A tactic used by a quarterback in which they fake as if they are going to make a particular throw. This is accomplished by moving his arm as if he was throwing, but not releasing the ball. Ideally, a pump fake can cause a defensive play to become out of position as they react to the fake throw, allowing a better opportunity to make a successful real throw.
Pump fakes are an important part of an effective quarterback's arsenal. Aggressive defensive backs will often read a quarterback's eyes so that they can anticipate the throw and make a play on the ball. A quarterback can use a pump fake to draw these players away from the actual location they want to throw the ball. The main risk with a pump fake is that it takes time, and allows the pass rush a better chance to sack the quarterback. Successful pass fakes are often combined with specific pass routes. For example, a quarterback might have a receiver run an "out-and-up" routine and pump fake on the out part of the route. If the defensive back jumps the out route, the receiver will be wide open down the field.