A slot is a narrow opening, such as one in a machine or container, through which something can be inserted. A car seat belt, for example, slots easily into the buckle of a seat. A slot may also refer to a place in a schedule or program, such as a reservation made for an event a week or more in advance.
A football team isn’t complete without a slot receiver, who lines up a few yards behind the line of scrimmage and runs routes to the outside or inside, deep, or short. They typically are smaller and faster than traditional wide receivers and require top-notch route-running skills. They also must have great awareness of the defense to help their quarterbacks read the game.
Slot receivers have become even more important as more teams shift to 3-1 receiver/back combinations. In the past decade or so, they’ve been targeted on nearly 40 percent of passing attempts, with some of the most prolific offenses in the NFL featuring a lot of them.
The classic mechanical slot machine design has a complicated configuration of gears and levers, with a metal shaft that supports the reels. When you pull the handle, it spins the reels and stops them at a certain point, where pictures line up with a pay line (or certain single images). If they match up, you get credits based on the payout table. Most modern games no longer have physical reels, and instead use a computer system to generate combinations of symbols.