Nowhere is the action more fierce than in that combat zone outside the tackles where running backs, pulling guards, linebackers and defensive backs collide at top speed. Here, with a well-timed shot to the cheekbone, New York Jet Cornerback Jerry Holmes stops Miami Dolphin Fullback Andra Franklin from turning upfield.
Green Bay Linebacker Mike Douglass (53) demonstrates the speed that has made him an All-Pro, coming from one corner of the line to the other side and helping Safety Johnnie Gray (24) hogtie Atlanta's Gerald Riggs.
On running plays, the strong safety must "make the force," move up to the corner and get the ballcarrier to commit himself. Here San Diego's Bruce Laird (30) gives a textbook example, charging into the Raiders' backfield to take the outside move away from Marcus Allen. Forced inside, Allen runs into Louie Kelcher (74) and goes nowhere.
Trying the corner route near the Raider goal line, Charger blockers form a moving wall to escort Chuck Muncie (46) into the end zone for a touchdown. Tackle Drew Gissinger (75) handles Linebacker Ted Hendricks (83), while Fullback John Cappelletti (25) obstructs Safety Burgess Owens (44), giving Muncie clear passage.
True, New England All-Pro Cornerback Mike Haynes (40), a 195-pounder, was wiped out here by Buffalo's Reggie McKenzie (67), who goes 242. But Haynes got points from his coaches because he did his job by closing off the outside to ballcarrier Joe Cribbs (20) and forcing him to the inside, where he'd meet several Patriot tacklers.
To McKenzie, the name of the game he plays at the corner is simple: Down and Dirty.