During an American Football game, you might see a defensive team intercept a pass and bring the ball back to the end zone. The defensive team is now celebrating because that was a result of a pick 6. So what does a pick-six mean, what does it look like during a game and more? Keep reading the post below to find out more!
What is a Pick 6 in Football?
A “Pick Six” occurs when a defensive player intercepts a forward pass and returns the ball for a touchdown in American football. A Pick six is one of the most exciting plays in football and can completely shift the momentum of a game.
How Did The Term Pick Six Develop?
The term “Pick Six” is a slang term that is relatively new to the world of football. Most sources suggest that the term originated sometime in the early 2000s. Common wisdom suggests that the phrase came about as broadcasting shorthand for saying a defensive player “got a pick and six points” due to an interception return for a touchdown.
The “six” in the term “Pick Six” refers to the number of points scored on the play. A Pick Six differs from an interception because it always ends in a touchdown for the defensive team. If a defensive player intercepts a pass and doesn’t make it to the end zone, it doesn’t count as a Pick Six.
What Does a Pick Six Play Look Like During a Game?
The most important part of a Pick Six is the extra points scored after the defense returns the ball for a touchdown. However, a few other important aspects of this play make it an exciting event in a game.
After a defensive player catches the ball, there’s often a huge transition on the team as the defensive line starts blocking the offensive team to clear a path for the player with the ball. Meanwhile, the opposing team has to try to intervene and stop the run.
After a Pick Six, the team that scored (the defensive team on the previous play) will kick the ball to the opposing team, giving them a second attempt at a scoring drive.
What is a Pick Two?
When a defense returns an interception to the end zone, it doesn’t consistently score six points. If they achieve this feat during an extra point attempt or a two-point conversion, they will complete a defensive two-point conversion or a “Pick Two.”
The Pick Two only became possible in the NFL after a rule change in the 2015-2016 season. Before that, this was only possible in college football. Defensive two-point conversions are fascinating events that can turn the tide in close football games. A few games in NFL history have won on a defensive two-point conversion, making these particularly influential plays.
A Pick Two is crucial because they get the ball back after the defensive team scores, just as they would after a successful two-point conversion. This Pick Two results in back-to-back scoring opportunities for one side, which makes it impactful during a game.
In 2016, Kansas City Chiefs’ defensive back Eric Berry was the first player to complete a pick two. He recovered a ball thrown by Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons. Previous to the play, the Chiefs were down 27-28. The extra two points were enough to push them to a victory.
Players With The Most Pick Sixes in NFL History
Rod Woodson, a safety and cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, and Oakland Raiders, has the most touchdowns by a defensive player with 12. He’s followed closely by Darren Sharper (who played for the Green Bay Packers, the Minnesota Vikings, and the New Orleans Saints) and Charles Woodson (who has no relation and played for the Oakland Raiders and the Green Bay Packers). Sharper and Woodson each have 11 touchdowns.
In 2008, Pittsburgh Steelers’ linebacker, James Harrison, scored the longest interception return for a touchdown in a Super Bowl. Harrison ran over 100 yards in the game against the Arizona Cardinals, giving the Steelers a 17-7 lead at the end of the first half.
While defensive players get most of the credit for completing a Pick Six, quarterbacks also go down in history for how many interceptions they do or don’t throw.
QB’s with the Most Interceptions and Pick Six’s
Brett Favre, as of 2021, threw the most interceptions in the history of the NFL with 336. The interceptions include the first pass he ever threw as a professional quarterback, which was returned for a touchdown by the Washington Football Team.
Similarly, in 2013, Matt Schaub of the Houston Texans became the first quarterback to throw a Pick Six in four consecutive games. These were the week two game against the Tennessee Titans, week three against the Baltimore Ravens, week four against the Seattle Seahawks, and week five against the San Francisco 49ers.
Conclusion about Pick 6 in Football
A Pick 6 is an interception that a defensive player returns for a touchdown. It’s one of the most exciting plays and can help a team shift momentum or get extra points that can help them win a football game. While it’s often confused with an interception, it’s essential to know that a play is only a Pick Six if it’s returned for extra points.