What is a Sack in Football?

What is a Sack in Football

A sack in the NFL (or football) is when a quarterback or any offensive player who has the football with the intent of passing it is tackled behind the line of scrimmage by a defensive player.  A sack tends to occur on blitz plays by the defense, but that is not always the case. Anytime a defensive player can break through the line of scrimmage and get to the QB to tackle them for a loss of yards before they throw it will result in a sack. However, it is not a sack when a running back or an open receiver gets tackled with the ball; instead, this is a “tackle for loss. 


So, what happens after a sack during a football game? How much is a sack worth in NFL? Is a Sack a type of tackle? Can a sack lead to a score for a defense, and who has the most sacks in NFL history?


Here is the complete breakdown to what a sack is in football.


What Happens After a Sack During a Football Game?

So What Happens After a Sack During a Football Game

Several different occurrences can happen when a sack transpires, depending on which down they were currently playing. If a sack occurs during a first, second, or third down, the ball belongs wherever the quarterback (or offensive player) was ruled down, and the next play takes place from that position. Suppose the offensive team is attempting an offensive play on the fourth down. In that case, if a sack was to occur, that is called a “turnover on downs, “when this happens, the opposing team’s offensive players will begin their drive from wherever the sacked player’s knee touched the ground.


How Much is a Sack Worth in NFL?

How Much is a Sack Worth in NFL

A sack in a single game on its own is not worth much in an NFL game. A sack at its simplistic occurs, does not lead to any points. The worth comes during moments like a strip sack where the passer commits a fumble, and the opposing players can recover it. The opposing team then gets possession of the ball. A sack alone is not worth much but what can happen as a cause of a sack is where their worth comes in.


What Impact Does a Sack Have During a Game?

What Impact Does a Sack Have During a Game

A sack in a football game can be a huge momentum shifter when a defensive end can get around the offensive lineman and sack the quarterback, pushing the offensive team back a few yards. A big loss for 10 yards or more can be a catalyst that team needs to get back in the game. Even during the Superbowl, it is not uncommon for the team trailing to bring a sack when playing defense, and the entire game goes in their favor from that point on.


Momentum is a huge thing in any sport, especially American football. So when a defensive player can get into the backfield and take down the quarterback, it could be the deciding factor in a game.


Is a Sack a tackle?

Is a Sack a tackle

A sack is a subset of a tackle. The act of tackling is necessary to record a sack, and so on the scoresheet, sacks get counted as tackles. So a player like Michael Strahan in a season could have five tackles, but five of them would be sacks. So you will see a section mentioning the five sacks, but those get included in the total sacks section.


Can a Sack Lead to a Score for the Defense?

Can a Sack Lead to a Score for the Defense

A sack can lead to a score for the defense in several different occurrences. The first option is when a defensive player forces the passer to commit a fumble, and when that fumble occurs, if a defensive player can pick up the ball and take it to the endzone, they have scored a touchdown.


The other option for the defense to score is when a sack occurs on an offensive player, and the player is down in their own endzone. This sack caused a safety, and the team would score two points.


Who Has the Most Sacks in NFL History?

Who Has the Most Sacks in NFL History

Hall of fame defensive linemen is often the ones who have racked up the most career sacks or rank high on the all-time list. The NFL’s all-time career sack leader is Bruce Smith playing for the Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins. Reggie White, Kevin Greene, Julius Peppers, and Chris Doleman come after Bruce Smith to round out the top five.


Who Has the Most Sacks in College Football?

According to CBS Sports, Tedy Bruschi and Derrick Thomas have the most sacks in college football history at 52. Meanwhile, Terrell Suggs has the most sacks in a college football season at 24.


Conclusion: What is a Sack in Football?

In summary, a sack can occur from a linebacker, defensive tackle, cornerback, etc on any play. They can get a sack if they can get past the offensive lineman during a passing play and cause a loss of yards. Sacks are game-changers and, some would say, the most exciting part of the game. As a result, channels like ESPN often highlight sacks in their broadcast, even sacks that occur in college football.


If a team/player can time it right or call a blitz and get a lot of pressure on a player, they could force them to make a mistake like throw an interception or fumble the ball leading to a score. That is why defensive players play with emphasis to get a sack because it can come with its rewards. However, there is controversy lately at the NFL, and NCAA’s rules on sacks are either too lenient or too strict. Check out some of the recent complaints about those sacks here.


Still, regardless the sack is never going away and will always play a pivotal role in the game and a player’s career. Next time you watch a game, see how the crowd and team react after a sack. You might be witnessing the momentum change suddenly after this play.


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