What Is A Sack In Football ? What Makes It So Important

In the NFL, a sack occurs when a quarterback or other offensive player with the ball and the intention of throwing it is tackled while behind the line of scrimmage by just a defensive player who has been able to penetrate the offensive line. When a running back or perhaps an open receiver is tackled, it is referred to as a “tackle for loss” rather than a sack.

Since the invention of football, the sack has dominated play and often determines the outcome of a match. Do you think, Strategies like Sack or onside kick rules make the game even more interesting to watch and play! Let me know your views and for now let’s know the rules.

What Are The Rules Behind Sacking The Quarterback?

A sack may seem straightforward in football, but several factors may prevent the play from occurring or invalidate a sack that has already occurred. That’s why players typically wait before enjoying a sack to ensure the action isn’t called for a penalty. A sack occurs when a defender knocks the quarterback while behind the line of scrimmage, as we should all be aware.

This is a fairly ambiguous definition, though, since there are times when the quarterback is tackled beyond the line of scrimmage, and it is classified as a run for a loss. To count as a sack, the quarterback must be either in or out of the pocket on a throwing play. If a play is intended to be a run for the quarterback and he is tackled behind the line of scrimmage, the play qualifies as a run for a loss rather than a sack.

Let’s look at several factors that might help avoid a sack from happening:

  • Offensive linemen block well, allowing the quarterback adequate time to locate a receiver.
  • If no open receivers are available, the quarterback may run the ball beyond the line of scrimmage for a gain.
  • If the quarterback cannot locate a receiver, he might make a reverse throw to another player to keep the play alive.
  • The quarterback may also break away from the sacking player, allowing himself additional time to target a receiver.
  • The sack is null and void if the defence commits a mistake on the same play as a sack.

During a sack, the ball might also be knocked free. If the quarterback loses the ball before his knee or arm contacts the ground, it qualifies as a fumble and is recorded as a strip-sack by the defence. Stripping the football helps the defence reclaim control of the ball.

If the sack happens in the offensive end zone, the play has ruled a safety, and the defence is awarded possession of the ball through a kick-off. A ‘half-sack,’ documented as 0.5 sacks on the stat sheet, is also a thing. This occurs when two players are given an identical sack, which is more often than you may expect.

Instead of awarding both guys one sack (and counting it as two sacks against the QB), Each player receives 0.5 sacks. After a sack, the ball is put where the quarterback was ruled with the ball. The offence would receive the ball back and proceed if it was first, second, or third down. If it happened on fourth down, the offence surrenders the drive, which is recorded as a turnover on downs.

NFL All-Time Sack Leaders+—

Although sacks occur weekly in the NFL, many players are some of the finest sack artists. Most of them played defensive end, although several defensive tackles and outside linebackers were in the mix. Let’s take a look at the top 10 NFL all-time sack leaders, as ranked by ESPN:

  • 200 sacks for Bruce Smith
  • Reggie White has a total of 198 sacks.
  • Kevin Greene has a total of 160 sacks.
  • Julius Peppers has a total of 159.5 sacks.
  • Chris Doleman has a total of 150.5 sacks.
  • Michael Strahan racked up 141.5 sacks.
  • Jason Taylor has a total of 139.5 sacks.
  • 139 sacks by Terrell Suggs
  • Demarcus Ware has a total of 138.5 sacks.
  • Richard Dent and John Randle have 137.5 sacks each.

While all of these guys are defensive linemen or linebackers, it doesn’t mean other defensive positions don’t earn sacks; they don’t happen as often. For example, Jamal Adams (strong safety) ranks 52nd in the NFL with 6.5 sacks during the 2019 season. Logan Ryan (cornerback) was 86th in the league with 4.5 sacks.

Only one of the above players is active today: Terrell Suggs, a free agent seeking a club. Only two other active players have more than 100 sacks: Von Miller (106 sacks) and Cameron Wake (100.5 sacks). With linebackers seeing more play on the defensive line, more hybrid sack artists, such as Wake and Miller, emerge in the NFL.

Who Has The Most Sacks In NFL History?

Hall-of-fame defensive linemen sometimes have the most career sacks or place high on the all-time list. Bruce Smith, who played for the Buffalo Bills & Washington Redskins, has the most career sacks in the NFL. Reggie White, Julius Peppers, Kevin Greene, and Chris Doleman follow Bruce Smith to round out the top five.

How Much Is a Sack Worth In NFL?

A sack in a single game isn’t worth much in an NFL game.A sack does not result in any points in its most basic form. The value comes from situations like a strip sack, where the QB commits a fumble, and the opposition players recover it. The ball is subsequently passed to the opposite team. A bag by itself is not very valuable, but what might occur as a result of a sack is where its value lies. However, learning it from experienced NFL coaches who are well known for their strategies is indeed worth it. Having said that, I wonder sometimes, what would be NFL Coach Salary. Afterall, theri game play skyrocket the entire level.


Q1. Is it a sack if the QB is running?

Ans. If the quarterback wants to try a forward pass, a sack happens. Any loss is subtracted from the quarterback’s total running yards if the play requires him to rush (run) the ball (and the play has ruled a tackle for loss as opposed to a sack).

Q2. Is a sack a tackle for loss?

Ans. The distinction between a sack and a tackle for loss must be understood. A tackle for loss occurs when a blitzing linebacker, receiver, or quarterback gets beaten inside the backfield during a running play. It happens in the backfield when the quarterback gets sacked on a passing play.

Q3. Who is the most sacked quarterback in the NFL?

Ans. With his 555th sack, Tom Brady became the NFL’s most-sacked quarterback. Justin Houston of the Baltimore Ravens sacks Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, marking Brady the far more sacked quarterback throughout NFL history with 555 takedowns.

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