In American Football, each team has eleven players on the field at one time and the specific role the player takes on the field is called their position.
Offensive (Interior) line
- Center: The center is the player who begins the play from scimmage by snapping the ball to a back: specifically, the quartback. As the name suggests, the center usually plays in the middle of the offensive line, though some teams may employ an unbalanced line where the center is offset to one side or another. Like all offensive linemen, the center has the responsibility to block defensive players. The center often also has the responsibility to call out blocking assignments and make last second adjustments depending on the defensive alignment.
- Offensive Guard: Two guards line up directly on either side of the center. Like all other interior linemen, their function is to block on both running and passing plays. On some plays, rather than blocking straight ahead, a guard will pull, whereby the guard comes out of his position in line to lead block for a ball carrier, on plays known as "traps" or "sweeps" or "screens". In such cases, the guard is referred to as a pulling guard. Guards are typically shorter builds than tackles but rather than centers.
- Offensive Tackle: Two tackles play outside the guards and their role is primarily to block on both running and passing plays. The area from one tackle to the other is an area of "close line play" in which blocks from behind, which are prohibited elsewhere on the field, are allowed. For a right-handed quarterback, the left tackle is charged with protecting the quarterback from being hit by behind and this is usually the most skilled player on the offensive line. Like a guard, the tackle may have to pull, on a running play, when there is a tight end on his side. Tackles are typically a taller, longer build than interior offensive linemen, due to the need to keep separation from defensive linemen is pass blocking situations as well, they tend to have quick footwork skills as they often engage against containing or rushing defensive ends.
Backs and Receivers
- Quarterback: The quarterback is the player who receives the ball from the center to start the play. The most important position on the offensive side, the quarterback is responsible for receiving the play from the coaches on the sideline and communicating the play to the other offensive players in the huddle. The quarterback may need to make changes to the play at the line of scrimmage, depending on the defensive alignment. At the start of the play, the quarterback may be lined up in one of three positions. If the quarterback is positioned directly in contact with the center, and receives the ball via direct hand-to-hand pass, he is said to be under center. If he is lined up some distance behind the center, he is said to be "in the shotgun", he can also be in between. This is called a "pistol" formation. Upon receiving the snap, the quarterback has three basic options to advance the ball. He may run the ball himself, he may hand it to another eligible ball carrier to run with it or he may execute a forward pass to a player downfield.
- Running Back: Running backs are players who line up behind the offensive line, who are in position to receive the ball from the quarterback and execute a rushing play.
- Wide Receiver:
- Tight End:
- Defensive Tackle:
- Defensive End:
- Middle Linebacker:
- Outside Linebacker:
- Nickleback and Dimeback:
- Long Snapper:
- Kickoff Specialist:
- Kick Returner and Punt Returner: