The Slingshot formation lines up four wide receivers as far as possible across the line of scrimmage, with the inside receivers off of the line, giving the appearance of a pulled slingshot, hence the name. The super spread design is intended to force opposing DBs to cover from sideline to sideline. Most plays run routes as different levels of depth to stretch defenses vertically, as well as horizontally. By using the entire field, receivers can easily find openings in zone defenses, while man defenses leave multiple receivers in single coverage. Because of the deep position of the quarterback and running back, Slingshot is a passing only formation.


The quarterback's deep shotgun position allows an extra half second or so for routes to develop and to react to blitzes. The single back is too deep to be a very effective blocker against defensive lineman, so he usually runs a fifth pattern to pull a linebacker into coverage and give the QB an easy checkdown.

Most Slingshot plays work in three sections. Each pair of receivers to either side run routes complimentary to each other, with one wideout attempting to draw coverage. This is not to say the grouts are decoys, the route that draws coverage is usually the early, short yardage read, while the second rout is the next, longer yardage read. A QB needs to learn to read each receiver pair in a single glance to master such plays. One side of the formation is read first, then the other side. The RB usually comes last, because he takes a moment just to get back to the line of scrimmage. The upside is nearly always a favorable matchup against a linebacker who steps into coverage late. The Rams are probably the ultimate Slingshot team (and work well for most other formations, as well), in large part due to great depth at wide receiver but also because of the speed and catching ability of Marshall Faulk out of the backfield.

My wide receiver assignments are somewhat arbitrary, each play focuses on different routes. Undercuts favors the left two WRs for possession, with speed needed by the right SE. Deep Outs is aimed at the flankers; the SEs mainly draw coverage deep. Flicker has the SEs as first reads. Though I have not experimented with different assignments, I suspect the displayed formation is close to optimal. It balances skill equally between SE and flanker, and slightly favors the left side over the right due to those routes in Undercuts, and the RB being on the right side, and therefore adding power to that side. Additionally, left flanker seems to get the most yards in my experience.


Slingshot - Undercuts


My best all-around play. The left flanker cuts under the left SE's drag route, while the right flanker cuts all the way behind the O-line. The RB swings out in the flats cleared out by the right SE's skinny post.

Slingshot - Deep Outs

Deep Outs

Double-layered deep out patterns run to each side. The SEs draw the safeties, leaving the flankers open underneath. These outs start out angled in to compress the defense before breaking to the outside.

Slingshot - Flicker


A very sophisticated, (mostly) symmetric passing play. SEs start outwards, then sharply cut back across the middle, underneath the out patterns by the flankers. If nothing is open right away, all wideouts turn upfield, with the SEs (now in the middle) eventually flaring towards the corners. The RB is also available as a dump off, or later over the middle in the WR's wakes.

Contact Arkaein with any comments or questions regarding the Monstrous Madden Playbook.