What Is A Pick 6 In Football? Everything You Need To Know

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American football is a magical world with a wide variety of terminology and gameplay. Sometimes you can see a defensive player cut through the pass and run at full speed to the opponent’s end of the field.

He’s trying to make a 6 pick. So, what is a pick 6 football? I will give you an overview of this term as well as share useful information related to it. 

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A running back is on his way to scoring a touchdown.

What Is A Pick 6 In Football? 

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

Immediately after the rotation, the defense will immediately transform into an offensive line. So the player who catches that interception has a chance to score a six-point touchdown.

Usually, cornerback or safety are the easiest positions to score pick sixes. The linebacker or even another member of the defense can play this way.

You will hardly be able to witness this gameplay while playing. However, they have the power to change the situation between the two teams.

Why Do They Call It A Pick 6? 

People who are just starting to learn about American football will have a hard time learning about the lingo and slang involved in daily practice and competition. The term “pick 6” is a similar example.

Pick, the first half of the term stands for interception. Some commentators when narrating the game will use this word like “picking off” or “throwing a pick.”

Six, the second half of the term, is the number of points a team can achieve when it can score a touchdown from an interception.

At that time, the defensive player will have to catch the ball and throw it back to the end zone of the opposing team.

Six points is also a bonus for a touchdown, no matter how it’s done. Players can kick, return, pass, fumble recovery, or rush.

To remember the term “pick six,” remember two basic playstyles, interception and touchdown. This vocabulary has two components related to the above plays.

Since most touchdowns end with seven points, many wonder why not call it “pick 7?” While this is not wrong, the value of a touchdown is only six points and a bonus point.

Usually, interceptions don’t come with extra points. Therefore, the touchdowns scored by returned interceptions are just called pick sixes.

How Does A Pick 6 Affect The Game? 

In football, pick 6 is one of those quick game changers. It gives the team a chance to regain control of the tempo and create momentum for the game, regardless of whether they win or lose.

Out of all the types of touchdowns, pick sixes are one of the most distinctive. It not only scores but also creates a strong psychological obsession for your opponent.

Six points is a big game changer. Besides, the attacking team will also be much more confused than in previous times. Quarterback is the position responsible for the counterattacks, and a pick 6 can worry him.

QB’s faltering, on the other hand, created an ever stronger advantage for the opponent’s defensive line-up. They will have the advantage in the dynamics of the game and exploit QB’s mistakes.

That reason also makes mental resilience after a bad play an indispensable skill of the quarterback.

Who Generally Gets A Pick Six? 

Both defensive and offensive players can get pick sixes. However, it is easier for defensive players to be awarded this ball.

While the defender will receive an “interception return touchdown,” the quarterback will be rewarded with a “pick 6.” These two terms have the same meaning and are only used to distinguish the scorer.

In defense, the two positions that are most easily picked to pick sixes are safeties and cornerbacks because they have to cover the person who gets the ball most often, the wide receivers.

During the 2019 NFL season, only a total of 36 interceptions took place. The safety and cornerback players took up 27 times. Seven interceptions were coming from linebackers and two from the defensive end.

In the same season, only three players were able to score more than one pick sixes. Surprisingly, Marcus Peters led the list with three interceptions.

When compared to the 2018 season, this player has an amazing number. No one can overcome two interceptions here despite 45 goals scored.

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Spectacular action tackle.

How To Increase The Chance Of Getting A Pick Six 

It can be said that picking sixes is one of the most difficult ways to play American football. A player needs to combine many factors to achieve this bonus.

Defensive Player

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

  • Defensive IQ: You need a high defensive intelligence. The quick judgment allows you to read positions on the field from which to make interceptions.
  • Vision: A good ball carrier needs a clear and long-range vision to slip into the opposing team’s formation without getting tackled. The ultimate goal is to bring the ball safely into the opponent’s end zone.
  • Blocking: Cooperate well with your teammates as soon as you block a pass. They will have the task of blocking the opponent so you can run faster and not get a penalty.
  • Speed: You will need a steady running speed and separate from the enemy’s attacking line.
  • Good hands: To be able to intercept and record touchdown properly, you need skill and a pair of flexible hands.
  • Break tackles: In case you encounter the opponent’s resistance, breaking the tackles will increase the success rate of bringing the ball to the end zone.

