Slot – What Does it Mean to Be a Slot Receiver in the NFL?


When you think of a casino floor, images of rows and rows of slot machines may come to mind. While games like poker, blackjack and roulette have their die-hard fans, none are as popular as the slot. But what is a slot? And what makes a player the perfect fit for this position?

A slot is an opening in a machine or container, for example, the gap that you put coins into to make a machine work. It can also refer to a reserved time in a schedule or program. The car seat belt slotted into place easily. If you slot something, you put it into a place where it fits, for example, the coin into the machine or the CD into the player.

NFL players who play the slot position need to have a variety of skills. First and foremost, they must be fast – both in terms of their speed and agility. This is because they need to be able to run precise routes, which are often more complex than those of outside wide receivers. They must also be able to block, and this is particularly important on running plays in which they aren’t the ball carrier.

Lastly, they must be able to read the defense and understand what the defenders are doing, which requires good route-running skills as well as an advanced ability to anticipate the snap count and the direction of the play. Slot receivers must be able to communicate with the quarterback, which requires them to have a high football IQ.