What Is The Easiest And Hardest Position To Play In Football?

football positions

Football features a wide variety of different positions, with each requiring a different variety of skills in order to succeed. Read on to learn about the easiest and most difficult positions to play in football.

What is the Easiest Position in Football?

There is no easy position in football. Every position in football requires skills that allow them to accomplish a task on the field. Easiest can also be defined in a number of ways. It could be the least physically demanding, the least important position, or the easiest mentally. We’re going to combine a little bit of each to determine what are, in fact, the easiest positions. Some of the easiest positions in football include:

Punter

football punter

Punters only play a few snaps each game when their team fails to achieve a first down and decides to punt the ball away to the opposing team. Due to this very limited role, their job is not physically demanding as they rarely experience any contact at all. Additionally, they are protected by roughing the kicker rules and are very rarely tackled. This helps reduce the overall injury risk for a punter in any given game. A punter’s impact on the game is minimal, and they come in during low-pressure situations that typically won’t cause their team’s success or failure.

Defensive Tackle

football defensive tackle

Defensive tackle, while valuable to any dominant defense, is not a particularly difficult position to play in football. These players often possess a hulking frame and are tasked with stuffing run plays over the middle of the field. Seeing as their job is mainly to reside in front of the middle of the offensive line and tackle any runners that come their way, this position does not require the game IQ, speed, or reaction time that make other positions so difficult to master.

Fullback

Football Fullbacks

A fullback’s job on the field is quite simple, with their main responsibility being to run to the line of scrimmage and block for the running back. It isn’t as easy a punter’s job, as playing fullback is very physically demanding, but in terms of importance, many teams don’t even use a fullback in modern football. This is in large part due to the increase in passing plays over the last couple of decades.

What is the Hardest Position in Football?

The hardest position is usually not up for debate, as it is widely considered to be the quarterback. That being said, there are a few different positions that can prove to be extremely difficult in their own different ways, namely:

Quarterback

The quarterback has the ball in their hands for the majority of the game, meaning they have an extremely high impact on the outcome of a game. They are in charge of play-calling, and they must constantly read the defense correctly. This requires ample mental preparation, a high game IQ, and the ability to make decisions on the fly. In total, quarterbacks must also be able to launch the ball downfield, move swiftly to avoid oncoming defensive linemen, and read an opposing defense after the ball is snapped to avoid throwing interceptions. In the NFL, quarterbacks often have less than ten seconds to get the ball snapped to them, identify their target, and throw the ball downfield into a seemingly microscopic window. The difficulty of this position is a large part of why quarterbacks are drafted so high and paid so much. 

Cornerback

football cornerbacks

The cornerback is also an extremely difficult position to play due to the otherworldly athleticism required to cover opposing wide receivers and the equal need for both speed and tackling ability to be successful at the professional level. In order for cornerbacks to keep up with wide receivers, often the fastest players on a team, while they run routes and make sharp cuts down the field, cornerbacks need spectacular reaction time and endurance so as not to get “burned” by a wide receiver going long. They also must be able to anticipate where their assignment is going without guessing. All the while, they must adhere to the sport’s increasingly strict rules regarding pass interference in order to avoid giving the opposing offense free yards.

Kicker

football place kicker

The kicker gets a mention on this list just because of the mental challenges of the position. While kickers do not play a majority of the game, the times they are called upon are high-pressure situations. Imagine standing on the sideline for most of the game, then being called upon to hit a long field goal (no easy task) with the fate of your team completely in your hands. The situation is too daunting for many, and missed field goals can haunt kickers for the rest of their careers, showcasing just how mentally stressful and demanding the position is. This is also why some kickers, most notoriously Blair Walsh in recent history, end up with the “yips” after a big missed kick due to the decimation of their confidence. On top of that, there is always the concern that a few bad games might lead to a kicker being replaced, as each team usually only carries one kicker.

FAQ

What is the smartest position in football?

While a player’s intelligence certainly isn’t solely identifiable by the position they play, the quarterback is widely considered to be the most consistently intelligent position on the gridiron. Game IQ is essential for quarterbacks, as they must have a keen understanding of both their own offense and the nature of opposing defenses, allowing them to run the offense in response to how the opposing team lines up defensively. More so than any other positional, scouts may rely on the wonderlic test, a cognitive ability test, to determine a future quarterback’s ability to handle the mental task of the position.

What is the safest position in football?

The safest positions in football are undoubtedly the kicker and punter. Each of these positions is protected by extensive rules regarding opposing players tackling, or even making contact, with them. This means you will almost never see kickers or punters take big hits, and when they do, it is because the opposition performed a highly illegal act. These two positions are also almost never put into positions where they need to make a tackle, so they also avoid any real chance of injury in that regard.

What is the most dangerous position in football?

The most dangerous position in football is widely considered to be the running back. These players are constantly being tackled by defensive players that are bigger than they are, which leads their professional careers to be remarkably short. In fact, the average career of an NFL running back lasts less than three years!