In Football, What is a Pancake Block? (In-depth details!)

Last Updated on May 15, 2022 by

Among several terminologies associated with NFL football, the pancake block is one of the most celebrated plays executed by the offensive line personnel including coaches and groups.  The term is well known within the circles of American football with a significant history behind how it was invented.

In finer detail, pancake block is not an official term in the NFL but has generated global acceptance among fans and analyst across the world.

In this article, the history and the exact meaning of ‘pancake block’ as a term in NFL will be deeply looked into. Additionally, questions about  the significance and step by step guide on how it is executed will be attended to in detail. Let’s dive in!

What is pancake block in NFL?

What is pancake block in NFL

This is a term used to describe the attempt orchestrated by the combination of the offensive line coach and offensive linemen to block a defensive player, leaving him flat on his back and pave way for the running backs to go through the hole. As a rule, the offensive line are expected to open holes along the line of scrimmage for the running back to exploit. In physical terms, this move require a certain degree of speed, agility, power and aggressiveness by the offensive linemen to stand a chance of delivering a perfect execution. Pancake block signifies total dominance by the offensive linemen over their defensive counterparts and can only occur during running plays.

Where did the term originate from?

Pancake block was first used as a term in NFL several decades ago. In a more precise manner, it was used by the Pittsburgh Panthers during the 1983 and 1984 seasons to depict the blocking ability of the legendary Bill Fralic. He was renowned for his prowess in knocking down opponents with their back flat on the ground. His blocking expertise was labeled as ‘pancakes’ and the term has become an household term used in NFL till today. The pancake block still remain unofficial but it is a widely used term to describe situation where offensive lineman made a block move that left defenders flat on their backs during NFL games.

How can I execute a pancake block?

How can I execute a pancake block

As stated earlier, the pancake block is the term used to describe the outcome of a well executed block move made by offensive lineman on defenders. However, the process is easy to describe but the execution is not a simple task as it requires a high energy level, absolute power and strength.

Below is a step by step guide on how to perform a pancake block move.

Step 1 : put your hand on the ground

The first step to take is to put your body in a three point position and put a little more weight on the hand you placed on the ground. This move will ensure an increase in forward projection of the body. 

Step 2 : explode at the snap of the ball

The next move is to fire out of your stance and quickly engage the particular player that you are assigned to block. The plan is to swiftly reach out and grab the chest pad of the opposition to have the advantage need to perfectly execute the pancake block.

Step 3 : push up and back

To maintain the advantage as an offensive player, it is essential to have your center of gravity low to the ground while you keep pushing high and low at the same time. This move will be gradually getting the defenders off balance which will give you a leverage to push them hard and straight back down the field.

Step 4 : strong arms and feet

Show massive strength by keeping you feet moving as you drive back defenders during the process. Ensure your arms are well right and maintain a strong hand to send the defenders stumbling back on their feet.

Step 5: ove your hips

This is a crucial step in the process of executing the pancake block. Rolling your hips while you maintain a strong arm and feet will ultimately land the defenders on their backs.

Step 6: keep up the execution till the end

The final step requires you to follow up on the process to ensure perfect execution. Follow them forward once their feet lose contact with the ground and push harder to get on top of them and ultimately help other teammates to gain yards on the run of play. 


We have a compiled list of frequently asked questions on what a pancake block is in the NFL. Lethe t’s check them out!

Who invented the pancake block?

Although the term was first used to describe bill Fralic’s blocking prowess, the invention of the pancake moved to Orlando Pace in 1996. TThe term resulted from a situation where an offensive lineman knock a defensive lineman with his back flat on the ground.

Why is the term called the pancake block?

Bill Fralic’s blocking prowess was well known during the 1983 and 1984 seasons. His devastating blocking the move puts the defenders flat on their backs. This move become famous and was eventually labeled ‘pancakes’ by the media relations department of Pittsburgh university. The term remains unofficial today but it is a widely used the term in NFL.

Is pancake block a legal move in NFL?

The history behind the invention of this term shows it’s not an official term at any level in NFL. However, the pancake block is a legal move and it is generally accepted as part of the NFL game.

Can you pancake defensive players in NFL?

As an offensive player, yes! The pancake block is a move that shows the total dominance of offensive linemen over defensive players during NFL games. However, this move is not easy to execute as it requires strength, aggression, and power.

Final words

Pancake block is an unofficial term in NFL but is widely used by players and fans across the world. The term is used to describe a devastating block move orchestrated by the offensive lineman on defensive players which put the defenders flat on their backs and ultimately creates a hole for running players to exploit.

This article was aimed to provide enough resources to answer your queries about what a pancake block is in football and we hope this write-up has done justice to that. If you have more questions regarding the article topic, kindly reach out to us through the comment section.


Leave a Comment