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What Position Hikes the Ball in Football?

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Who Hikes the Ball to the Quarterback?

When snapping the ball to the quarterback, the player who snaps the ball is called the 'center'. The center plays in the middle of the offensive line and is tasked with making and calling out reads to the quarterback, usually relating to linebackers and the defensive line. If the ball is being snapped to a holder for a field goal or a punter for a punt, the player snapping the ball is called the 'long snapper'. Centers and long snappers must be very accurate when snapping the ball or risk a fumble on a bad snap. After the snap, the play begins and the center must block with the offensive line to protect the quarterback and running backs.


The Center

An offensive lineman called the center hikes the ball on most plays. He must be ready to block right after snapping.


Long Snapper

The long snapper is in charge of hiking the ball on field goals or punts. He must be able to hike the ball further than normal.


What is a hike and how does he do it?

A hike, also known as a snap, is the term for putting the ball into play at the start of a scrimmage down by the offensive center. The offensive center will hike, or snap, the ball to the quarterback signifying the start of play by throwing the ball through his legs. He is not allowed to hike it to either side of him. The quarterback lets the center know when to snap the football by saying a certain word or slapping his hands together.


Does the center always hike the ball?

Sometimes if the play is difficult, a defensive linemen will hike the ball. However, for field goals and punts, a member of the special teams unit, the long snapper, will hike the ball.


What are Some Penalties That can Happen on the Hike?

The following are penalties that can happen on the hike that may result in an automatic first down, loss of yards, or a repeat of the scrimmage down.


Learn More

If you want to learn more about hikes, scrimmage downs, and the center in football, check out the following resources:



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