protect the quarterback:

  1. Slide Protection: In this technique, the entire offensive line slides towards the blind side to provide a more substantial barrier against incoming defenders.
  2. Chipping: The running back or tight end will momentarily engage or “chip” the edge rusher to help the tackle slow down their adversary, allowing the quarterback more time in the pocket.
  3. Double Teaming: When facing a particularly challenging or dominant defensive player, the tackle may team up with another offensive player to create a more reliable blocking unit.

By focusing on choosing the right tackle and employing proper techniques, football teams can successfully protect their quarterback and ultimately run more efficient and dynamic offensive plays.

Defensive Strategies and Exploiting the Blindside

Edge Rushers and Pressure

In American football, the blindside refers to the side of the pass rush the quarterback cannot see. For right-handed quarterbacks, this is typically their left side. Protecting the blindside is critical, as it can prevent sacks and potential fumbles that may occur if the quarterback is hit unexpectedly. A key component of defensive strategies is to apply pressure on the quarterback’s blindside using edge rushers.

Edge rushers are typically defensive ends or outside linebackers positioned at the edge of the defensive line. Their primary role is to penetrate the offense’s line and pressure or sack the quarterback. Skilled edge rushers can exploit the blindside by using speed, agility, and technique to get past the offensive linemen protecting the quarterback. Some notable edge rushers in the NFL include Khalil Mack, Von Miller, and T.J. Watt, who are known for their ability to cause disruptions in the opponent’s backfield.

Blitz Schemes

Another method to exploit the quarterback’s blindside is through the implementation of blitz schemes. A blitz is a defensive play where additional players are sent to pressure the quarterback, increasing the likelihood of a sack or a hurried throw. Blitz schemes can be especially effective against inexperienced quarterbacks who may struggle to identify the extra rushers and make proper adjustments.

Effective blitz schemes require:

  • Pre-snap disguise: The defensive team should try to hide their intentions before the snap, making it difficult for the offense to anticipate the blitz.
  • Versatility: Mixing up the types of blitzes and the players involved can increase confusion for the opposing offense and lead to more successful plays.
  • Timing: The defensive players must time their attack well, so they do not reveal their intentions too early or get penalized for being offside.

By combining edge rushers’ pressure with well-designed blitz schemes, the defense can effectively exploit the quarterback’s blindside, leading to more sacks, turnovers, and overall disruption in the opposing team’s offensive game plan.

Evolution of the Blindside in NFL History

Rules and Regulations Changes

Over the years, the NFL has implemented various rules and regulations changes to improve player safety and enhance the game for spectators. One significant modification has been to the role of the offensive line, particularly when it comes to protecting the quarterback’s blindside. The blindside refers to the side of the pass rush the quarterback cannot see, which is typically the left side for right-handed quarterbacks. The left tackle is responsible for protecting this vulnerable spot.

To ensure better blindside protection, the NFL has placed stricter restrictions on defensive players’ actions. For instance, chop blocks and hits below the knee are now prohibited. Additionally, defenders are no longer allowed to forcefully drive the quarterback into the ground. These changes have increased the importance of elite blindside tackles for teams, as they play a pivotal role in keeping the quarterback safe.

Prominent Blindside Tackles

The role of the blindside tackle has grown in importance in the NFL, with several notable players specializing in this position over the years:

  1. Anthony Munoz – A Hall of Famer, Munoz is widely regarded as one of the greatest left tackles in NFL history, offering blindside protection for the Cincinnati Bengals.
  2. Jonathan Ogden – Another Hall of Famer, Ogden played his entire career for the Baltimore Ravens and was a dominant force in protecting the quarterback’s blindside.
  3. Orlando Pace – Playing for the St. Louis Rams, Pace was a key figure in “The Greatest Show on Turf” era, defending quarterback Kurt Warner’s blindside during their Super Bowl victory in 1999.
  4. Walter Jones – Known for his extraordinary strength and agility, Jones provided exceptional blindside protection for the Seattle Seahawks throughout his career.


Blindside tackles often do not receive as much recognition as skill position players, but their performances are crucial in shaping the success of a team. A prime example is their influence on the outcome of Super Bowl games. In Super Bowl XLVI, the New York Giants’ left tackle David Diehl helped neutralize the New England Patriots’ pass rush, allowing Eli Manning to make crucial throws during their game-winning drive. Similarly, in Super Bowl LII, the Philadelphia Eagles’ left tackle Jason Peters played a key role in giving Nick Foles enough time to throw and lead his team to victory.

In conclusion, the blindside tackle position has evolved significantly in the NFL, as the league has made changes to protect quarterbacks and enhance the game’s entertainment value. The importance of this position can be seen in the performances of prominent blindside tackles and their impact on crucial moments in football history.


A blindside in American Football refers to the side of the pass rush that the quarterback cannot see. Typically, in the NFL, most quarterbacks are right-handed, making their blindside the left side. As a result, the responsibility of protecting the quarterback’s blindside falls to the left tackle.

Blindside tackles pose a significant threat to quarterbacks, as they are unaware of the incoming hit, making them more vulnerable to fumbling the football. Protecting the blindside requires keen awareness and skill from the left tackle and other offensive linemen, ensuring that the quarterback can complete their pass without being disrupted by defenders.

In summary, the concept of a blindside in American Football is crucial to understanding the dynamics of the game. As quarterbacks rely on visibility and protection to execute successful plays, securing the blindside is an essential task for offensive linemen. Although protecting the blindside is challenging, it is a vital aspect of the game that can make the difference between a successful play and a turnover.