What Are The Positions On A Football Team?

football Positions

A football team has three main units of players categorized into offense, defense, and special teams. Below, we will explore all of the player positions in each of these units.

The Offense

football offense

The offense is brought onto the field whenever a team has possession of the ball and is trying to score points in the opposing team's end zone.

The offense can be broken down into two groups of players:

The Offensive Line

There are five players in a typical offensive line. Located on the line of scrimmage, the offensive line has the role of countering the opposing team's defensive line, protecting the quarterback, and getting the ball carrier through openings, called “gaps,” in the defense. The offensive line consists of the following players:

The main role of the offensive line is to serve as a blocking group. However, the center will always start each scrimmage down with a snap to the quarterback.

The Offensive Backfield

The backs are a group of players located in the offensive backfield:

  • Quarterback: Gets the ball from a snap from the center at the start of each scrimmage down and can pass the ball to a receiver, hand the ball to a running back, or run with it themself for a quarterback sneak.
  • Running Backs: Serve as receivers, meaning they can catch passes, provide extra block protection, or run with the ball on the field.
  • Tight Ends: Can be a receiver and catch passes or provide extra protection depending on the play design.
  • Wide Receivers: Receivers that run routes on the field and catch passes thrown by the quarterback.

The Defense

football defense

The defense comes onto the field when a team is trying to prevent the opposing team from scoring points. There are several defensive schemes and strategies, but regardless of that, the defense can be broken down into two groups of players:

The Defensive Line

There are five players in a typical defensive line. Located on the line of scrimmage, the defensive line has a role on the field to counter the opposing team's offensive line and to prevent the ball carrier from breaking through. They also have the job of tackling the quarterback for a sack. The players on the defensive line are:

The Secondary

The secondary is a group of players located in the defensive backfield. They usually consist of the following positions:

  • Linebackers: Depending on the play, they will try to force turnovers and tackle the quarterback for a sack.
  • Free Safety: Positioned on the weak side of the field, they act as a last line of defense against passes thrown by the quarterback or ball carriers who break through the defensive line.
  • Strong Safety: Positioned on the strong side of the field, he acts as a last line of defense from passes thrown by the quarterback or ball-carriers who break through the defensive line.
  • Cornerbacks: Positioned on the line of scrimmage, these players counter the opposing team's offensive wide receivers and try to intercept passes thrown by the quarterback called an interception.

The Special Teams

football Special Teams

The special teams will come onto the field whenever a kick or a return is being performed.

The special teams can be divided into the following types of players:

  • Kickers: In charge of kicking the ball on kickoffs, punts, and field goals. There are different types of kickers, such as placekickers and dropkickers (punters).
  • Returners: In charge of returning the ball on kickoffs and punts.
  • Snappers: Will snap the ball to the kicker or to a holder at the start of any kick.
  • Blockers: Responsible for protecting the kicker and returner during kicks and returns.
  • Gunners: Run along the sides of the field to tackle kick returners.
  • Jammers: Counter the kicking team’s gunners and try to prevent them from getting a free release.
  • Personal Protector: The last line of protection for the punter, positioned in between the offensive line and punter.