What is a Pick 6 in Football? All You Want to Know

What is a Pick 6 in Football All You Want to Know

In American football, pick 6 is an informal term that refers to a situation where the defending team intercepts an interception for a touchdown.

Following the rotation, the defense will instantly change into an offensive line. Therefore, the player who catches that interception has a chance to score a six-point touchdown.

The positions that yield pick sixes are typically cornerback or safety. The linebacker or even another defender can play in this manner.

In the course of playing, you hardly ever get to see this gameplay. However, they have the ability to influence how things are between the two teams.

You might witness a defensive team intercept a pass during an American football game and return the ball to the end zone. The defensive team is now jubilant because a pick 6 led to that outcome.

So, how does it appear during a game, among other things? To learn more, continue reading the post below!

Why Do They Call It a Pick 6?

When a defensive player intercepts a pass, it’s also referred to as a “pick”, in reference to “picking off the forward pass.” The team is then given six points when the interception, or pick, is returned completely for a touchdown.

Although many people believe it, a touchdown does not count for seven points. Only six points are awarded for a touchdown; therefore, in order to score a total of seven, the team must attempt the extra-point kick. This is the justification for the term “pick 6,” which refers to an interception returned for a touchdown.

How Did the Term Pick 6 Develop?

The term “pick 6” is a slang term that is relatively new to the world of football. According to the majority of sources, the phrase first appeared in the early 2000s. Common wisdom suggests that the phrase came about as broadcasting shorthand for saying a defensive player “got a pick and six points” due to an interception return for a touchdown.

The “six” in the term “pick 6” refers to the number of points scored on the play. Because the defensive team always scores a touchdown after a pick six, it differs from an interception. It does not count as a pick six if a defensive player intercepts a pass but fails to get to the end zone.

How Does a Pick 6 Affect the Game?

A pick six in football is a pivotal play. The team that receives the pick 6 has the opportunity to change the game’s momentum and start setting the pace, regardless of whether they are winning or losing.

Any touchdown, it’s fair to say, is a significant moment in the game, but a pick six is made all the more memorable by the method by which it is obtained. Due to the level of psychology involved, it strikes fear into the heart of the opposing team and is challenging to recover from.

A pick 6 does much more than simply score six points, probably seven. The opposition is much more agitated than before when they prepare for offense on the subsequent drive. It can be disastrous for his team if the quarterback overthinks his choices.

One of the most useful things a defense can acquire during an American football game is this fear that has now been instilled in the QB. The QB is more likely to commit another error as a result, changing the entire dynamic of the game.

One of the most desired qualities in a quarterback is the capacity to recover from a poor play, and this is a big reason why.

Who Gets a Pick 6 Generally?

Both the defense and the offense are rewarded with a pick six. In most cases, the quarterback will be given credit for the “pick 6,” while the defender will be given credit for the “interception return touchdown.”‘ Although they both refer to the same thing, the terms are used to indicate which side of the ball is being discussed.

There are some players on the field who are more likely to score a pick six (interception return touchdown) on the defensive side of the ball. The players you’ll see most frequently receiving a pick six are defensive backs, also referred to as cornerbacks and safeties.

Through the course of the 2019 season, the NFL saw 36 interceptions returned for touchdowns. 27 of those 36 came from cornerbacks or safeties. Other than that, a linebacker contributed seven and a defensive end contributed two.

There were only three players in the 2019 season who had more than one interception returned for a touchdown, and Marcus Peters miraculously led the pack with three, demonstrating how uncommon they truly are.

Despite there being a total of 45 throughout the season, no player in the 2018 season had more than two.

What is a Pick 6 in Football? All You Want to Know
What is a Pick 6 in Football? All You Want to Know

What Does a Pick 6 Play Look Like During a Game?

The extra points scored after the defense returns the ball for a touchdown are the most crucial component of a pick six. The play is exciting because of a few additional crucial components, though, which add to the game’s excitement.

