A pass thrown to a receiver who is running a route that crosses the middle of the field.
A pass thrown “across the middle” is notorious for being one of the most dangerous passes for a receiver to attempt to secure. Receivers run a variety of routes to take passes across the middle of the field, hitches, slants, fades, posts. Danger to the receiver comes from a receiver’s proximity to the middle of a defense that will attempt to jar the ball loose by hitting the receiver hard. For this reason, most passes across the middle are timed routes that seldom lead the receiver and generally target them in the chest for maximum efficiency. Receivers who run routes across the middle must be exceptional route runners, capable of changing direction quickly. Receivers must also be sure-handed and tough as passes across the middle usually put them in between several defenders. Across the middle passes also require quarterbacks capable of making quick, clean throws that pass through tight defensive windows.