What Is A Pancake In Football

There isn’t a specific play that is called in a huddle for a pancake block. Instead, it’s a term used to describe the outcome of an offensive lineman’s run block, which causes the defensive player to fall flat on his back.

Each offensive lineman has a dream of executing a pancake block. Although there doesn’t remain any official statistic for pancake blocks in football, it is a very famous play for the offensive line coaches and offensive line groups.

This block does not result in a score. But it can result in a big play for the offense because it takes a defender out of the play. Let’s read the article to know what is a pancake in football. 

What Is A Pancake Block?

What is a pancake in football? It is not like a game named huddle. Rather than that, the pancake block is a term you can use to describe the final result of a run block by an offensive lineman watching the defensive player end up flat on his back.

If an offensive lineman can execute the technique accurately and overpower a player he is blocking, the defensive player can be toppled over straight backward for power and momentum. 

As the defensive player lies on his back like a flat pancake, we know it as the pancake block. If you execute the block, it will open up a massive hole along the line where a running back player gets enough position to go through.

It can happen only on running plays because the offensive lineman has to drive straight through the defender downfield against sitting back and securing the QB like on a passing play.

Where The Term “Pancake Block” Came From

What Is A Pancake In Football

Being an All-American player, Bill Fralic was a devastated defender during the 1983 and 1984 collegiate seasons. Fralic could block opponents in a way that players were knocked down on their backs.

Even the coaches started to count the number of times to register the block in a game. 

The university’s media relations department became popular as “pancakes.” Later, Nebraska and other universities began using the term while referring to their offensive line.

Nowadays, it is popular in all football at different levels to describe the block where defenders fall flat on their backs.

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How To Execute A Pancake Block

What Is A Pancake In Football

You can easily teach someone the pancake block, but executing it is not so simple. Whether you are an offensive lineman who is willing to learn how to execute pancake blocks, these are the steps you should follow.

Step 1) Hand on the Ground:

While in the three-point stance for a running play, you should put some more weight on your hand you put on the ground. It helps in boosting the forward momentum of your body.

Step 2) Explode at the Snap:

While snapping the ball, you should fire hard out of your stance. Then, engage with players which you need to assign to block instantly.

You must get your hands under your opponent’s chest pads, providing the leverage required for executing a pancake block.

Step 3) High and Low:

During that time, it is necessary to have the gravity center low to the ground, pushing up and back simultaneously. If necessary, you should knock off the balance by pushing up off the feet and back simultaneously.

As soon as you get them off balance, drive these hard straight back downfield. Ensure you must keep your head up while doing this. As a result, the defender cannot push down on the back of the helmet to knock you off balance.

Step 4) Strong Arms and Feet:

Ensure to keep the feet moving when you are driving defenders back. In addition, you must keep your hands strong and your arms tight. 

Step 5) Roll Your Hips:

You should put defenders on their backs using the power of the core and legs. Rolling the hips allows you to thrust the defender entirely off the ground.

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Step 6) Landing It Right:

If players’ feet don’t touch the ground, follow them forward. Then, you should explode through the body. If they fall to the ground with heads up, you should drive the players down with your head down. 

Ensure to land on the defender top directly while executing a pancake block correctly.

While it takes your defender out of the play, it is also beneficial for your team to gain yards on the run. If you execute a pancake block, it will make a physical obstacle to your body, the standing of other defenders, and the running back on 

your team.

What Positions Tend To Generate These Blocks?

What Is A Pancake In Football

Regarding laying out pancake blocks, several positions can lead the process. Offensive guard is the position that mainly generates these blocks.


Two reasons exist why players can earn more pancake blocks than others on the offensive line. Guards can pull from the line and run downfield to block.

It is one of the causes of such reasons, which creates a massive chance for a pancake block because the guard can get a little momentum before laying out the defender. 

Heavy players can easily put a defender on their back if they run downhill. In addition, if guards get downfield, they can block much smaller players.

Hence, the guards block linebackers and defensive backs. Usually, they are lighter than defensive tackles. As a result, they are much easier to pancake block. 


They lay out pancake blocks and line up on the formation’s outside part. In addition, they generally play one-on-one against the outside rusher.

For an offensive tackle, it is hard to create a pancake block while in pass protection against a single outside rusher.

Players in this position can run downhill, providing additional power in their blocks. As a result, it becomes simpler to pancake a defender if he runs past you from the opposite direction. 

Tight Ends:

It is a position where players can lay out some big blocks against the defenders. However, these players are smaller than o-linemen. They need to work with blocking defensive backs like safeties, also. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Is A “Down Block” In Football?

It is an angle block toward the inside. This blocker selects any of these two landmarks to attack. Usually, it is determined by the scouting report or the defender’s technique during a few of the last scrimmage downs. 

2. What Are The Simplest Ways For A Football Player To Avoid A Pancake?

Leverage is the prime factor in the pancake block. If you want to gain leverage over your opponent, you should adjust the gravity center lower than theirs. In addition, it is essential to have good positions to block them vertically. 

3. What Is A “Crack Back” Block In Football?

It is a blocking scheme element where one player splits out wide. In addition, the player can give a block to the blindside of an edge defender. 

4. How Can I Pancake Someone In Football?

In football, offensive line coaches and offensive linemen use the term to mean a block. In this case, a defensive player is left flat on his back​ as the running back goes through the hole. 

5. Which Is More Strategically Complex, Soccer Or American Football?

American Football is more strategically complex than Soccer.

6. What Is A Pancake Move In Football?

It is a term describing the final result of a run block. 

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