What Is A Pick-Six In Football (Meaning And Origin)

In the sport of football, a pick-six (sometimes spelled pick-six) is a play that occurs when the quarterback throws an interception that is then returned for a score. The word “pick six” comes from a slang term in which interceptions are referred to as “picks,” and a score is worth six points.

Together, these two concepts gave rise to the name. To convert an interception into a touchdown, the defender who made the interception must take the ball and return it to the opposing end zone, which they are defending at the time. As with standard offensive touchdowns, the scoring side is responsible for kicking the ball away after the score and the attempt at the extra point.

Do You Know That Football’s Pick Six Is Different From Other Picks? Yes, One score is awarded for a pick-six, but not for an interception. That is the sole difference between the two. Remember that the team that successfully intercepts the football goes on the offensive with the ball once the man who successfully intercepted the ball is tackled.

How Did The Term Pick Six Develop?

In the realm of football, the meaning “Pick Six” is a phrase that has only been around for a short while. According to most sources, the phrase was probably coined sometime in the early 2000s.

According to the conventional understanding, the term originated in the broadcasting industry as a shorthand way of referring to the fact that a defensive player “got a pick and six points” due to an interception return for a touchdown. The amount of points earned due to the play is referred to as the “six” in the name “Pick Six.”

The difference between a pick-six and an interception is that the defensive team will always score a touchdown after a pick-six. It does not count as a Pick Six if the defensive player who intercepted the ball does not make it into the end zone after making the play.

What Are Football Picks & Effects?

Picks are another name for interceptions. When a defensive player successfully picks off a pass intended for the opposing quarterback, the defensive team immediately moves to the offensive position. It is usual for secondary players and linebackers to make pick-six interceptions since they are more likely to be in coverage than other players on the field.

If a lineman intercepts a pass and then throws it into the air before collecting it, they have a better chance of returning the ball for a score since fewer players are standing in their way. Because it scores points without being part of an offensive play, a pick-six has the potential to affect the outcome of a game.

Why Is It Referred To As A “Pick Six”?

The phrase “choose 6” may be split into two pieces. The first component of the phrase, “pick,” is a football slang word that refers to the act of intercepting the ball. This word originates from the act of “picking” the ball out of the air and regaining possession of it from the quarterback.

The number “6” refers to the number of points given to the defense if a player on defense scores after intercepting the ball. Interceptions may result in touchdowns worth six points and can be scored on. It is far simpler to state that they scored a touchdown on a pick-six than to describe that a defensive player intercepted the ball and then ran it in for a touchdown.

This play is a pick-six when a defensive player intercepts the ball and then scores a touchdown. The “pick six,” which happens when the defense makes a pick, is widely considered the most exhilarating in all football. The defense now has the upper hand, and due to pick sixes, they can score points without the aid of the offense. The game flips the momentum in their favor.

Interception v/s A Pick-Six?

What Is A Pick-Six In Football

For a pick-six to occur during an American football game, two events must occur, as discussed above. The first item on the list is a pick-off or a fumble recovery. Without it, a pick-six cannot occur in a football game and won’t ever happen in the sport’s history. A touchdown comes in at number two on this particular list. A pick-six will be counted as an interception if it is not there.

When a defensive player hauls in a forward pass or ball thrown by the quarterback, this is known as an interception (QB). A good pair of gloves may assist in securing the ball and making this play, which is one of several that can be used to cause a turnover. Because the ball is supposed to go to one of their players, the offense finds it very upsetting when it is intercepted.

Following a successful interception, the defensive player who retrieved the ball has the chance to score a touchdown by regaining possession of the ball and running it into the end zone. If they are brought down before that occurs, the opposing side regains control of the ball and begins a new set of downs.

They will score a touchdown and get six points if they successfully enter the end zone without being brought down by an opponent or fumbling the ball. The term “pick six” refers to any situation in which an interception is returned for a touchdown. Every pick-six must begin with an interception, even though not all interceptions lead to a pick-six after the play.

One score is awarded for a pick-six, but not for an interception. That is the sole difference between the two. Remember that the team that successfully intercepts the football goes on the offensive with the ball once the man who successfully intercepted the ball is tackled. The team that successfully intercepted the pass still has a chance to score, but they will need to do it while playing on the offensive side of the ball this time.

What Does A Pick-Six Play Look Like During A Game?

The most significant aspect of a pick-six is the additional points that the defense scores after returning the ball for a touchdown. Nevertheless, a few other significant characteristics of this move contribute to the fact that it is an exciting moment in the game.

After a defensive team member recovers the ball, there is often a momentous shift on the squad as the defensive line members begin to block the offensive team members to make room for the player who has the ball. In the meanwhile, the opposing team is tasked with the responsibility of intervening and putting a halt to the run.

After a Pick Six, the team that scored will kick the ball to the opposing team, allowing them a second opportunity at a scoring drive. It is because the defensive team in the previous play was the side that scored.

Players In NFL History With the Most Pick-Sixes

  • Rod Woodson, a defensive back, has a career total of 12 pick-sixes, making him the current record holder for most pick-sixes. Both Darren Sharper and Charles Woodson have a score of 11, which ties them to second place.
  • Ed Reed, a cornerback, and safety for the Baltimore Ravens has the two longest interceptions for touchdowns in the history of the National Football League, with distances of 108 and 106 yards, respectively. It means he picked off the ball deep in his end zone and then ran it back.
  • Aaron Rodgers, who plays for the Green Bay Packers, has only thrown one interception that was returned for a touchdown. It puts him to record books as having the lowest percentage of interceptions returned for a touchdown per passing attempt. Brett Favre has the record for pick-sixes ever thrown with 35.

Here are the top ten known players with the most pick sixes:

  1. Rod Woodson – 12
  2. Darren Sharper – 11
  3. Charles Woodson – 11
  4. Aqib Talib – 10
  5. Ken Houston – 9
  6. Deion Sanders – 9
  7. Aeneas Williams – 9
  8. Eric Allen – 8
  9. Ronde Barber – 8
  10. Charles Tillman – 8

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Who has thrown the most pick-sixes in the history of the game?
As of 2021, Brett Favre holds the record for having thrown the most interceptions that resulted in touchdowns, having done so 31 times throughout his 20 seasons playing professional football.

Q2. Who Has Scored The Most Pick Sixes All Time?
Rod Woodson is the player that holds the record for the most pick-sixes in the history of the game. Between the years 1987 and 2003, Woodson recovered 12 interceptions for touchdowns.

Q3. How Many Points Is A Pick Six Worth?
The passing of football is becoming increasingly common among teams. However, there is a possibility that tossing the football might lead to both positive and negative outcomes. A pick 6 happens when the defensive team not only intercepts the ball, also known as a pick but also scores a touchdown on the same play, resulting in a total of six points for the defensive team.

Q4. How do you score a pick 6 in football?
In the sport of football, a pick 6 happens when the defensive team not only intercepts the ball, which is also known as a pick but also scores a touchdown on the same play, resulting in a total of six points being scored by the defensive side.

When an interception is returned for a touchdown, it is referred to as a “pick six” worth six points. It is because a touchdown also counts for six points. When a team intercepts the ball and then scores a touchdown, they have the same option to kick an extra point as any other team that gets a touchdown.


A pick-six is a defensive player who intercepts the ball and scores a touchdown. Pick sixes to shift the momentum in the defense’s favor and enable them to score points without the assistance of the offense. Regarding pick-six, defensive backs and linebackers are the most common positions on defense. Interceptions for touchdowns may be made by defensive linemen, although defensive.

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