A pass route in which an eligible receiver will run downfield for a brief time before stopping quickly and heading back towards the quarterback for a short distance. The goal of a button hook is to get the defender to turn and commit to guarding against a downfield route to allow the receiver to get open coming back for the ball. The button hook is considered a low-risk route, but is unlikely to gain significant yardage unless the receiver breaks a tackle and gains yardage after the catch.
The button hook is a good route against defenders that are overly concerned about giving up a deep play. The receiver will drive downfield for a few yards until they see the defender turn their body. At that point, they will be able to stop quickly and head back towards the quarterback for a few steps. Ideally, the quarterback will throw the ball when the receiver stops so that the ball will almost be there when they turn, limiting the possibility that the defense can make a play on the pass. Button hooks are usually short yardage routes.