Dick LeBeau on inventing the zone blitz

The zone blitz defense is a term that's now commonplace in today's NFL. But Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, who invented the scheme, remembers vividly when that wasn't the case.



LeBeau, who is part of the 2010 Hall of Fame class that will be inducted Saturday, recently explained how he came up with the defense that's led to so much of his coaching success.

"As far as the zone blitz evolution, necessity is the mother of invention. We had a hole in our defensive concept I think in the National Football League that all pressures were zero coverage. You put everybody at risk. It was a hit-or-miss situation, as was every snap from that standpoint. But when you blitz max it turns the roll of the dice a little higher. All I was looking for was a safer way to do that. Really there hadn't been that much experimentation going on in that area of keeping pressure on the ball and still playing some area [zone] defense behind it."

The AFC North blog will have more on LeBeau later this week as he enters the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.