The Packers sweep, also known as the Lombardi sweep, is an American footballplay popularized by Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi. The Packers sweep is based on the sweep, a football play that involves a back taking a handoff and running parallel to the line of scrimmage before turning upfield behind lead blockers. The play became noteworthy due to its extensive use by the Packers in the 1960s, when the team won five National Football League (NFL) Championships, as well as the first two Super Bowls. Lombardi used the play as the foundation on which the rest of the team's offensive game plan was built. The dominance of the play, as well as the sustained success of Lombardi's teams in the 1960s, solidified the Packers sweep's reputation as one of the most famous football plays in history.
The Packers sweep is a variation on the sweep, which is a basic running play in American football. A sweep play involves a back, typically the halfback or running back, taking a pitch or handoff from the quarterback and running parallel to the line of scrimmage. This allows the offensive linemen (usually the guards) and the fullback to block defenders before the runner turns upfield. The sweep can be run out of multiple formations and go either left or right of the center. It is characterized as power football and usually gives the runner the choice to follow the lead blockers inside or outside, depending on how the defense reacts. Various options and changes to the sweep have been implemented to create further deception. These include running option pass plays out of the same formation, changing which blockers pull from the line of scrimmage, and running the play towards different areas of the field.