Offensive Player

If you’re playing as a quarterback, you need the following five factors to avoid losing a pick 6 to your opponent. Let’s take a closer look at them here:

  • Accuracy: You need to practice the ability to accurately pass the ball to the receiver. A clumsy pass can cost the game an interception and game changer.
  • Chemistry: Usually, an interception occurs only when the harmony between QB and receiver is not good. Regularly practice with your teammates to achieve a certain harmony in the gameplay.
  • Decision-making: QB is one of the key positions of the squad, so they need to be decisive. A reasonable choice will help the team’s play become sharper and more aggressive.
  • Speed: The QB needs to have the speed to catch up with the person who blocked the ball. Right now, you will act as a defender.
  • Tackling: Besides the speed and ability to run to catch up with the opponent, you also need the ability to handle the ball effectively. Otherwise, you can miss the ball at any time.

All-Time Pick 6 Leaders In The NFL 

Not every player can score many pick-sixes. In fact, this number is quite modest, and only a few individuals especially shine.

Rod Woodson, a cornerback and safety officer of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, and Oakland Raiders leads the list. This pick 6 leader has scored a total of 12 touchdowns in his career.

The only player still playing in the top ten in terms of returned interceptions is Jackrabbit Jenkins. The full list includes:

  • Rod Woodson – 12.
  • Darren Sharper – 11.
  • Charles Woodson – 11.
  • Aqib Talib – 10.
  • Ken Houston – 9.
  • Deion Sanders – 9.
  • Aeneas Williams – 9.
  • Eric Allen – 8.
  • Ronde Barber – 8.
  • Jackrabbit Jenkins – 8.
  • Charles Tillman – 8.

In 2008, Pittsburgh Steelers winger James Harrison set the record for the longest interception goal for a touchdown in the Super Bowl. He ran 100 yards to score the Steelers’ 17-7 win over the Arizona Cardinals in the first half.

Besides, some QBs tend to give up on pick-sixes more than others. In just the 2019 season, James Winston threw seven pick-sixes.

  • Brett Favre – 31.
  • Dan Marino – 29.
  • Joe Namath – 28.
  • Drew Brees – 27.
  • Peyton Manning – 27.
  • Phillip Rivers – 24.
  • Carson Palmer – 23.
  • Vinny Testaverde – 23.
  • Eli Manning – 22.
  • Nom Sneha – 22.

Although the QBs above have a pretty high percentage of sixes, most of them are successful and talented players. It proves to us the importance of being able to bounce back and recover from a bad play.

Difference Between An Interception And Pick Six 

Many people may misunderstand between pick six and interception. However, you need to clearly distinguish the two concepts to have an overview when watching the match.

Interception is the beginning of pick 6. No player can start a pick-six without intercepting the opponent’s pass.

However, the difference lies in picking 6 which is a combination of interception and touchdown. If either of these elements is missing, it won’t be a true six-pointer.

Defenders often look for interceptions because this is an opportunity to steal the ball back to their team. This action also disturbs the opponent’s attack line.

Then, they will need to run fast with the ball in hand to the end zone without fumbling or blocking the ball. If they do, they will complete a touchdown.

Not all interceptions lead to pick sixes. However, picking sixes must include interception.

What is a pick 6 in football

Frequently asked questions.


If you still have any questions regarding pick sixes, find the answers here.

How Many Points Is A Pick 6?

A pick-six is ​​worth six points because the intercept is returned to score a touchdown and a touchdown is worth six points. 

Besides, the team that scores the touchdowns also has the opportunity to score an extra point with a kick right after.

Do You Get An Extra Point After Pick Six?

You can earn an extra point after completing a pick-six by performing a kick in the opponent’s end zone.

Does Pick 6 Count Against Defense?

No. As of the 2017-19 season, attack points gained by fumble recoveries for TD or pick sixes will not affect your D/ST.

However, your D/ST score will still add the Special Team score, which is a refund of a punt for a TD against your D/ST.

What QB Has Never Thrown A Pick 6?

Mitch Trubisky is the QB who has never thrown a 6 pick. In 2022, there are 29 midfielders on the roster with a total of more than 1,500 attempts, but Mitch’s rate is 0%.

On average, QBs will have a 9.5% chance of seeing their passes convert to pick sixes. With Mitch alone, that doesn’t happen.

What Is The Most Pick Sixes In A Game?

The Seattle Seahawks were the team with the most interceptions in a game, scoring four touches against the Captain on November 4, 1984.


What is pick 6 football? A pick-six is ​​a football game in which the quarterback throws an interception and is bounced with a touchdown. Although this gameplay is quite rare, it has the potential to change the game drastically.

With difficult criteria, it is not easy for a defensive player who can perform many maneuvers to score a 6. This way of playing is the key to victory for the team.

Hopefully, this article by Scott Fujita has given you a good overview of pick 6. Follow our blog to find out more interesting information.

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