A letterman, in U. S. activities/sports, is a high school or college student who has met a specified level of participation or performance on a varsity team. The term comes from the practice of awarding each such participant a cloth "letter", the school's initial or initials, for placement on a "letter sweater" or "letter jacket" intended for the display of such an award. In some instances, the sweater or jacket itself may be awarded for the initial award to a given individual. Today, in order to distinguish "lettermen" from other team participants, schools establish a minimum level of participation in a team's events or a minimum level of performance in order for a letter to be awarded. A common threshold in American football and basketball is participation in a set level half, of all quarters in a season. In individual sports such as tennis and golf, the threshold for lettering is participation in one half or sometimes two-thirds of all matches contested. Other members of the team who fail to meet requirements for a letter are awarded a certificate of participation or other award considered to be of lesser value than a letter.
Some schools continue to base the awarding of letters according to performance, in team sports requiring a certain number of scores, baskets or tackles, according to position and sport. In individual sports letters are determined according to qualification for state meets or tournaments. Other schools award letters on a more subjective basis, with the head coach with the input of other coaches and sometimes student team leaders who have lettered, awarding letters for substantial improvement as well as significant performance on or off the field; this places much more emphasis on character and teamwork as well as, in place of playing enough or meeting some other time or performance requirement. Sometimes in high schools academic performance in classes can be an element; this philosophy gives more focus to developing and rewarding a well-rounded and balanced player, where other methods focus on athletic performance and on the field victories. This term is not gender-specific. An athlete, awarded a letter is said to have "lettered" when they receive their letter.
In recent years, some schools have expanded the concept of letterman beyond sports, providing letters for performance in performing arts, academics, or other school activities. A letter jacket is a baseball-styled jacket traditionally worn by high school and college students in the United States to represent school and team pride as well as to display personal awards earned in athletics, academics or activities. Letter jackets are known as "varsity jackets" and "baseball jackets" in reference to their American origins; the body is of boiled wool and the sleeves of leather with banded wrists and waistband. Letter jackets are produced in the school colors with the body of the jacket in the school's primary color and sleeves in the secondary color. Although sometimes, the colors of the jacket may be customized to a certain extent by the student. There could be cases where a student could change the color so much that it doesn't differentiate too much from school colors, they feature a banded collar for men or a hood for women.
The letter jacket derives its name from the varsity letter chenille patch on its left breast, always the first letter or initials of the high school or college the jacket came from. The letter itself can be custom fitted to the particular sport or activity; the name of the owner appears either in chenille or is embroidered on the jacket itself. The owner's graduation year appears in matching chenille. Placement of the name and year of graduation depends on school traditions; the year is most sewn on the right sleeve or just above the right pocket. The school logo and symbols representing the student's activities may be ironed on to the jacket. Lettermen who play on a championship team receive a large patch commemorating their championship, worn on the back of the jacket. Lettermen who participate in a sport in which medals are awarded sew the medals onto their jackets to display their accomplishments. Varsity jackets trace their origins to letter sweaters, first introduced by the Harvard University baseball team in 1865.
The letter was quite large and centered. Letter jackets are never purchased before a student has earned a letter. In schools where only varsity letters are awarded this is the practice in a student's junior or senior year. However, many student athletes have been awarded letters during their sophomore and sometimes freshman year, leading to the need for a jacket much sooner. Still, the actual jacket is not purchased until the sophomore year at least. In schools where junior varsity letters are awarded, the jacket may be purchased by junior varsity letter recipients, though the letter is placed just above the left pocket, leaving space for a future varsity letter; some schools may award letter jackets to letter winners at the award ceremony, but more the school only provides the letter. Some schools will have fundraising activities or other programs to provide jackets to students who cannot afford them. While it is done, r
A return specialist or kick returner is a player on the special teams unit of an American football or Canadian football team who specializes in returning punts and kickoffs. There are few players who are return specialists; the special teams counterpart of a return specialist is a kicking specialist. According to All-American Venric Mark, "Returning punts is harder. You have to judge the ball more, you have to know when not to. You can't try to catch everything. With kickoff returns, you catch the ball and — boom — you're going." A kickoff returner is the player on special teams, responsible for catching the opposing team's kickoff and attempting to run it towards the end zone to score a touchdown. If the ball is kicked into his own end zone, the kick returner must assess the situation on the field while the ball is in the air and determine if it would be beneficial to his team for a return. If he decides that it is not, he can make a touchback by kneeling down in the end zone after catching the ball, ending the play and starting the next play at the 25-yard line to start the drive.
