An offensive formation in football in which the quarterback receives the snap from the center five yards or more behind the line of scrimmage.
The shotgun formation is primarily used for pass plays, although some teams favor the formation over the traditional position under center. The quarterback will sometimes be accompanied by one or two backs on either side, but can receive the snap alone in the offensive backfield. Teams that favor or feature the pass over the run will often use the shotgun formation on a regular basis.
The shotgun formation can provide several advantages. If the defense has been using a lot of blitz packages or is bringing pressure, the shotgun can allow the quarterback more breathing room to make a pass. Also, since the shotgun typically indicates a pass play, a mobile quarterback can take advantage, using the extra time to scramble and gain yards before defensive backs are forced to close and make a tackle.
The shotgun formation does have its disadvantages, however. The defense will be aware that a pass play is likely. Also, since the snap is longer there's more risk of a botched snap, leading to a possible turnover or loss of yards. Additionally, any defensive pass rushers penetrating the offensive line will have less traffic to move through on their way to the quarterback, causing a sack or tackle for loss more probable.