What Is A Deflection In American Football?


What Is a Deflection In Football? 

A deflection in football occurs when one or more players use their bodies to redirect the ball away from its intended trajectory. This can be done by either blocking it with their body or using their hands to swat it away from where it’s going.

As long as they don’t catch the ball with their hands, they’re allowed to do this as long as they don’t interfere with other players. The ball must also stay in bounds to be considered a valid deflection. 

Types of Deflections 

There are two ways that a player can defend against an incoming pass: by deflecting the ball before it reaches its target or by intercepting it. A deflection happens when one or more players put themselves between the ball and its intended target to disrupt its trajectory.

This can be done by jumping into the air and using your body to block the passing lane (defending against a high pass) or by reaching out and swatting at the passing lane (defending against a low pass). If successful, this will cause the ball to go off course and land somewhere else on the field.  

On the other hand, interceptions happen when one or more players jump up into the air, catch the ball with their hands and then land safely back on both feet without being touched by another player before landing (known as “two-footed control”).  

Why Are Deflections Important? 

Deflections are important because they allow defensive players to gain possession of balls that offensive players would have otherwise caught. They also create chaos on both sides of the field.

At the same time, offensive players scramble to figure out where they need to go after having their pass disrupted; defensive players rush to take advantage of any confusion created by their opponent’s surprise change in possession. This creates opportunities for both teams – opportunities that wouldn’t exist if there were no deflections happening during games.  

How To Deflect A Pass In Football

To successfully deflect a pass, timing and body positioning are key. The defender must time their jump so that they make contact with the ball just as it is about to enter the receiver’s hands. If the defender jumps too early or too late, they will either miss the ball entirely or give the receiver time to adjust and make the catch.

Body positioning is also important. Defenders should try to get their bodies between the ball and the receiver so they can use their bodies to block the pass. This will make it more difficult for the receiver to catch the ball and make it more likely to be knocked down.


Deflections are important for both offensive and defensive teams when playing football. For offensive teams, they can help prevent interceptions; for defensive teams, they provide an opportunity for them to gain possession of balls that opposing teams’ receivers would have otherwise caught. They also create chaos on both sides of the field, leading to unexpected plays and unforeseen opportunities arising throughout games.