5 essential players needed for a team to do well in the NFL
Football is America’s favorite sport, many of us grow up with it and know the ins and outs of the game before we can walk. Some of us come to football a little later in life. The game can seem complicated and it can be hard to keep track of which player is doing what.
So, whether you want to understand football better or you’re looking for some advice for your fantasy football team – you’ve come to the right place. We have put together a guide to Football field positions.
Each team fields 11 players at a time. These players are split into 2 groups – 5 of the players are known as offensive linemen and the other 6 are considered defensive players.
The offensive players are focused on trying to score as many points as possible. While the defensive players’ goal is to prevent the other team from scoring at points.
While all the positions are important in their own way, there are 5 positions where the right player can make the difference between losers and champions.
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1 – The Quarterback
- Joe Montana
- Don Marino
- Tom Bradey
- Payton Manning
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first – the Quarterback (QB).
Quarterbacks are considered the lead offensive player and generally take the role of the signal-caller in the team. Most Quarterbacks chose to line up behind the other offensive players. Many people joke that the Quarterback is a member of the coaching staff.
A good Quarterback will be involved in 95% of his team’s offensive plays. They will be the one throwing and passing the play to you, the touchdown scoring player.
It’s hard to argue against the importance of having a good Quarterback. Most of the men named NFL MVP and Superbowl MVP are Quarterbacks.
2 – The Center
- Bulldog Turner
- Jim Otto
- Dwight Stephenson
- Bruce Matthews
The Center (C) is the innermost man in the offensive and defensive line. Unsurprisingly, they stand in the center of the line.
The main role of the Center is to pass the ball back to the Quarterback at the start of each offensive player – this is known as the snap. The Center will look at how the opposing team’s defense is arranged and call out to the Quarterback, who will then make the play call.
Some centers – most notably Jeff Saturday – are given equal calling power to the Quarterback. He made the calls on the play and was allowed to rearrange the offensive line, in the same way, is Quarterback Payton Manning did.
3 – The Linebacker
- Lawrence Taylor
- Jack Lambert
- Ray Lewis
- Dick Butkus
The Linebacker (LB) is one of the most important defensive players on the pitch. It is their job to stop the opposing team’s run or any passes they might be making.
Linebackers have to find the physical balance between being athletic enough to make passes and jump to defend them, but they also need to be big enough to stop any players from making a run.
Linebackers are the defensive play callers and the leaders of the defensive line. They have a similar amount of responsibility to the Quarterback. A good Linebacker takes the pressure off the offensive platoon and makes their job easier by keeping the other team’s score to a minimum.
Linebackers can often be seen leaping over the line and flicking the ball back into play to prevent a touchdown.
4 – The Wide Receiver
Famous Wide Receivers:
- Randy Moss
- Jerry Rice
- Don Hutson
- Art Monk
- Raymond Berry
Note – the wide receiver position was formerly known as the Split End. You may see other publications refer to it as that or SE.
The wide receiver (WR) – or wideout – is the player that is eligible to receive the ball during an offensive play. They get their name from the fact that they float out towards the edge of the pitch, far away from the offensive line.
They specialize in forward catches and the best wide receivers are fast. Ideally, your wide receiver would be the fastest person on the pitch.
Wide receivers will usually be protected by the Safeties as they try to find their way into open space. Once they do this, the Quarterback will pass them the ball. They will then attempt to make a touchdown. Jerry Rice is the all-time leading touchdown scorer in the NFL.
Only two wide receivers have ever won offensive player of the year (Jerry Rice and Micheal Thomas) and a wide receiver has never won an MVP award. This does not mean that they aren’t an important player, it more realistically points to the fact that their work often goes underappreciated.
5 – The Tight Ends
Famous Tight Ends:
- Dave Casper
- Ozzie Newsome
- Antonio Gates
- Tony Gonzales
The Tight End (TE) is one of the most versatile roles on the pitch and they are required to do a lot in each game.
They play on the far right side of the offensive line. They have two main roles in an offensive play. They will either try to break a hole in the defensive line to make space for another player to run through and score. Or they will be doubling as a defensive player who guards the Quarterback while they make their run.
Sometimes a formation will use up to 3 tight ends, sometimes a team will choose to use none at all.
How the tight end will play will entirely depend on the team. Some teams use their tight end as an extra receiver, while others simply use them as the sixth man in the line. There is a lot of variation in how head coaches use this position.
The best tight ends can adapt to their new roles and thrive no matter what their coach or Quarterback asks them to do.