The kickoff returner position is played by a small, faster player such as a cornerback, running back or wide receiver. Backup players assume this role so starting players on the offense take fewer hits as the kickoff returner position, can play their regular positions. In the days of one platoon football, the returner position was synonymous with the "safety man" - a quarterback or halfback. In 2012, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell proposed the idea of removing the kickoff play, quoted that the "kickoff return is too dangerous for the game"; the idea was met with criticism and the idea was dropped. On October 27, 2013, wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson of the Minnesota Vikings returned the kickoff 109 yards and scored a touchdown, the longest run possible in NFL standards. In 2014, Devin Hester broke Deion Sanders' record for most kickoff return touchdowns, with 14, he remains the record holder. Red Grange was one of the sport's first iconic faces, breaking onto the national scene with a 95-yard kickoff return against Michigan.
Gale Sayers was an All-Pro running back who returned punts and kicked for the Chicago Bears. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977, he holds the record for the highest career kickoff return average at 30.56 yards per attempt. Brad Oremland of Sports Central called him the greatest kick returner in NFL history. Deion Sanders played cornerback for multiple NFL teams and played kick returner and a punt returner on special teams. Sanders was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011. Sanders totaled 3,523 kick return yards including 3 touchdowns. Sanders held the record for most special teams touchdowns, 19 in total, until Devin Hester broke the record in the 2014 season. Desmond Howard MVP of Super Bowl XXXI Dante Hall played wide receiver and as a kick returner "was the most dangerous player in the NFL for a couple of seasons". Devin Hester played wide receiver and as a return specialist holds the record for the most all-time return touchdowns and most all-time punt return touchdowns.
He is regarded as one of the greatest, if not the greatest return specialist in NFL history. Glyn Milburn Holds the NFL record for most all purpose yards in a single game playing for the Denver Broncos with John Elway quarterbacking. One of the greatest return specialists of all time, he became the Chicago bears all time leading kick returner with 4,596 yards, and has 9,788 NFL career kick returning total yards. He holds the Denver Broncos franchise record for the most kick returning yards in a single season 1,269, 1995. A punt returner has the job of catching the ball after it is punted and to give his team good field position by returning it. Before catching the punted ball, the returner must assess the situation on the field while the ball is still in the air, he must determine if it is beneficial for his team to attempt a return. If it appears that the players from the punting team will be too close to the returner by the time he catches the ball, or it appears the ball will go into his own end zone, the punt returner can elect not to return the ball by choosing one of two options: Call for a fair catch by waving one arm above his head before catching the punt.
This means. The fair catch minimizes the chances of a fumble or injury because it ensures that the returner is protected from the opposing team, whose players may not touch the returner or attempt to interfere with the catch in any way after the fair catch signal is given. In the NFL, a fair catch allows the fair catch kick to be used on the next play with no time on the clock remaining, to attempt a field goal via free kick. However, this option is exercised. Avoid the ball and let it hit the ground. Under this option the ball will go into the returning team's end zone for a touchback, go out of bounds and be spotted at that point, or come to final rest in the field of play and be downed by a player on the punting team; this is the safest option, as it eliminates the chance of a fumble and ensures that the returner's team will get possession of the ball. However, it provides an opportunity for the punting team to pin the returner's team deep in their own territory by downing the ball or sending it out of bounds near the returner's end zone.
