An attempt by the offense to advance the ball by having an offensive player behind the line of scrimmage throw the ball forward to an eligible receiver. A pass is an important part of an offense as it allows the offense to attack downfield much more effectively than a mere handoff. A pass must be completed to an eligible receiver, usually a wide receiver, running back, or tight end. A pass is best thrown as a spiral, where the ball exhibits a tight, quick rotation as it heads towards its intended target.
The person most likely to pass the ball is the quarterback. After taking the snap, the quarterback will scan the field and look for an open receiver to whom he may be able to complete a pass and gain yardage for the offense. The pass is considered a higher risk, higher reward play because the defense may also intercept the pass, thus gaining their team possession. The downfield receivers will run specific routes in order to put themselves in position to receive the pass.