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 (e.g. Pittsburgh 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] Carson Palmer Calais Campbell Lorenzo Alexander, Dave Zastudil
Atlanta Falcons[5] Matt Ryan, Roddy White Jonathan Babineaux, Paul Worrilow Eric Weems, Antone Smith
Baltimore Ravens[6] Joe Flacco Terrell Suggs Appointed weekly
Buffalo Bills[7] Fred Jackson, Eric Wood Corey Graham, Brandon Spikes, Kyle Williams, Mario Williams None
Carolina Panthers[8] Cam Newton, Ryan Kalil, Greg Olsen Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis, Charles Johnson None
Chicago Bears[9] Appointed weekly Appointed weekly Appointed weekly
Cincinnati Bengals[10] Andrew Whitworth, Andy Dalton Domata Peko, Vontaze Burfict Cedric Peerman
Cleveland Browns[11] Joe Thomas Quentin Groves
Dallas Cowboys[12] Tony Romo, Jason Witten Barry Church, Justin Durant Dan Bailey
Denver Broncos[13] Peyton Manning, Demaryius Thomas DeMarcus Ware, Terrance Knighton David Bruton
Detroit Lions[14] Calvin Johnson Stephen Tulloch Appointed weekly
Green Bay Packers[15][16] Aaron Rodgers Clay Matthews Appointed weekly
Houston Texans[17] JJ Watt Appointed weekly
Indianapolis Colts[18] Andrew Luck Robert Mathis Pat McAfee, Adam Vinateri
Jacksonville Jaguars[19] Chad Henne, Marcedes Lewis Paul Posluszny Josh Scobee
Kansas City Chiefs[20] Jamaal Charles, Alex Smith Derrick Johnson, Eric Berry, Justin Houston Dustin Colquitt
Miami Dolphins[15] Ryan Tannehill Cameron Wake Jason Trusnik
Minnesota Vikings Appointed weekly Appointed weekly Appointed weekly
New England Patriots[21] Tom Brady Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, Devin McCourty Matthew Slater
New Orleans Saints[22] Drew Brees, Zach Strief Junior Galette Thomas Morstead
New York Giants[23] Eli Manning, Victor Cruz Jon Beason, Antrel Rolle Zak DeOssie
New York Jets[24] No Captains No Captains No Captains
Oakland Raiders[25] Marcel Reece Josh Lohman Jon Condo
Philadelphia Eagles Nick Foles Appointed weekly Appointed weekly
Pittsburgh Steelers[26] Ben Roethlisberger Troy Polamalu Shaun Suisham, Robert Golden
San Diego Chargers[27] [28] Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates Jarret Johnson, Eric Weddle Darrell Stuckey
San Francisco 49ers[29] Colin Kaepernick, Joe Staley Patrick Willis, Justin Smith Appointed Weekly
Seattle Seahawks[30] Russell Wilson Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman Steven Hauschka, Jon Ryan
St. Louis Rams[31] Sam Bradford, Jake Long James Laurinaitis Rodney McLeod
Tampa Bay Buccaneers[32] Vincent Jackson, Josh McCown Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David Michael Koenen
Tennessee Titans[33] Jake Locker, Nate Washington, Michael Roos Bernard Pollard, Jason McCourty Patrick Bailey
Washington Redskins[34] Trent Williams, Robert Griffin III Ryan Clark Adam Hayward

Current players wearing the 5+ star all gold captain patches[edit]


  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. ^ Jess Root, "Arizona Cardinals select captains, Larry Fitzgerald not one of them",, September 3, 2014
  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. ^ Sessler, Marc (September 1, 2014). "EJ Manuel not among Buffalo Bills' team captains". National Football League. Retrieved September 1, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Panthers select 2014 captains",, September 1, 2014
  9. ^ Wright, Michael C (September 5, 2014). "Marc Trestman won’t name Bears captains". ESPN. Retrieved September 7, 2014. 
  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. ^ "Dallas Cowboys name their five captains for 2014 season", Dallas Morning News, September 5, 2013
  13. ^ Lauren Giudice, "Broncos name team captains",, September 1, 2014
  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. ^ Dale Robertson, "Texans won’t have permanent captains to start season", Ultimate Texans blog, September 5, 2014
  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 announce six team captains",, September 4, 2014
  22. ^ "New Orleans Saints name Junior Galette, four others team captains", WWL-TV, September 1, 2014.
  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. ^ [2], September 1, 2014
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ Steve Corkran, "Harbaugh comments on roster moves, Aldon Smith, injured players, season-opener, etc.", 49ers Hot Read, August 30, 2014
  30. ^
  31. ^ "Rams name captains for 2013 season",, September 5, 2013
  32. ^ "Freeman not picked among Bucs captains", Tampa Bay Times, September 5, 2013
  33. ^ "Tennessee Titans Name 6 Team Captains For 2013-14 NFL Season",, September 4, 2013
  34. ^ Maske, Mark (October 10, 2014). "Jay Gruden appoints Ryan Clark as defensive captain". Retrieved 2014-10-12.