This can not only give the return team poor field position, but can lead to
The World League of American Football renamed the NFL Europe League and NFL Europa, was a professional American football league which operated between 1991 and 2007. It was backed by the largest league in the United States; each season culminated with the World Bowl. The World League of American Football was founded in 1989 to serve as a type of spring league. Seven of the ten teams were based in North America, the other three in Europe; this format lasted for two seasons, with no league in 1993–94. The WLAF returned in 1995 with six teams, all in Europe, in 1998 the league was rebranded as the NFL Europe League or NFL Europe, until 2006. For the league's last season, 2007, it changed its name to NFL Europa; the league's squads were predominantly assigned by NFL teams, who wanted these younger, developmental players to get additional game experience and coaching. The NFL assumed the expenses of coaches living in Europe; the European six-team format was maintained for 12 seasons, from 1995 to 2008, but by 2008 five teams were based in Germany.
Making a reported $30 million loss per season, with teams such as the inaugural league champion London Monarchs having gone defunct, on 29 June 2008, the NFL announced the end of NFL Europa. A previous proposed league in the 1970s, the Intercontinental Football League, had contained many elements of the eventual all-European league. West German entrepreneur Adalbert Wetzel and sports coach Bob Kap secured the release of several NFL players to the IFL for a planned 1975 season; the IFL would have involved teams in Barcelona, West Berlin, Munich and Istanbul, but was cancelled due to economic and political problems. The World League of American Football was formed in 1989, by a unanimous vote of NFL owners, as a spring developmental league, the "brainchild" of commissioner Paul Tagliabue; this came after the NFL had played popular American Bowls in London's Wembley Stadium and elsewhere since 1986. Of the 28 NFL teams, 26 paid $50,000 each in start-up costs for the WLAF. Team payrolls and budgets were controlled by the WLAF office but not all teams were owned by the league.
The WLAF was set up as a professional American football league for North America and Europe: six teams from the United States, three European teams, one Canadian team. In 1991 parties in Moscow and Japan expressed an interest in additional franchises. Teams were aligned in three divisions: North American West: Birmingham Fire, Sacramento Surge, San Antonio Riders North American East: Montreal Machine, New York/New Jersey Knights, Orlando Thunder, Raleigh–Durham Skyhawks European: Barcelona Dragons, Frankfurt Galaxy, London MonarchsThe WLAF played two seasons in the spring of 1991 and 1992, with 10 teams playing a 10-game regular season with the World Bowl championship game. Rules unique to WLAF included assigning increasing point value to field goals based on distance, a requirement that at least one player of non-US nationality participate in at least every other series of downs. New ideas were tested, like using the two-point conversion rule on the professional field before adopting it in the NFL in 1994.
Other minor tweaks in gameplay, such as a shorter kickoff tee, were first used in the WLAF. Several technical innovations, such as helmet mounted cameras and one-way radios, enabling coaches to tell plays directly to quarterbacks, were developed; the average game attendance for the first season was 25,361, 24,216 in the second season. The original WLAF was noticed in the United States, having a "minor-league or developmental image" and low TV ratings. In the non-U. S. Cities of London, Barcelona and Montreal, crowds surpassed early expectations; the Monarchs' home attendance led the league, the 1991 World Bowl played at Wembley Stadium was attended by 61,108. In May 1991, the Los Angeles Times's Chris Dufresne said American fans were less than Europeans to "shell out hard-earned dollars for games featuring roster-cut leftovers" and suggested there was a post-USFL backlash in Orlando and San Antonio; the WLAF lost $7 million in 1991. The playoff format consisted of four teams: the three divisional champions, plus a wild card with the best overall non-division winning record.
The two teams emerging from the WLAF semi-final playoffs met at the end of the season in the World Bowl. The first two World Bowl locations were predetermined before the season; the average WLAF salary for 10 games plus playoffs was $40,000, but some of the top players made close to $100,000. Operations of the WLAF were suspended after the 1992 season as the league lost money and the involved NFL owners were not willing to invest more. However, the NFL still needed another pro football league to help their cause in the antitrust and free agency lawsuit with the National Football League Players' Association; the three Europe-based teams dominated in 1991, with a combined 24–6 record, while no North American team managed better than 5–5. The London Monarchs won the World Bowl; the Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks lost all 10 games and their franchise, moved to Ohio for 1992. The WLAF's second season was confirmed to go ahead on 23 October 1991, six months before it kicked off. In 1992, fortunes changed and none of the European teams had winning seasons.
