The tight end in football is an offensive player position (TE) who is a receiver or blocker depending on the play. Tight ends line up either on the line of scrimmage or in the offensive backfield. The side of the field that the tight end lines up on is called the strong side of the field.
A tight end has two main jobs: blocking and receiving. The TE must block the quarterback if a cornerback or lineman is attempting to sack them. They also must block as an attempt to open up space for a running back to gain as many yards as possible. As a receiver, the tight end's goal is to gain as many yards as possible on a receiving play, typically by outrunning linebackers or by being too large for the safety to tackle. Some tight ends may also run the ball, but this is much less common.
The tight end is larger than a typical wide receiver so that they can adequately protect the quarterback on blocking plays. The TE is also faster than the other linemen so that they can complete receiving plays for a gain of yards. Many tight ends have a specialty in one of their two duties, but the most elite players excel in both areas. Because of how much is demanded of the player at this position, tight end is considered one of the most difficult positions to play.
The position of tight end has shifted into a new form over the years, now becoming a position with a much heavier focus on receiving. Since tight ends are much larger than typical wide receivers, they are harder to tackle and teams use this to their advantage. Modern TEs can make more than 80 catches per season now, while still blocking on runs.
Tight ends in both the NCAA and NFL wear jersey numbers between 80-89, similar to some wide receivers and some linebackers. In recent years, the NFL has also allowed TEs to wear numbers between 40-49, as well.