National Football League team captains

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Oakland Raiders 2nd-year captain patch
Indianapolis Colts 3rd-year captain patch
Chicago Bears 5+-year captain patch

In the National Football League, the team captain designation is a team-appointed position that designates certain players as leaders on and off the field. The captains program was implemented by the NFL Player Advisory Council established by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in conjunction with the NFL Players Association. Starting in 2007, the league began permitting teams to name up to six players as captains.[1]

Players who have been named a team captain typically have a "C" patch on their jerseys. There is a standard design used by all teams participating in the captaincy program. The patches are in team colors and are worn on the front left or right breast (depending on other patches, etc. worn by the specific team). The number of stars filled in on the patch represents the number of consecutive years that player has been named captain by that team. If they've been named captain for longer than four years, the "C" on the patch is gold. Some teams (i.e. Baltimore and New England) do not have this patch on their jerseys but still designate captains. The New York Jets have not designated team captains since an incident involving Santonio Holmes in a 2011 game. In the 4th quarter of the final game of the 2011 season against the Miami Dolphins, Holmes appeared to get into an argument with Jets offensive tackle Wayne Hunter while the team was huddling. As a result of the argument, Holmes was benched for the remainder of the game, and the Jets ended up losing the game, which resulted in the Jets missing the postseason for the first time in 3 years. His leadership qualities and credibility as a captain have since been questioned.[2]

During special recognitions, the patch may be a different color; e.g., pink for breast cancer awareness;[3] or camouflage for military service recognition.

Because of the nature of the game, most teams include their starting quarterbacks as Offensive Captain.

Team Offensive Captain(s) Defensive Captain(s) Special Teams Captain(s)
Arizona Cardinals[4] Larry Fitzgerald, Carson Palmer Darnell Dockett, Patrick Peterson Lorenzo Alexander, Jay Feely
Atlanta Falcons[5] Appointed weekly Appointed weekly Appointed weekly
Baltimore Ravens[6] Appointed weekly Appointed weekly Appointed weekly
Buffalo Bills[7] Fred Jackson, Eric Wood Kyle Williams None
Carolina Panthers[8] Cam Newton, Ryan Kalil Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis None
Chicago Bears[9] Jay Cutler, Roberto Garza Julius Peppers, Lance Briggs Patrick Mannelly
Cincinnati Bengals[10] Kyle Cook, Andy Dalton Domata Peko, Leon Hall Cedric Peerman
Cleveland Browns[11] Joe Thomas D'Qwell Jackson Quentin Groves
Dallas Cowboys[12] Tony Romo, Jason Witten DeMarcus Ware, Sean Lee Dan Bailey
Denver Broncos[13] Peyton Manning, Ryan Clady Champ Bailey, Wesley Woodyard David Bruton
Detroit Lions[14] Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford Ndamukong Suh, Stephen Tulloch David Akers, John Wendling
Green Bay Packers[15][16] Appointed weekly Appointed weekly Appointed weekly
Houston Texans[17] Andre Johnson, Matt Schaub Brian Cushing, J.J. Watt Shane Lechler
Indianapolis Colts[18] Reggie Wayne, Andrew Luck Cory Redding, Robert Mathis Pat McAfee, Adam Vinateri
Jacksonville Jaguars[19] Brad Meester Paul Posluszny Josh Scobee
Kansas City Chiefs[20] Dwayne Bowe, Alex Smith Derrick Johnson, Eric Berry Dustin Colquitt
Miami Dolphins[15] Appointed weekly Appointed weekly Appointed weekly
Minnesota Vikings John Sullivan Kevin Williams None
New England Patriots[21] Tom Brady, Logan Mankins Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo Matthew Slater
New Orleans Saints[22] Drew Brees, Zach Strief Malcolm Jenkins, Curtis Lofton Will Herring
New York Giants[23] Eli Manning, Chris Snee Justin Tuck, Antrel Rolle Zak DeOssie
New York Jets[24] No Captains No Captains No Captains
Oakland Raiders[25] Marcel Reece Lamarr Houston Jon Condo
Philadelphia Eagles Appointed weekly Appointed weekly Appointed weekly
Pittsburgh Steelers[26] Ben Roethlisberger, Maurkice Pouncey Brett Keisel, Ryan Clark Appointed weekly
San Diego Chargers[27] Philip Rivers, Nick Hardwick Donald Butler, Eric Weddle Darrell Stuckey
San Francisco 49ers[28] Colin Kaepernick Patrick Willis, Justin Smith Appointed Weekly
Seattle Seahawks[29] Russell Wilson Red Bryant Heath Farwell
St. Louis Rams[30] Sam Bradford, Jake Long James Laurinaitis Rodney McLeod
Tampa Bay Buccaneers[31] Davin Joseph, Vincent Jackson Gerald McCoy, Dashon Goldson Adam Hayward
Tennessee Titans[32] Jake Locker, Nate Washington, Michael Roos Bernard Pollard, Jason McCourty Patrick Bailey
Washington Redskins[33] Robert Griffin III, Trent Williams London Fletcher, Barry Cofield Reed Doughty


