A narrow opening or groove, especially one for receiving something, as a coin or a letter. Also, the notch or opening between the primaries of certain birds, which helps maintain the flow of air over the wings during flight.
In a slot machine, a player inserts cash or, in the case of “ticket-in, ticket-out” machines, a paper ticket with a barcode into a designated slot on the machine. The machine then activates and spins reels with symbols, revealing prizes based on the paytable. Symbols vary, but classics include fruits, bells, and stylized lucky sevens. Some slot games offer bonus rounds, free spins, and additional ways to win.
A slot is a wide receiver position that quarterbacks depend on heavily to stretch the defense and attack all three levels of the defense. Many great players have mastered the art of the slot, including Wes Welker (903 receptions, 15,924 yards, and 50 touchdowns over his 12-year career), Tyreek Hill (580 receptions, 8,849 yards, and 11 touchdowns this season), and Cole Beasley (860 receptions, 9,402 yards, and eight touchdowns).
The slot receiver usually lines up slightly in the backfield off the line of scrimmage, giving them more versatility to run multiple routes than outside receivers. They are called into pre-snap motion and may even carry the ball like a running back on pitch plays, reverses, and end-arounds. Because they are required to block defenders on some plays, slot receivers must have excellent awareness of the field and be precise with their route running and timing.
Those who excel in the slot also have an advantage in the passing game because of their ability to get open for the deep ball. This is why slot is such a critical position in today’s NFL and it takes an extremely special player to make an impact there.
While the slot is a newer concept for NFL fans, it has been around for several decades. In the early 1970s, legendary Raiders coach Al Davis began implementing the slot to give his team more versatility in the passing game. The strategy proved successful and helped the Raiders to their first Super Bowl championship in 1977.
Despite the fact that the slot has become more popular in recent years, it has been around for decades and has helped to create some of the greatest receivers in football history. It is important for every offensive coordinator to understand the value of the slot and how to maximize its potential. The following are some tips to help your offense utilize the slot to its fullest potential.