After a defensive player receives the ball, the team frequently undergoes a significant change as the defensive line begins to block the offensive team to make room for the player with the ball. In the meantime, the opposing team must attempt to step in and halt the run.

The team that scored (the defensive team on the previous play) kicks the ball to the opposing team after a pick six, giving them a second chance to mount a scoring drive.

How Many Points is a Pick 6 Worth?

Because the interception is returned for a touchdown, which is worth six points, a pick six is worth six points. The team that intercepts the ball and scores will also have the chance to kick an extra point, just like they would with any other touchdown.

Can Any Player on Defense Score a Pick 6?

One of the defense’s most thrilling plays in football is an interception. Any defensive player has the ability to make a pick six.

Because they cover the wide receivers for whom the pass is intended, defensive backs and linebackers are more likely to score a pick six.

Defensive linemen can, however, also catch passes that are thrown directly to them or that are deflected off of them. Although it is uncommon, defensive linemen can occasionally make a pick six.

Defensive backs like Deion Sanders and Asante Samuels were renowned for scoring points by undercutting routes. The pick six is a total game-changer for both teams and has the power to change the tide of the contest.

The quarterback will be more cautious when throwing the ball down the field after a pick 6, which also unsettles him mentally.

Tips for Increasing the Chance of Getting a Pick 6

One of the most challenging aspects of playing American football is picking sixes. In order to receive this bonus, a player must combine a number of factors.

Defensive Player

If you are a defensive player, then you will need to pay attention to the following factors and qualities:

  • You need to have a high defensive IQ. You can read field positions from which to make interceptions with the help of quick judgment.
  • Vision: To slink into the formation of the opposing team unnoticed by defenders, a good ball carrier needs clear, long-range vision. The ultimate objective is to bring the ball into the opponent’s end zone in a secure manner.
  • When you successfully block a pass, work well with your teammates. They will be tasked with obstructing the rival so you can move more quickly and avoid being penalized.
  • Speed: You must maintain a constant running speed and disengage from the enemy’s attacking line.
  • Good hands: You need talent and a set of flexible hands to be able to intercept and record touchdowns correctly.
  • Break tackles: Breaking tackles will increase your chances of successfully bringing the ball into the end zone in the event that you run into opposition resistance.

Offensive Player

To prevent your opponent from winning a pick six, a quarterback needs the following five things. Let’s take a closer look at them here:

  • You should practice your ability to pass the ball accurately to the receiver. A careless pass could lead to an interception and change the outcome of the game.
  • Chemistry: Typically, an interception only happens when the quarterback and receiver are not getting along well. Practice frequently with your teammates to create a certain level of balance in the game.
  • Making decisions is important because the quarterback is one of the team’s key players. Making a rational decision will improve the team’s play and make it more aggressive.
  • Speed: The quarterback must be quick enough to overtake the ball blocker. You will now take the position of a protector.
  • Tackling: In addition to having the speed and stamina to outrun your opponent, you must be skilled with the ball. If you don’t, you could always miss the ball.

Interception Vs Pick 6

As we previously stated, two events must take place for a pick 6 to occur in an American football game. A pick-six is the first item on that list. A pick six in a football game is impossible without it and will never occur.

A touchdown is item number two on the list. A pick 6 is not an interception without it.

A quarterback’s (QB) forward pass or ball is intercepted when a defender catches it. It’s one of the many ways to force a turnover, and good gloves can aid in keeping the ball in your possession. Because the ball is intended for a member of the offense’s team, interceptions are frustrating for the offense.

Following an interception, the defender who grabbed the ball has the chance to return it for a touchdown. Prior to that, if they are tackled, their team regains possession and receives new downs.

A touchdown is scored and six points are awarded if the player enters the end zone without being tackled or fumbling the ball.

A pick 6 occurs whenever an interception is returned for a touchdown. Even though not every interception results in a pick six, every pick six must begin with an interception. The only distinction between the two is that a pick 6 involves a touchdown.

