Welcome back to our series on learning football! Now that you have a basic understanding of the game, we continue our exploration by diving deeper into the types of players on a football team. By learning about key players of the game, you’ll be able to take your understanding of football to the next level.
In football, there is the offense, the defense and special teams. The offense gets possession of the ball and is trying to reach the end zone to score. The defense is trying to prevent the other team from scoring, and to take the ball from them. The special teams play in all kicking situations. Within these three separate divisions, various positions exist depending on the jobs that the players are doing.
Every football team has a defensive line and an offensive line. Every line consists of 11 players, so 11 players from each team are on the field at a time. Each player is assigned a “position” which has a unique set of responsibilities that contribute to the success of the team. In this post, we will focus on the offense. The following positions are standard in nearly every game, though teams will use different arrangements depending on their game plans.
Offensive line: The offensive line consists of a center who snaps the ball to the quarterback, two guards, and two tackles. Their primary job is to block opponents and protect their quarterback.
Quarterback: The quarterback is the leader of the team on the field. They are responsible for calling plays in the huddle before each play. They receive the ball from the center at the start of each play and then either hand it off to a running back or throw it downfield to a receiver.
Running back: Running backs are responsible for running with the ball and catching passes. They line up behind or beside the quarterback in what is called the backfield.
Wide receiver: Wide receivers are responsible for catching passes from the quarterback. They line up on either side of the offensive line.
Tight end: Tight ends are similar to wide receivers but are bigger and stronger. They line up next to an offensive tackle and can be used as blockers or receivers.
The organization of the offense is determined by the rules of football: there must be at least seven players on the line of scrimmage and no more than four players (known collectively as “backs”) behind it. The only players eligible to handle the ball during a normal play are the backs and the two players on the end of the line (the “ends”). These players are referred to as “eligible receivers” or “eligible ball carriers”. The remaining players (known as “interior linemen”) are “ineligible” to catch forward passes.
At the beginning of each play, the teams line up on opposite sides of the line of scrimmage. This is the spot where the ball is placed and represents an imaginary line that separates the offense from the defense. The play starts when the center snaps the ball to the quarterback. The quarterback can then hand off the ball for a running play to gain yards or throw it to a teammate to catch it and run downfield to the end zone.
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