Slot Receivers and Their Roles in the NFL


A slot is an area or position in a piece of hardware, such as a computer, which is designed to accept another device, such as a card reader or hard drive. A slot can also refer to a specific type of connector on a motherboard, for example an ISA, PCI or AGP slots. The term ‘slot’ can also be used in a more metaphorical sense to describe a position or role: For example, one might say that someone has a good slot as a team leader, a manager or even as an employee.

The word slot is derived from the Latin word slatus, which means “opening” or “hole.” Historically, the term has been applied to an opening in the wing surface of an airplane, used in connection with a high-lift or control device; however, it can also be applied to any other structure that requires an air gap for proper operation.

Unlike the earliest mechanical devices, modern slot machines use microprocessors to determine the outcome of each spin. This technology allows them to assign a different probability to each symbol on every reel, so that it appears to the player that the machine is close to hitting a winning combination, when in fact, it has already made up its mind about the outcome of that particular spin.

In addition to the ability to run routes, slot receivers must also possess exceptional blocking skills. They are in a very vulnerable spot on the field and must be able to shield defenders from the ball carrier during running plays, such as sweeps and slants. Slot receivers must also be able to anticipate their defenders’ movements, so that they can make adjustments on the fly as the play develops.

In recent years, the professional game has come to rely heavily on slot receivers. These players are shorter and faster than traditional wide receivers, making them difficult for defenders to cover. As a result, they are targeted on nearly 40 percent of passing attempts in the NFL. In addition, many teams employ the use of multiple slot receiver/back combinations, which makes it even more challenging for defenses to contain them. This trend has led to some exciting offensive performances by teams, and has created a unique skill set for these players.