Despite this, the European fans remained loyal, but the NFL owners suspended the WLAF after the season. Paul Tagliabue mentioned plans to bring it back with only European teams in 1994. British sports writer Matt Tench cited "an amb
The Saskatchewan Roughriders are a professional Canadian football team based in Regina, Saskatchewan. The Roughriders play in the West Division of the Canadian Football League; the Roughriders were founded in 1910 as the Regina Rugby Club. Although they were not the first team to play football in Western Canada, the club has maintained an unbroken organizational continuity since their founding; the Roughriders are the third-oldest professional gridiron football team in existence today, one of the oldest professional sports teams still in existence in North America. Of these teams, the Roughriders are both the oldest still in existence that continuously has been based in Western Canada as well as the oldest in North America to continuously have been based west of St. Louis, Missouri, they are the continent's oldest community-owned professional sports franchise, older than every American professional sports team outside baseball other than the aforementioned Cardinals and older than every Canadian sports team outside football except the Montreal Canadiens, who were founded about nine months prior to the Roughriders.
The team changed their name to the Regina Roughriders from the Regina Rugby Club in 1924 and to the current moniker in 1946. The Roughriders played their home games at historic Taylor Field from 1936 to 2016; the team draws fans from across Saskatchewan and Canada who are affectionately known as the Rider Nation. The Roughriders play in the smallest market in the CFL, the second-smallest major-league market in North America, they have finished first in the Western Division seven times and have won the Western championship a record 28 times. They won four Grey Cups; the team has had 20 players inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. The Riders' biggest rival is the Winnipeg Blue Bombers; the Roughriders Football Club and the city of Regina have hosted the Grey Cup three times, including a Roughrider win in the 101st Grey Cup. Known as: Regina Rugby Club 1910–1923, Regina Roughriders 1924–1947 Past uniform colours: Old gold and purple and white, red and black Fight Song: "Green Is The Colour", "On Roughriders" and "Rider Pride" Main rivals: Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Edmonton Eskimos, Calgary Stampeders.
Western Division 1st Place: 7—1951, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1976, 2009 Western Division Championships: 19—1923, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1934, 1951, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1972, 1976, 1989, 1997, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2013 Grey Cup Championships: 4—1966, 1989, 2007, 2013 2018 regular season record: 12 wins, 6 losses The team was founded as the Regina Rugby Club on Tuesday, September 13, 1910, adopting the colours of old gold and purple. They played most of their home games at Park Hughes on 10th Avenue in Regina's north central section, where they would remain based for over a century; the team was a founding member of the Saskatchewan Rugby Football Union as it was organized on September 22 of that year. Regina played their first game against the Moose Jaw Tigers on October 1, 1910, at the Moose Jaw Baseball Grounds where they were defeated 16–6. For the 1911 season, the team changed their colours to blue and white to match the Regina Amateur Athletic Association and won their first SRFU championship, but lost in the first season of the Western Canada Rugby Football Union playoffs.
The Regina Rugby Club changed their colours again in 1912 to red and black and began an era of western football dominance. For every season of play in the SRFU, Regina won the league championship, exerting their prowess over teams from Moose Jaw and any other clubs in Saskatchewan. Beginning in the 1912 season, Regina won seven straight WCRFU titles, excluding 1917 and 1918 when World War I interrupted league play. In 1921, the western champion was invited to compete for the Grey Cup national championship for the first time, but it was the first time since 1911 that the Regina Rugby Club didn't win the West Championship as the Edmonton Eskimos traveled east to play in the 9th Grey Cup. In 1923, Regina returned to power as they won their eighth western championship over the Winnipeg Victorias and earned the right to compete in the national playoffs; the club was given a bye and advanced straight to the Grey Cup finals for the first time, but were outmatched, losing 54–0 to Queen's University at Varsity Stadium in Toronto.