Remember that after the player who intercepts the ball is tackled, the team that did so receives the ball on offense. The team that intercepted the pass still has a chance to score, but it must occur on the offensive side of the ball.

What is a Pick 2?

It doesn’t always result in six points when a defense returns an interception to the end zone. If they achieve this feat during an extra point attempt or a two-point conversion, they will complete a defensive two-point conversion or a “pick 2.”

After a rule change in the 2015–2016 season, the pick 2 was only made possible in the NFL. This was previously only feasible in college football. Football games that are close can be decided by defensive two-point conversions, which are fascinating plays. These plays are especially significant because a few games in NFL history were won on defensive two-point conversions.

Picking up the second pass is important because they get the ball back after the defensive team scores, just like they would after a successful two-point conversion. This pick two gives one side back-to-back scoring chances, which makes it significant during a game.

The first person to successfully complete a pick 2 was Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Eric Berry in 2016. The Atlanta Falcons’ Matt Ryan threw a ball, which he recovered. The Chiefs were trailing 27-28 prior to the play. They were able to win with the additional two points.

Players With the Most Pick 6s in NFL History

With 12 touchdowns, safety and cornerback Rod Woodson has played for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, and Oakland Raiders. Darren Sharper (who played for the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, and New Orleans Saints) and Charles Woodson (who has no relation and played for the Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers) are the players who trail him by a small margin. Each of Sharper and Woodson has scored 11 touchdowns.

James Harrison, a linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers, set a Super Bowl record for the longest interception return for a touchdown in 2008. The Steelers led 17-7 at the half thanks to Harrison’s 100+ rushing yards against the Arizona Cardinals.

The majority of the credit for a pick six is given to defensive players, but quarterbacks also make history based on how many interceptions they throw or don’t throw.

QB’s With the Most Interceptions and Pick 6’s

With 336 interceptions, Brett Favre holds the record for the NFL’s entire history as of 2021. The Washington Football Team returned one of the interceptions for a touchdown, which included the quarterback’s very first pass ever attempted as a professional.

In a similar vein, Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub made history in 2013 when he was the first to throw a pick six in four straight games. These included the games against the Tennessee Titans in weeks 2, 3, and 5, as well as those against the Baltimore Ravens, Seattle Seahawks, and San Francisco 49ers.


Does Pick 6 Count Against Defense?

No, starting with the 2017–19 season, your D/ST will not be impacted by attack points gained from fumble recoveries for touchdowns or pick-6s.

The Special Team score, which is a punt refund for a touchdown against your D/ST, will nevertheless be added to your D/ST score.

How Many Points is a Pick 6?

A touchdown is worth six points, and a pick-six is worth six points because the interception was returned for one.

Additionally, the team that scores a touchdown has the chance to add an extra point right away with a kick.

Do You Get An Extra Point After Pick 6?

After executing a pick-six, kicking the ball into the opposing team’s end zone will score you an extra point.

What QB Has Never Thrown a Pick 6?

The quarterback with zero picks is Mitch Trubisky. While there are 29 midfielders on the roster in 2021 with a combined total of more than 1,500 attempts, Mitch’s rate is zero percent.

On average, quarterbacks will have a 9.5% chance of picking off six receivers with their passes. That doesn’t happen when Mitch is by himself.

What are the Most Pick 6s in a Game?

When they had four touches against the Captain on November 4, 1984, the Seattle Seahawks held the record for most interceptions in a game.


When a defensive player recovers the pass and scores a touchdown, the play is known as a pick six.

One of the most thrilling plays in football is the pick six. Pick sixes shift the momentum in the defense’s favor and enable them to score points without the assistance of the offense.

The main defensive positions that frequently record a pick six are defensive backs and linebackers. Although a defensive lineman can recover an interception for a touchdown, defensive backs and linebackers are more likely to do so.

Read about 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.