Slot is a term used in computer networking to describe a reserved and assigned piece of network capacity. When a computer is assigned a slot, it can access data from any other connected devices that share that slot. Slots are used in many different types of systems and are essential to ensuring that the system is able to function properly.
When you check into an airplane, get to your gate, and start to wait for boarding, one of the first things the pilot will tell you is that they’re waiting on a “slot.” So what exactly is a slot? And why can’t the plane take off right away?
The slot receiver is a growing and important position in today’s game, as offenses across the NFL are relying on three-receiver sets more often. While the term is simple enough, there are some key differences between a Slot receiver and other wideouts that make them unique in their role on the team.
A Slot receiver lines up pre-snap in the middle of the field, positioned between the last man on the line of scrimmage (typically the tight end or offensive tackle) and the outside receiver. This positioning gives them the ability to run a variety of routes, as well as act as a decoy on running plays that head out to the outside.
Because of this, a Slot receiver needs to be extra speedy and have top-notch route-running skills. They also need to be able to block — both in pass protection and on running plays where they aren’t the ball carrier.
On passing plays, a Slot receiver will typically need to master all of the basic routes, plus some more complicated ones. Especially since they’re usually a little shorter and smaller than outside wide receivers, they need to have great hands and be precise with their cuts.
In addition to their passing responsibilities, Slot receivers can also act as big decoys on some running plays, such as pitch plays, reverses, and end-arounds. In these instances, the Slot receiver will need to be in a good pre-snap motion so that the quarterback can get the ball to them quickly while they’re making their way into open space in the backfield.
In the old days, slot machines had a physical lever or button that you pushed to activate the reels and see which symbols lined up. Nowadays, slot machines are so hi-tech that they need multiple screens full of information and explainers to help players understand what’s happening. These screens often show an example of each symbol, together with a payout table that shows how much you’ll win if you land three or more of them. Generally, the pay table will also highlight any special or bonus symbols. These may be Scatter or Wild symbols, together with instructions for how they work. In some cases, they’ll even display the probability of hitting a particular symbol on each spin.