Talk:American football positions

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14 men on the field at one time? Please explain.

It appears that around Feb. 8, this article was replaced with a redirect to a completely new article, American Football positions (notice capital "F"). An administrator, at my request, merged the articles to preserve the edit history. However, as the creation of the Feb. 8 article was probably against Wikipedia guidelines, I'd like to revert to the Feb. 5 version.

If anyone has an objection, please let me know. -- Mwalcoff 00:46, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Football Positions Image[edit]

Please see [this image].I posted this on American Football talk a while back, got some constructive criticism, redrew it, and now I think I nearly have an image that this article can use to demonstrate where on the field each position normally lines up. We all know that positions are not strict and there are many formations. However, there are general rules: a wide received is far to the left or far to the right. A safety is well behind the rest of the defense. The running backs line up behind the quarterback. So, this image is an attempt to give a person a rough starting point from which to understand all the weird formations and positions. --Kainaw (talk) 15:02, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

Almost perfect. One major point: One of the WRs has to be on the line of scrimmage to make it a legal formation. A minor point: You could consider labeling the strong and free safeties (the strong safety plays on the TE's side). You might also point out, when you use the image, that it represents just one of many possible alignments of players -- in this case, an I-formation with two WRs on offense and a 4-3 defense. -- Mwalcoff 03:15, 29 June 2006 (UTC)


This page is completely useless. The main article Offensive team is much more complete. -- 21:25, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

I agree that the 3 articles should be merged. But the merge should be to this page. "Offensive team", etc. is quite ambiguous. And the subject is not near long enough to warrant summaries and main articles. I don't think this page is completely useless, though. Civil Engineer III 19:10, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Special Teams[edit]

Not exactly sure how to do it but a note should be added at the top because special teams is also hockey terminology. When somebody types in "special teams" in the search, it automatically comes to this page. Canking 11:04, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

wrong picture[edit]

the graphic of the football positions is wrong because there must be exactly seven men on the line of scrimmage, yet there is only six. usually, the wide reciever on the weak/right side would be on the line of scrimmage and not off like the picture shows. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:39, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

So, you suggest moving the wide receiver near the tight end up to the line of scrimmage? -- kainaw 21:38, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
Anyone have an opinion on this? I agree that one of the wide receivers should move up - but which? Note that this is for an introduction to the positions and it should be clear that wide receivers can play both on the line and behind it. So, I'm not sure which one is best. -- kainaw 18:33, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
I only played high school football, playing 9 man football, and we only had to have three on the line of scrimmage. —Preceding unsigned comment added by LealandA (talkcontribs) 03:45, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
I moved the WR opposite the TE to the line of scrimmage because that would avoid having to move the TE to the opposite side of the line. Also, because most quarterbacks are right handed, that is a very common formation. -- kainaw 12:29, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

Split End[edit]

In the article it mentions that a tight end that is no longer next is called a split end. I have only heard of a wide receiver being called a split end. I have heard it called a flex tight end and am changing the article to reflect this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 05:37, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

In current usage, any wideout - in the backfield or on the line - is termed a wide receiver. If you go back 20 years, there was more usage of the separate terms split end for a receiver on the line of scrimmage but wide, and flanker for a receiver in the backfield. It's a historic term, and I think it's useful for the article, as long as we have in the caveat that nowadays, split ends and flankers are collectively called wide receivers. —C.Fred (talk) 16:40, 17 September 2009 (UTC)


I noticed that "tailback" is mentioned in this article, but never defined by the article. I don't know enough about the game to properly define it, but if I were looking for information about "tailback" I would be confused about the actual position after reading this article IMHO. Madmaxmarchhare (talk) 16:41, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

I edited the article. Does it look better now? -- kainaw 20:12, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

Wingback not defined[edit]

The term "wingback" is used but not defined in the article. Jason Quinn (talk) 16:51, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

Even though the term is used before it is defined, I've added wingback to the WR section, where flankers and slots are defined. —C.Fred (talk) 17:18, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

Electronic communications[edit]

It is not mentioned that electronic communications are used between the coach and the quarterback. Also, there is electronic communication to a member of the defense team, usually the Middle Linebacker. The rules specify that one for offense and one for the defense are allowed (2012 Official Playing Rules and Casebook of the National Football League, Rule 5, Section 3, Article 3; pg 24). Shouldn't that be in their position descriptions? It's true that sometimes they go to other positions, but I thought it should be noted that it's usually the QB and MLB. MagnoliaSouth (talk) 22:15, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

Offensive tackle etymology[edit]

Many, if not all of the positions' names are self-evident if one understands the game. Various back, receivers, defensive backs, etc. However, the offensive tackle position name is not. I've asked various people about the etymology of this name, ie why tackle is called tackle when they don't tackle anyone, but no one has ever come up with an answer. A coworker, an American, even played four years in a European league and still plays in a amateur league and he didn't have an answer. For the offensive line, center is obvious, it is the center of the offensive line. Guard, guards the QB. But tackle? They don't tackle anyone. So does anyone know why the name for this position comes from and why it is called tackle? And can they add it to the article. Thanks (talk) 20:18, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

I believe I have found the answer, on a wikipedia page I have checked already a couple weeks back, but seem to have missed. states The term "tackle" is a vestige of an earlier era of football in which the same players played both offense and defense. (talk) 20:37, 30 December 2012 (UTC)


It might be helpful to mention the range of player numbers each position is allowed to have. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:51, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

One sentence about the numbering rules and 50–79 being ineligible numbers, and the requirement for interior linemen to wear those numbers, is probably warranted. We don't need to go into the NFL-specific mapping of numbers to positions, though. —C.Fred (talk) 20:24, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

Eligible ball carrier?[edit]

The QB section includes "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." I had not heard the term "eligible ball carrier" before. The Formation (American football) article talks about the eligible receivers but does not mention if there are any similar restrictions on the ball carriers. The NFL rulebook[1] mentions the following:

  • eligible pass receiver - numerous mentions.
  • eligible backfield receiver. A snap is a backward pass and can go to anyone that's at least one yard behind the line provided they either have the numbers of eligible players (1-49 and 80-89) or have legally reported to play a position in the backfield.

The only restrictions on ball carriers that I could see is that you can only do a forward handoff to an eligible pass receiver. It appears you can do a backwards handoff or lateral to anyone. --Marc Kupper|talk 08:03, 24 December 2014 (UTC)

True. Eligibility rules only apply to forward passes. "Downfield" is also problematic, because a forward pass can be thrown to a player behind the line of scrimmage (a screen pass). Would it be better to say "He my run the ball himself, he may hand it to another ball carrier to run with it, or he may execute a forward pass to an eligible receiver"? —C.Fred (talk) 14:58, 24 December 2014 (UTC)

Defensive Technique Alignment[edit]

The defensive line has specialized terminology that is being used more frequently. [2] — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jetpen (talkcontribs) 14:52, 28 July 2018 (UTC)