Trick plays at the NFL level is often a mixed bag of tricks. When they're used properly, a team can be on the receiving end of very easy points. If they're not executed correctly, they can easily turn into disasters. With Denard Robinson listed as an "offensive weapon," I wondered, are trick plays a good idea in the NFL?
The short and simple answer, in my belief, is that trick plays are actually under-utilized in the NFL. The Steelers under Bill Cowher employed trick plays relatively often, and they were highly successful, leading to quick points.
It seems likely that many teams stay away from such gadget plays simply because there aren't many players in the NFL that offer diverse enough skill sets to run them. In Jacksonville, Denard Robinson will be able to pull off gadgets because he's used to throwing the ball as well as running, making him a great candidate for piloting such trickery.
In New England, no one expects Tom Brady to run the ball, and everyone knows he's a great passer. If he were to lineup anywhere but at the quarterback position, everyone on the field would notice. This means that the only legitimate trick play the Patriots could run with a strong chance of an easy touchdown would be a reverse-lateral-pass style play in which Brady is the thrower, and frankly, the Patriots are probably better served just running their usual offense.
In places like Jacksonville, however, trickery can lead to easy scores from an unproductive offense.
For fans, trick plays are some of the most exciting moments of a football game. They can represent the very best and very worst examples of creativity in the NFL. It's for this reason that we should all keep an eye out for gadget plays this season. With so many athletic quarterbacks now in the league, there's more opportunity than ever to run such trickery. Keep a sharp eye out, trickery is on its way.