What is Blitz in Football?

What is Blitz in Football

American Football is enriched with tradition and culture. It is a game that is loved by a large number of people, and the fans are passionate about it. The National Football League, NFL, in the United States has an annual championship known as the Super Bowl. The people of America make it feel more like a celebration, and it brings everyone together like it’s the festive season again. 

American football, like any other sport, has rules and regulations that keep the game fair for the players and fun for the audience. If you want to know more about this game, we recommend that you keep scrolling!

Where did Blitz Originate?

“Blitzkreig”, a German word that means lightning war in English, made its way into the terminology of football as “Blitz”. During World War II, the Germans made use of intense and rapid military tactics, which were described using this term. These overwhelming and swift tactics aimed to catch the enemy military force off guard. 

In football, the term Blitz is used to characterize a similarly aggressive and swift strategy. The only difference is that this strategy only applies to a defensive style of play.

What Exactly is Blitz?

Blitz in football is a defensive play strategy that involves sending out additional players straight to the offensive backfield. Generally, there are at least four or sometimes more players who are responsible for carrying out this strategy and these players are usually the defensive backs or the linebackers. This tactic is useful for rushing the quarterback on the opposing team so that their offence is disrupted. 

The main idea behind this defensive strategy is to put some significant pressure on the opposing quarterback so that their passing is disrupted. In an ideal situation, the opposing quarterback is forced to make an inaccurate throw or at least a hurried throw that can be exploited. 

When a team decides to blitz during a game, they are basically going in for a pass rush that is more aggressive while sacrificing some of their passing coverage. The hope is to create some chaos and disorder in the backfield by deploying extra defenders to target the quarterback of the opposing team. If this is pulled off correctly, the offence from the opposing team will be put at a disadvantage since it can lead to incomplete passes, turnovers, or even sacks. 

Teams in football are usually able to carry out a blitz with just four players. However, blitzes are often designed with more than four players in mind. This is to ensure that the players can put more pressure on the opposing team’s quarterback and get to the quarterback quicker than they would with just four players.

Different Types of Blitz

Now that you have a more general understanding of what a blitz is and how it is intended to work, it is time to examine the different types of blitzes. There are a few different forms of a blitz, each with its own unique objective and strategy. We have made a list of some of the more common blitz plays that you are likely to see or even play!

Cornerback Blitz

Blitzes are occasionally done by the cornerbacks as well. The main idea of a blitz is to send out the defenders in your team; this is why cornerbacks rarely take part in this strategy. When cornerbacks do a blitz they usually make use of a swift pass rush to try and catch the offense from the opposing team off guard.

Inside Blitz

This blitz involves disrupting from the inside in the pocket. For an inside blitz to work the linebackers need to find gaps between the opposing linemen who are on the offense. The plan is to attack through these gaps so the pocket can be disrupted. 

Safety Blitz

Blitzes are not new to football, so teams try to devise new techniques to make their blitz play more unpredictable. This is done by safety blitzes. To make their attack more unpredictable and have that element of surprise, there are times when you will see a defensive back, who is the safety, joining the blitz with the other players in the team. This aims to throw the opposing team off in a moment of confusion. 

Outside Blitz

The goal of an outside blitz is to make the opposing quarterback feel forced into making a quick and hasty decision or to move under pressure. This is done by having the defenders, who are responsible for doing the blitz, move to the edges of the field and attack from there. If the opposing quarterback makes a mistake or does something wrong under pressure then it can be exploited and can turn into a touchdown for the blitzing team.

Zone Blitz

In this blitz, instead of having players running in the edges or a linebacker usually does the defensive lineman blitzing, the blitz. Doing this allows the edge runners and the defensive lineman to cover the space that is left open due to the linebacker blitzing and they fall back to get more coverage. Using this blitz often confuses the blocking assignments and the offensive line of the opposing team, meaning a player has more chance to get through and put more pressure on the quarterback. Moreover, the opposing offense also gets tricked into thinking that there are more incoming defenders with the blitz than there actually are. 

Zero Blitz

Since this blitz does not leave any defenders or safety to provide coverage for the deep side of the field, it is more of a gamble than any other blitz. Zero blitz is run when the team is sure the opposing team will do nothing but run the ball. When the defense is running a zero blitz, the offense needs to be able to properly throw the ball in time since they are leaving themselves completely open to be exploited. 


Even though Blitz is a word that was derived from military tactics, throughout the years this term has become one of the most fundamental and basic defensive tactic to understand in the sport. All the different blitzes that were listed above are some of the most common ones to keep in mind if you are a football fan or even if you play football. Now that you understand what a blitz means in football, we hope the next time you hear the word being said during a match, you will not be confused!