What does decleated mean in football?

The term decleated in football refers to a big hit which causes a player’s cleats to leave the ground.

Hits which decleat a player are relatively rare in football and require a big collision. These sorts of hits can be considered illegal depending on the contact.

What situations lead to decleating?

Whether you are trying to avoid these hits or are looking to lay some out you may be wondering what plays lead to these collisions.

Below we will cover some of the situations that lead to a player being decleated in football.


One play that often leads to decleating in football is a quarterback sack. Defensive linemen are often much larger than the quarterbacks they tackle. This makes big hits all the more likely.

Decleating is especially common on hits which come from the quarterback’s blindside. When looking to throw the ball the quarterback is going to have his back turned to one side of the offensive line.

This means the defensive lineman on the other side will have a chance to lay a hit the quarterback does not see coming.

If a player does not prepare themselves for contact the hit is often much more devastating.

For this reason, blindside sacks on the quarterback can often result in a decleating hit.

Hospital passes

Another play that can lead to a player being delceated in football is a hospital pass.

A hospital pass in football refers to a pass which leaves the receiver susceptible to a big hit.

When the receivers reach out or jump to catch the ball they leave themselves vulnerable. Defensive players often take this opportunity to lay out a big hit.

This is especially common against wide receivers. These players catching passes in the middle of the field can result in big hits from safeties or linebackers.

For this reason, players have been known to use alligator arms when they see a hit that may decleat them coming. Alligator arms is a term used to describe players who do not reach out fully for the ball as they do not want to be on the receiving end of the hit.

The NFL has worked to protect receivers from these hits by adding rules. Hitting a defenceless wide receiver is one such example of a new rule that promotes the health and safety of the players in these situations.

Safeties coming downhill

One final example of a play that results in a decleating hit occurs when a safety comes downhill on a rushing play.

When a play starts safeties usually line up fairly far back from the line of scrimmage.

On rushing plays, these players will be expected to step up towards the line of scrimmage and bring down the ball carrier.

Some players in the safety position are hard hitters and use this distance between them and the line of scrimmage to gain momentum.

The safety will have run five to ten yards downfield and will then meet the running back if he makes it through the defensive line and linebackers.

On some occasions, this can result in a decleated player especially if the running back did not see the safety coming.

Decleating a running back is a tough thing to do but some safeties are able to do it in situations like these.

That is all on decleating in football read more if you want to learn if you can wear metal cleats in football or why players tape their cleats.

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