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A-11 Offense

What is A-11 Offense?

A special and rare offensive scheme in football used primarily for punts and field goals. Rather than forming a traditional line, players are spread out across the line of scrimmage as if they were wide receivers. The A-11 exploits a loophole in kicking formation rules with the purpose of disguising which personnel are eligible receivers. 

Sporting Charts explains A-11 Offense

The A-11 offense replaces the more traditional five linemen on the line of scrimmage with players from any position, because of a loophole stating that players in a “scrimmage kick” formation were exempted from the requirements of wearing numbers on their jerseys that identified their positions. In this fashion, coaches could potentially use this scheme for every down and defenses would have a difficult time determining which players to cover as pass eligibility would not be obvious.

Furthermore, because kick formation rules require them to be at least seven yards behind the line of scrimmage, the kicker and placeholder can be replaced with one or more passing backs, which results in a sort of “deep shotgun” formation, forcing defenses to cover more distance to get to the passer.

The A-11 offense is banned in high school football as of 2009 and only legal on fourth down plays in college football. It is not legal in the NFL because players who wear numbers that are not typically eligible to receive a pass are required to report their eligibility before they can line up in an eligible position. Following the ban of this offense at the high school level, coaches adjusted to using a similar offense but adhered by numbering requirements, instead relying on backward passes, laterals and hand-offs.

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