An trick set-piece play in football that sees the offensive line, aside from the center, line up on one side of the field, while the center, quarterback and a tailback line up in their normal positions between the hash marks. The primary goal of this play is to throw a screen pass to a wide receiver with six blockers, or hand off to the back in an attempt to gain yardage.
The Swinging Gate is unconventional, unorthodox and typically used in a situation to completely surprise the other team. As should be expected, it is highly regarded as a “gimmicky” play. One of the greatest drawbacks of its use is that it puts the quarterback and great risk of turnovers and injury.
When it is used at all, the Swinging Gate is more typically seen at the high school or college level. Southern Methodist University (SMU) used this formation regularly throughout the 2002-2007 seasons as an offensive special team set during two-point conversion opportunities. If the defense was caught off guard, the Swinging Gate could be used to block for a fairly short running play, and if they lined up to defend against the play, the offense could instead elect to kick a field goal with little or no chance of the play being blocked.