What Is the Flying Wedge in American Football (Full Explanation)

Football flying wedge: Early American Football was a rough-and-tumble sport that had little in common with the game we know today. Football flying wedge was the single most infamous play from this time period. So what is a flying wedge in football? The play’s history is in this article, along with the reasons it was taken out of competition, let’s follow now.

What is the flying wedge in football?


In the early years of football, the flying wedge (also known as the flying V) was the pinnacle of mass-motion plays. It appeared to sound as it did. The team’s heavier members would group together into a little wedge and cling on to one another.

In the middle was the ball carrier. One player on the other team would be the target of the entire wedge. At maximum speed, the wedge’s entire bulk would strike him.

The participants in the wedge got a firm connection to one another rather than just standing close to one another. On their uniforms, players frequently wore leather handles to help them tighten their grasp.


The origins of the flying V

It has a lengthy and interesting history. Although the exact date of the V formation’s invention is unknown, its history may be traced back to antiquity. Ancient Greeks fought in formation, and tyrants like Philip II of Macedon and Alexander the Great frequently commanded their forces in this fashion. The use of football flying wedges ultimately expanded throughout the world, and as the ages went by, succeeding generations came to appreciate it as a useful move for overtaking and scaring adversaries.

The wedge gained notoriety in the world of athletics during a Harvard-Yale football game in 1892. The strategy was first used by Harvard, which involved the team with the ball “locking together” and making a methodical advance. The play, which turned out to be particularly brutal, is now part of American football lore. They thought the flying wedge play to be extremely successful despite its element of brutality. Nevertheless, it was outlawed in 1894. The use of flying V is likewise forbidden by the British Rugby Union.

When demolishing protests or putting an end to rioting, police frequently utilize flying wedges. The configuration is excellent for dispersing huge crowds. When escorting a celebrity or other noteworthy people past a throng of adoring followers, law enforcement may also employ a flying V.

Death and the fall of the flying wedge


Despite the play’s enormous popularity, a gloomy cloud soon started to form. The play simply had too much impact. It brought enormous weight and momentum to bear, resulting in severe injuries and even fatalities.

The renowned flying wedge from Deland took effect in 1894. However, coaches are clever, so the flying V was quickly revived and persisted in slightly altered incarnations. The flying V alone resulted in 22 fatalities and 150 serious injuries in 1905.

The game was proposed for prohibition by the Harvard president. The death and injury tolls started appearing every Monday in newspapers. Editorials demanded that the entire sport be abolished.

Impact on the game today

The flying wedge has had a tremendously damaging impact on modern football. In order to prevent the formation of a wedge or the initiation of any sort of mass momentum play, people have implemented many of the most prevalent regulations and features of modern football.


Modern football games frequently begin with the teams lining up before the whistle blows sharply. A lineman’s slightly too-back posture resulted in the call for a penalty.

Another illustration is when too many players are moving simultaneously in the backfield and there is a penalty. This may come off as obnoxious and fussy.

But this regulation exists to avoid a situation when players band together and initiate a large-scale movement behind the line. They could charge and reach the line in a mass immediately as the ball was snapped if the rule didn’t exist.


On kicking plays, there was a flying V variation used until relatively recently. A compact wedge of three to four blockers would form in front of the receiving player as soon as he received the kick. To make room for the pallbearer, they would sprint down the field.

It was unacceptable for the participants to hold each other. However, they gained momentum similar to Deland’s original play because it was a kicking play. The opposing team sent flying wedges to pursue the wedge. It performed violent and perilous plays.

Final thought

In summary, the flying wedge had a significant effect on the growth of American football. Undoubtedly, there wouldn’t be a forward pass without flying V. If American football even existed, it would resemble something else entirely. Do not forget to follow our website Footballterms to update more information about football.

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