This was, still is, the most lopsided defeat in Grey Cup history as the defending champion Queen's won their third straight national championship at the expense of the Regina Rugby Club. Following their first Grey Cup loss, the club changed their name to the Regina Roughriders in 1924 while retaining the colours of red and black. Ottawa had a team called the Ottawa Rough Riders, but the spelling was different and the two clubs played in different leagues then; the origin of the name has multiple theories, the most credible of which describes how the North-West Mounted Police were called Roughriders because they broke the wild horse broncos that were used by the force and the moniker was adopted from them. Giving credence to this theory is that during this time, the team played at the RNWMP/RCMP barracks when the then-rudimentary facilities at Park Hughes were
College football is American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities. It was through college football play that American football rules first gained popularity in the United States. Unlike most other sports in North America, no minor league farm organizations exist in American or Canadian football. Therefore, college football is considered to be the second tier of American football in the United States and Canadian football in Canada. However, in some areas of the country, college football is more popular than professional football, for much of the early 20th century, college football was seen as more prestigious than professional football, it is in college football where a player's performance directly impacts his chances of playing professional football. The best collegiate players will declare for the professional draft after three to four years of collegiate competition, with the NFL holding its annual draft every spring in which 256 players are selected annually.
Those not selected can still attempt to land an NFL roster spot as an undrafted free agent. After the emergence of the professional National Football League, college football remained popular throughout the U. S. Although the college game has a much larger margin for talent than its pro counterpart, the sheer number of fans following major colleges provides a financial equalizer for the game, with Division I programs — the highest level — playing in huge stadiums, six of which have seating capacity exceeding 100,000 people. In many cases, college stadiums employ bench-style seating, as opposed to individual seats with backs and arm rests; this allows them to seat more fans in a given amount of space than the typical professional stadium, which tends to have more features and comforts for fans.. College athletes, unlike players in the NFL, are not permitted by the NCAA to be paid salaries. Colleges are only allowed to provide non-monetary compensation such as athletic scholarships that provide for tuition and books.
Modern North American football has its origins in various games, all known as "football", played at public schools in Great Britain in the mid-19th century. By the 1840s, students at Rugby School were playing a game in which players were able to pick up the ball and run with it, a sport known as Rugby football; the game was taken to Canada by British soldiers stationed there and was soon being played at Canadian colleges. The first documented gridiron football match was played at University College, a college of the University of Toronto, November 9, 1861. One of the participants in the game involving University of Toronto students was William Mulock Chancellor of the school. A football club was formed at the university soon afterward, although its rules of play at this stage are unclear. In 1864, at Trinity College a college of the University of Toronto, F. Barlow Cumberland and Frederick A. Bethune devised rules based on rugby football. Modern Canadian football is regarded as having originated with a game played in Montreal, in 1865, when British Army officers played local civilians.
The game gained a following, the Montreal Football Club was formed in 1868, the first recorded non-university football club in Canada. Early games appear to have had much in common with the traditional "mob football" played in Great Britain; the games remained unorganized until the 19th century, when intramural games of football began to be played on college campuses. Each school played its own variety of football. Princeton University students played a game called "ballown" as early as 1820. A Harvard tradition known as "Bloody Monday" began in 1827, which consisted of a mass ballgame between the freshman and sophomore classes. In 1860, both the town police and the college authorities agreed; the Harvard students responded by going into mourning for a mock figure called "Football Fightum", for whom they conducted funeral rites. The authorities held firm and it was a dozen years before football was once again played at Harvard. Dartmouth played its own version called "Old division football", the rules of which were first published in 1871, though the game dates to at least the 1830s.
All of these games, others, shared certain commonalities. They remained "mob" style games, with huge numbers of players attempting to advance the ball into a goal area by any means necessary. Rules were simple and injury were common; the violence of these mob-style games led to a decision to abandon them. Yale, under pressure from the city of New Haven, banned the play of all forms of football in 1860. American football historian Parke H. Davis described the period between 1869 and 1875 as the'Pioneer Period'. On November 6, 1869, Rutgers University faced Princeton University in the first-ever game of intercollegiate football, it was played with a round ball and, like all early games, used a set of rules suggested by Rutgers captain William J. Leggett, based
Canadian Football League
The Canadian Football League is a professional sports league in Canada. The CFL is the highest level of competition in Canadian football; the league consists of each located in a city in Canada. They are divided into two divisions: four teams in the East Division and five teams in the West Division; as of 2018, it features a 21-week regular season where each team plays 18 games with three bye weeks. This season traditionally runs from mid-June to early November. Following the regular season, six teams compete in the league's three-week divisional playoffs which culminate in the Grey Cup championship game in late November; the Grey Cup is television events. The CFL was founded on January 19, 1958; the league was formed through a merger between the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union and the Western Interprovincial Football Union. Rugby football began to be played in Canada in the 1860s, many of the first Canadian football teams played under the auspices of the Canadian Rugby Football Union, founded in 1884.
