Football Positions

Football Positions Guide | Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams

It would not be an understatement to say that Football holds the uncontested title for the most followed sporting event in America. When it comes to the popularity of Football,it is massive, you will find people supporting their favorite team and player to the extreme and this is what it takes to make sports special. 

The sport of Football is all about positions. The positioning of the eleven men in the field will impact the outcome of the game. Positioning is very vital in Football.

Earlier there was a time when players used to play in both the roles, offensive and defensive, that was the time of generalists. That time is long gone. The present age of Football is all about specialists. Nobody expects a player to perform varied roles in a team, he just needs to perform the role assigned to him with absolute perfection. In a nutshell, be the best at whatever position you play. 

Once a team has the most suited player in the appropriate position on the field, they can expect the best out of a team as a cohesive unit. 

In this article, we will make you aware of every detailing of the football positions and what they do. 

Table of content.

  • Bifurcation of playing positions.
  • Offensive Football positions.
    • The Quarterback 
    • Running Backs 
    • Wide Receivers
    • Tight End 
    • Left Guard and Right Guard
  • Defensive Football positions. 
    • Defensive Tackle 
    • Defensive End
    • Linebacker
    • Cornerback
    • Nickelback
  • FAQs related to Football positions.
    • Is there any fixed number of substitutions available per game?
    • Is it mandatory to abide by their predefined position?
    • Quarterback is the most important player?

Football Positions

Bifurcation of playing positions.

The rules of Football provide each team with unlimited options to substitute a player which has resulted in the development of three different genres of players in each team. The term used for each set of such players is ‘Platoons’. Firstly there is the offense team which is responsible for taking the attack to the opposition’s half, they are the ones with the ball, trying to score. 

Then we have the defense Platoon whose main objective is to tackle the opposition players and regain the possession. 

The last but not the least is the special teams which come into play when the situation of kicking arises. As now we are well versed with the categories of players as our roles in the team we can switch our attention to the specific positions in Football positions for dummies.

Offensive Football Positions:

It is more like a thumb rule that a team with a superior offensive line is likely to have an upper hand on the other team. As it is the offense that will ultimately bring you points and we all know the winner is decided by the superiority of points. 

Offensive Football Positions

Following are the offensive positions in the sport of football which when considered as a cohesive unit forms the offensive line.

  • The Quarterback: the quarterback is arguably the most vital player of the offensive platoon. As far as the positioning of the quarterback is concerned, the quarterback stands directly behind the center to be in a position to receive the snapped ball. There’s also a slightly different approach in which he stands several yards apart from the center which is known as a shotgun approach. He is the one responsible for the conduct of the offensive play, he passes the ball to his teammates and occasionally runs himself with the ball. 
  • Running Backs: Running backs stand just behind the quarterback and are the ones who will look to gain some yardage. They are often referred to as tailbacks, halfbacks, and rushers. They have to run with the ball in their possession. 
  • Wide receivers: usually there are 2 wide receivers in a team but there can be 4 of them depending on the team strategies. They are also called as the slot receivers, their objective is to escape the defense. They run close to the sideline and catch the long ball. Wide receivers are often referred to as the pass-catchers in football positions for dummies.
  • Tight end:  these players are expected to perform the duties of both, a catcher and a tackle initiator. They are generally strong build players who can take tough challenges. As far as the Football position of the tight back is concerned, he is placed to the left or right of the quarterback. They are more in the role of a floater most of the time.
  • Left guard and right guard: Football position of Left guard and the right guard is at the inner side of the offensive line. Their motive is to protect the quarterback and the ball carriers from the opposition defense. 
  • Left tackle and right tackle: the two players placed at the two extremes of the offensive line are where the left tackle and right tackle are placed in the Football position.

Defensive Football Positions: 

It’s more than obvious that the role of the defense is to protect the end zone from the offense team. For this, they have to use many strategies that require adequate skillset to obstruct the ball that is carried by the offense so that they can’t score. There are many subdivisions in the defense to mark the key positions each defensive player partakes.

Defensive Football Positions

The following individual positions constitute the defensive line in football.

  • Defensive Tackle (DT): They are mostly the biggest and strongest two players in the team. They have a pivotal role to keep their ground while solely preventing the offense from forming a backfield with the directions from the quarterback who is the signal-caller of the rival team. Such a case could result in a running play from the offense, therefore, the Defensive Tackle is a vital position in football and the best player must hold this position.
  • Defensive End (DE): These are the remaining two members of the defense members who have to take care of the offensive blocking in the backside from their side of the battlefield. Here they confront the signal-caller in a combined effort, thereby leading them back to the safe grounds away from the bounds of their defense or to the other tackle defenders. 
  • Linebacker: They are the third group in the defensive players who stations three to five yards behind the traverse line. These guys are considered the best tacklers of the team. They take a position immediately behind the defensive line players. The number of linebackers is dependent upon the formation. They have an added role to defend the pass along with the run of the offensive players.
  • Cornerback: They are spread on the wide areas of the ground which stands directly opposite to the offensive receiver players.
  • Nickelback: By removing the Linebacker sometimes the defense can make some extra changes known as Nickelback. This is the fifth defense formation on the ground. With this addition, the defensive team forms a dime. 
  • Safety: This one is the last line of defense, which has to hold the deepest of positions from the end zone, where deep pass and run has to be prevented. They are the utmost in secondary defense. They come into play when the offensive team of the opponent breaches the primary line of your defense.

Usually, there are two kinds of safeties which are strong safeties and free safeties.

Wait a minute in case you guys think that we are done with the Football positions for dummies let me tell you there’s a special team too that comes into play in the situation of kicking the ball. There is a mixed category of players in the special team, ranging from backup players, starters, and specialists too. 

It includes The Kicking Unit which further has a kicker that has the duty to score goals and also perform the function of kickoff and bag special points. This unit also consists of Holder / Long Snapper Kick Returner / Punt Returner, punter jammer, etc. 

 FAQs related to Football positions.

It is quite normal if you too have several questions in your mind, we have answered a few of the most common questions. 

  • Is there any fixed number of substitutions available per game?

This question always comes into mind especially when we are having differentiated teams for offense and defense. The answer is no, there are unlimited substitutions allowed during the run time of the match. A team can make the requisite substitution at their will. 

  • Is it mandatory to abide by their predefined position?

When we say that there are specified positions for each player that doesn’t specifically mean that such players has to exclusively play at that position.

In the way you can say that yes, the quarterback is the most influential player in the attack. But that doesn’t mean that other players are any less vital to the team. Each player has to contribute to the team to make it work as a cohesive unit. Quarterback is placed at the heart of the attack and guides the flow of play. 

We hope that after going through the article you must have gained some meaningful insights about the positions in the sport of football.

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