"Low man wins” is a popular saying in football. When offensive linemen play against defensive linemen, the lineman who goes low on the other lineman is the one who has the leverage. “The low man wins” was cited in 1933, when it was called an old slogan. “There is a saying in football line play, ‘The low man wins’” was cited in A Handy Football Library, Volume 2 (1949) by Louis R. Oshins.
“Low man wins” is also used in lacrosse.
The offensive man whose shoulders are not lower than the defensive man whom he blocks has not a chance. Last year we used an old slogan which helped somewhat. I had various men on the team, particularly leaders, to keep calling out the slogan during the scrimmages: “Remember, the low man wins.” I did not keep repeating it myself, but had the men on the team repeat it.
A Handy Football Library, Volume 2
By Louis R. Oshins
Garden City, NY: Blue Ribbon Books
There is a saying in football line play, “The low man wins.” lt is certainly more difficult to root a man out of his position if he stays close to Mother Earth. However, it must be remembered that it makes very little difference how low a man is in his stance if he has the tendency to stand up straight the moment the ball is passed. There are many advantages to the low stance.
8 December 1953, The Oregonian (Portland, OR), “Greg’s Gossip,” sec. 2, pg. 2, col. 2:
In blocking the low man wins.
New York (NY) Times
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: ORANGE BOWL; Miami-Nebraska a Battle of Big Lines
By MALCOLM MORAN,
Published: December 29, 1994
MIAMI, Dec. 28— They met three weeks ago in Orlando, when the status of Nebraska’s Zach Wiegert and Rob Zatechka and Miami’s Warren Sapp as the most honored college linemen in the nation was confirmed. They were in Disney World, somewhere in that strange place between the football season and an Orange Bowl meeting. They were this far removed from the reality of their public lives: They were linemen in suits and ties.
Sapp’s thinking is that Miami’s aggressiveness and togetherness will overcome any Nebraska advantages. “It’s not the size of the dog, it’s the bite,” he said. “That’s always the way it is. It’s a game of leverage. I’m a short fellow.”
Sapp smiled. The line next to his name on the Miami roster says 6 feet 3 inches and 280 pounds. “I’ll get underneath them,” he said. “Low man wins. That’s the way they always taught me. Low man wins. This is no ordinary team. This is no ordinary defense. We’re coming to play ball. They better strap it up real tight. We’re coming.”
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“He’s strong and he’s a defensive-minded guy,” said teammate Charlie Ward, who won the Heisman Trophy and a national championship in 1993 as quarterback at Florida State. “He plays low, that’s something that gives him an advantage. In football they always said the low man wins.”
By low, Ward meant that Johnson’s strength is centered lower to the ground than that of most big men. That allows Johnson to maintain his ground and force an opponent farther away from the basket than he would typically like.
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NFL/NCAA: What are the advantages for a defesive lineman to be in the 3-point stance?
Being low gives 2 advantages: speed and leverage.
Sprinters typically take a starting stance with a hand on the ground for the speed advantage, so you can see it’s not limited to football.
The leverage advantage is easier experienced than explained. It applies in various contact sports: wrestling, rugby, North American football. There is an advantage in being able to extend at the knees & hips when
pushing against an opponent, so it’s best if you can start out flexed at those joints. You could simply squat, but then you’d have no forward push when extending at those joints. So consider a crouch to be a squat leaning forward. But then you need one or both hands on the ground to keep from falling over.
It is frequently said that when opponents meet, low man wins. In forming a scrummage in rugby, our captain used to advise, “Fuck the ground.” But in that case you get to lean against someone in front of you, while in American football the linemen are not allowed to meet at the shoulders in the neutral zone before the ball’s in play, so they have to put a hand down.
@mrgunn Congratulations! Remember, defenses are like the line of scrimmage: stay on your feet; low man wins. Are you at UCSD?
4:35 PM - 17 Jul 2009
Low man wins. A simple way to say, I am going to hit you below your center of gravity (CG). CG is around the belly button. #SuperBowl
6:32 PM - 2 Feb 2014
Football is a game of leverage “Low man wins.” #football #createleverage #fitfam #strength https://instagram.com/p/4uZe0FRN3L/
1:52 PM - 4 Jul 2015
@markschlereth One of the 1st things I was taught. Stay low for leverage. Low man wins
9:03 PM - 26 Jul 2015
SunSentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Transcript: Joe Philbin jokes about kickers—‘That’s a heck of a gig’
AUGUST 1, 2015, 8:22 AM
Head Coach Joe Philbin Press Conference
(On putting on full pads tomorrow for the first time and things he’ll look for now) – “Leverage, number one. The old adage that you’re Pop Warner coach told you in football is still true – that the low man wins. So we’re going to talk about leverage. We’ll talk about keeping your shoulder square, your pads flat. In football, you’re always, as an offensive linemen in the running game, you’re striving to keep your shoulders square so the back can get to his aiming point and there’s no color showing. As a defensive linemen, you’re obviously doing the opposite. We’ve really emphasized keeping your hands and your elbows inside the framework, both sides of the ball. But really pad level, shoulders square, hands and elbows in.”