Gridiron Glossary: Swinging Gate

The Swinging Gate is a football formation, usually used on PATs, where the linemen line up away from the center to the side as shown.

Swinging Gate

There are variations on the formation, but the idea is the same: create advantageous match ups to gain two yards.  The most common approach is for the offense to get into the formation and execute a play based on a mismatch.  If no mismatch is present, most teams reset to a traditional field goal set and kick the PAT.

Common plays are to use the two players behind the center to run the ball either with one blocking or as a speed option.  The wideout is sometimes thrown to.  A direct snap from the center to the running back behind the line is sometimes employed.  The center is often an eligible receiver as well by virtue of being the last man on the line.  Many variations exist.

Gridiron Glossary is a resource for football terms that are often used by commentators, coaches and players but rarely defined.  If there is a term you have questions about or a definition you don’t agree with, let me know at

About Billy Koehler

Billy Koehler is the founder of and a contributing writer at He has been covering college football since 2006. You can follow him on twitter @billykoehler.
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