A goal-line stand in football refers to a series of plays in which the defense is able to stop the opponent from scoring a touchdown after they run multiple plays near the endzone. In most these situations the offense will have a first and goal situation.
This means the opponent has gotten within ten yards of the goal line meaning they cannot advance the ball for a first down. At this point they will have three or four attempts at scoring the touchdown depending if they want to kick a field goal or not.
When a team attempts several plays from the area and walk away without a touchdown this is considered a goal line stand.
Where Does The Term Goal Line Stand Come From?
The goal line refers to the line which designates the start of the endzone. When a team makes a stand it refers to the military use of the term “last stand”. A last stand refers to a situation in the military in which a body of troops attempts to hold a defensive position against insurmountable odds.
The goal-line stand is of course a little different as the offensive team only scores touchdowns about sixty per cent of the time when in the red zone. Though remember a goal-line stand refers to not just the red zone but when the defenders are backed up near their own goal line.
Why Do They Seem So Common?
If you often watch football on television you may have noticed those long drives that always seem to come up short in the endzone.
These drives often make it look like the offense has no problem moving the ball across the field. Then all of a sudden once they are near the endzone they stall out. There is actually some reasoning behind this and it centers around the defensive strategy.
Often times teams use zone coverage on defense in order to stop the opponents passing game. This means instead of covering a specific player you cover an area on the field. As you are pushed closer and closer towards your end zone the amount of field you have to cover grows smaller.
By the time the defense is on their own goal line the amount of field they have to cover is quite small. This gives each player an even smaller zone to cover on each play. This ultimately makes it much more difficult for the offense to find holes in the zone coverage.
For this reason, you will often see defenses fail to stop a team outside of their redzone. And then suddenly shut them down once they are close to their goal line. This is especially common with bend but don’t break defenses.