  1. ^ * Darlington, Jeff (September 6, 2012). "NFL captains: 'C' patch comes with varied roles, responsibilities". National Football League. Retrieved 2012-09-06. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "NFL supports Breast Cancer Awareness Month". National Football League. September 28, 2011. Retrieved 2012-12-27. 
  4. ^ Tyler Nickel, "Captains named, and Potter gets guarded",, September 4, 2013
  5. ^ "Falcons Elect Captains for Postseason", Official Website of the Atlanta Falcons Football Club, January 16, 2013
  6. ^ Camille Powell, "NFL's Newest Promotion",, October 3, 2007
  7. ^ Chris Brown, "Bills name team captains for 2013s",, September 2, 2013
  8. ^ "Carolina Panthers announce captains for 2013 seasonn",, September 5, 2013
  9. ^ Biggs, Brad (September 6, 2013). "Bears name team captains". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2013-09-06. 
  10. ^ Josh Kirkendall, "Bengals announce captains against the Bears", SB Nation, September 8, 2013
  11. ^ Jodie Valade, "Chudzinski Names Game Captains for Home Opener",, September 6, 2013
  12. ^ "Cowboys select captains for 2013 season", Dallas Morning News, September 5, 2013
  13. ^ Jon Heath, "Broncos Announce 2013 Captains",, September 2, 2013
  14. ^ Justin Rogers, "Ndamukong Suh one of six Detroit Lions players named captain",, September 6, 2013
  15. ^ a b "Miami Dolphins won't elect permanent team captains", Miami Sun Sentinel, September 6, 2012
  16. ^ "Packers elect six playoff captains", Green Bay Packers Official Blog, January 4, 2013
  17. ^ Brian T. Smith, "Schaub, Johnson lead Texans’ 2013 team captains", Ultimate Texans blog, September 7, 2013
  18. ^ "Colts Vote Captains", Colts.Com, December 5, 2012
  19. ^ [1],, September 6, 2013
  20. ^ "Chiefs’ Alex Smith, Dwayne Bowe among team captains for opener",, September 6, 2013
  21. ^ "Patriots' captains announced", ESPN, September 8, 2013
  22. ^ Gene Higginbotham, "New Orleans Saints show interesting choices with team captains",, September 4, 2012
  23. ^ Ohm Youngmisuk, "Rolle, Snee are among five Giants captains for 2013", New York Daily News, September 5, 2013
  24. ^ Rich Cimini, "Thoughts On New York Jets 2011–2012 Captains", No more Captains for Jets, January 14, 2012
  25. ^ "Oakland Raiders Plagued by Offensive Injury Bug; Team Captains Named", Just Blog Baby, September 4, 2013
  26. ^ "Steelers select four as team captains", September 2, 2013
  27. ^ "San Diego Chargers name their 2013 team captains", Bolts From The Blue, September 9, 2013
  28. ^ Taylor Price, "49ers Select Team Captains",, September 6, 2013
  29. ^ "Seahawks elect team captains for 2013 season",, September 5, 2013
  30. ^ "Rams name captains for 2013 season",, September 5, 2013
  31. ^ "Freeman not picked among Bucs captains", Tampa Bay Times, September 5, 2013
  32. ^ "Tennessee Titans Name 6 Team Captains For 2013-14 NFL Season",, September 4, 2013
  33. ^ Maske, Mark (September 3, 2013). "Griffin, four others elected Redskins’ captains by teammates". Retrieved 2013-09-03.