Football Positions List
List of Positions
Football positions are used to define the role of each player on the field at any given time. Positions indicate approximately where each player should be lined up prior to the start of a play. Due to the responsibilities associated with each spot, skill sets and physical attributes vary widely across positions.
The offense’s goal is to move the ball down the field by gaining yards and ultimately score a touchdown (worth six points) or field goal (worth three points). Each position within the offense is listed below:
- Quarterback (QB)
- Running Back (RB)
- Fullback (FB)
- Wide Receiver (WR)
- Tight End (TE)
- Center (C)
- Offensive Guards; Left Guard (LG), Right Guard (RG)
- Offensive Tackles; Left Tackle (LT), Right Tackle (RT)
The defense is in charge of preventing the offense from scoring, either by stopping the offense from gaining yards and forcing a punt or by forcing turnovers (interceptions and fumbles). Each position within the defense is listed below:
- Nose Tackle (NT)
- Defensive Tackle (DT)
- Defensive End (DE)
- Cornerback (CB)
- Linebackers (LB); Middle Linebacker (MLB), Outside Linebacker (OLB)
- Free Safety (FS)
- Strong Safety (SS)
The Special Teams
The special teams unit has a number of responsibilities. These include tacking on extra points following a touchdown (worth one point), scoring field goals (worth three points), and kicking the ball to the opposing team on kickoffs and punts. Each position within the special teams unit is listed below:
- Kicker (K)
- Punter (P)
- Long Snapper (LS)
- Holder (H)
- Kick Returner (KR)
- Punt Returner (PR)
Similar offensive and defensive positions are often grouped together to form a “unit.” Positions that fall within the same unit tend to work together during practice, with a coach that specializes in each particular grouping overseeing the players.
The three main defensive groupings are:
- Defensive line (NT, DT, and DE)
- Linebackers (MLB and OLB)
- Secondary (CB, FS, SS)
The four main offensive groupings are:
- The offensive line (LG, RG, LT, RT, C)
- Wide receivers and tight ends (WR and TE)
- Quarterbacks (QBs)
- Running backs and fullbacks (RB and FB)
Grouping similar positions into one category helps teams stay organized when preparing for a game and allows players to seamlessly transition into a slightly different position if needed.
Do football players only play one position?
Football players at lower levels of the sport may play multiple positions as necessary, especially if they have a small roster. Professional football players generally only play one position if they are a starting player, but may switch to cover other positions in unique circumstances. Further, many of the bench players on NFL teams take the field during kickoffs and punts for special teams. These players are tasked with helping keep the opposition from gaining yards on a kick return or providing blocking for their returner on kick returns.
What is the highest-paid position in football?
The highest-paid position in football is far and away the quarterback. In fact, the top 10 highest paid quarterbacks make more than any other player in the NFL. For example, Patrick Mahomes makes an average salary of $45 million per year after signing a massive contract extension with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2020. This means that he will be making just over $2.5 million per game for the next decade!
What position in football has the longest career?
Offensive linemen, on average, have the longest NFL careers out of all positional groups. The average career for an offensive lineman is three years and eight months. Keep in mind that this is an average, so naturally, there are some outliers. Positions such as kickers and quarterbacks are known for having long careers as well. However, this is extremely performance-based, and the average NFL career lasts under three years.