A slot is a time slot assigned to an aircraft by air traffic control for the purpose of departure. Slots are usually defined by the calculated take-off time (CTOT). Typically, the CTOT is set within a window of -5/-10 minutes of the aircraft’s scheduled departure time. The slot is usually allocated as a result of congestion in the European airspace, lack of staff/air traffic controllers or weather conditions. It’s worth noting that the use of slots has saved airlines a significant amount in terms of delays and fuel burn.
In football, a slot receiver is the second wide receiver on the team’s outside, behind the first wide receiver but slightly closer to the line of scrimmage than the offensive tackles. The position was developed by Sid Gillman in the 1960s, and later refined by Al Davis, who implemented the concept while coaching the Oakland Raiders in 1963. Davis was a disciple of Gillman’s techniques and used the formation to great effect, winning a Super Bowl in 1977.
The slot receiver is a key cog in the blocking wheel for the offense and needs to be able to effectively position himself to prevent defenders from reaching ball carriers. Often, they’ll need to block (or at least chip) nickelbacks, safety defenses and sometimes even linebackers on running plays designed to the outside. In this way, they need to be able to read the defensive alignments and make adjustments accordingly.
Slot receivers also need to be able to run routes and have good chemistry with the quarterback. They need to be precise with their timing and have excellent awareness of the field, so that they can anticipate where defenders are going to be and when the quarterback will throw the ball to them.
In addition to all of this, the slot receiver must be a good runner, as they’ll need to carry the ball on some running plays such as pitch plays and end-arounds. They’ll need to be able to quickly get their head down and run past defenders without getting hit, or they’ll risk being a target for the defense’s best tacklers. The quarterback will often call in a pre-snap motion to the Slot receiver before handing him the ball or pitching it to him, which will give them a head of steam as they approach the line of scrimmage. This helps them avoid the tacklers and stay in the open field.