HomeMore Sports

Football

American Football101ArticlesBowl GamesCoachingCollege FootballDefensive AlignmentsDrillsEquipmentFlag FootballHistoryHow ToKick TypesLeaguesLingoNFL FootballNFL TeamsOffensive FormationsOfficialsPass TypesPenaltiesPlayersPlaysPositionsQuestionsCan A Girl Play Football?Can Quarterbacks Run With The Ball?Does A Touchdown Count As A First Down In Football?Football QuestionsHow Are Field Goals Measured In Football?How Long Does An American Football Game Last?How Long Is An NFL Football Field?How Many Chances Does The Offense Get To Reach A First Down In Football?How Many Downs Are There In Football?How Many Players Are There In An American Football Team?How Many Points Is A Blocked Field Goal Return In Football?How Many Points Is A Field Goal Worth In Football?How Many Points Is A Kick In Football?How Many Points Is A Safety Worth In Football?How Many Points Is A Touchdown Worth In Football?How Many Quarterbacks Are On A Football Team?How Many Steps Are In A Field Goal In Football?How Many Yards Are In A First Down In Football?How Many Yards Is The End Zone In Football?How Many Yards Wide Is A Football Field?Is The Quarterback The Captain Of The Team In Football?What Are Skilled Positions In Football?What Are Some Of The Lesser Known Rules Of Football?What Are The Dimensions Of An American Football Field?What Are The Most Common Penalties In NFL Football?What Are The Positions On A Football Team?What Are The Various Defensive Positions In American Football?What Counts As A Tackle In Football?What Does A Cornerback Do In Football?What Does A Field Goal Mean In Football?What Does A Guard Do In Football?What Does A Linebacker Do In Football?What Does A Tight End Do In Football?What Does A Wide Receiver Do In Football?What Does Punt Mean In A Football Game?What Happens After A Touchdown In Football?What Happens If A Wide Receiver Misses The Catch In Football?What Is A Touchdown In Football?What Is An Incomplete Pass Versus A Complete Pass In Football?What Is Justin Tucker's Longest Field Goal?What Is The Blue Line In Football?What Is The Easiest And Hardest Position To Play In Football?What Is The Longest Field Goal Kicked In College Football?What Is The Longest Field Goal Kicked In High School Football?What Is The Most Obscure Rule In Ncaa College Football?What Is The Yellow Line In Football?What It Means To Be A Quarterback In Football?What Makes A Good Wide Receiver In Football?What Position Hikes The Ball In Football?When A Defensive Player Catches A Pass In Football?When Is An Onside Kick No Longer Recoverable By The Kicking Team In Football?When Was The First Touchdown Scored In NFL Football?Where Is Football Most Popular?Who Catches The Ball In Football?Who Created Football In America?Who Is The Best QB In The NFL Football?Who Is The Best Running Back In NFL Football?Who Is The Best Team In American Football?Who Is The First NFL Quarterback To Win 5 Super Bowl Rings In Football?Who Kicks The Ball In Football?Who Protects The Quarterback In Football?Who Was The Heaviest NFL Football Player Ever?RulesScrimmage DownsSkillsStatisticsStrategyTeam StaffThe FieldTrophies
  1. Home
  2. American Football
  3. What Are The Positions On A Football Team?

What Are The Positions On A Football Team?

A football team has three main units of players categorized into:

We will explore all of the player positions in each of these units.


The Offense

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

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

football offense

The Offensive Line

There are five players in a typical offensive line. Located on the line of scrimmage, the offensive line has a role on the field is to counter the opposing team's defensive line, to protect the quarterback, and to get the ball-carrier through openings called gaps in the defense.

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 Backs

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 himself for a quarterback-sneak.
  • Running Backs: Serve as receivers, meaning they can catch passes, can provide extra block protection, or can 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

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

football defense

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 is to counter the opposing team's offensive line and to prevent the ball-carrier from breaking through. They also have a job of tackling the quarterback for a sack.

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, he will try and force turnovers and tackle the quarterback for a sack.
  • Free Safety: Positioned on the weak 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.
  • 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

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:

football special teams

Learn More

If you want to learn more about the positions of the offense, defense, or special teams, check out the following tutorials:

  • Offensive Positions
  • Defensive Positions
  • Football Offense
  • Football Offensive Line
  • Football Quarterback
  • Football Running Back
  • Football Receivers
  • Football Defense
  • Football Defensive Line
  • Football Secondary
  • Football Linebacker
  • Football Special Teams
  • Football Kicker
  • Football Returner
  • Football Snapper
  • Football Blocker
  • Football Gunner