The CRFU was reorganized as the Canadian Rugby Union in 1891, served as an umbrella organization for several provincial and regional unions. The Grey Cup was donated by Governor General Earl Grey in 1909 to the team winning the Senior Amateur Football Championship of Canada. By that time, the sport as played in Canada had diverged markedly from its rugby origins, started to become more similar to the American game. From the 1930s to the 1950s, the two senior leagues of the CRU, the eastern Interprovincial Rugby Football Union and Western Interprovincial Football Union evolved from amateur to professional leagues, amateur teams such as those in the Ontario Rugby Football Union were no longer competitive for the Grey Cup. From 1945 onward, the WIFU's champion faced the Big Four's champion for the Grey Cup, though until 1954 it had to play in a semi-final against the champion of the ORFU–by the only amateur union still competing for the Grey Cup; the ORFU withdrew from Grey Cup competition after the 1954 season, the WIFU champion was automatically awarded a berth in the Grey Cup final.
For this reason, 1954 is reckoned as the start of the modern era of Canadian football, in which the Grey Cup has been contested by professional teams. Since 1965, Canada's top amateur teams, competing in what is now U Sports, have competed for the Vanier Cup. In 1956, the IRFU and WIFU formed the Canadian Football Council. In 1958, the CFC became the Canadian Football League; as part of an agreement between the CRU and CFL, the CFL took possession of the Grey Cup though amateurs had not competed for it since 1954. The CRU remained the governing body for amateur play in Canada adopting the name Football Canada; the two unions remained autonomous, there was no intersectional play between eastern and western teams except at the Grey Cup final. This situation was analogous to how the American baseball leagues operated for years; the IRFU was renamed the Eastern Football Conference in 1960, while the WIFU was renamed the Western Football Conference in 1961. In 1961, limited intersectional play was introduced.
Because the West played 16 games by this time while the East still only played 14, this arrangement oddly allowed both the four-team Eastern Conference and the five-team Western Conference to play three games per intraconference opponent and one game per interconference opponent. It wasn't until 1974. In 1981, the two conferences agreed to a full merger, becoming the East and West Divisions of the CFL. With the merger came a balanced and interlocking schedule of 16 games per season. Since 1986, the CFL's regular season schedule has been 18 games; the separate histories of the IRFU and the WIFU accounted for the fact that two teams had the same name: the IRFU's Ottawa Rough Riders were called the "Eastern Riders", while the WIFU's Saskatchewan Roughriders were called the "Western Riders" or "Green Riders". Other team names had traditional origins. With rowing a national craze in the late 19th century, the Argonaut Rowing Club of Toronto formed a rugby team for its members' off-season participation.
The football team name Toronto Argonauts still remains though it and the rowing club have long since gone their separate ways. After World War II, the two teams in Hamilton—the Tigers and the Flying Wildcats—merged both their organizations into the Hamilton Tiger-Cats; the league remained stable with nine franchises—the BC Lions, Calgary Stampeders, Edmonton Eskimos, Saskatchewan Roughriders, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Toronto Argonauts, Ottawa Rough Riders and Montreal Alouettes—from its 1958 inception until 1981. After the 1981 season, the Alouettes folded and were replaced the next year by a new franchise named the Concordes. In 1986 the Concordes were renamed the Alouettes to attract more fan support, but the team folded the next year; the loss of the Montreal franchise forced the league to move its easternmost Western team, into the East Division from 1987 to 1994, again from 1997 to 2001 and 2006 to 2013 when Montreal resumed operations, but Ottawa was unable to field a team.
In 1993, the league admitted the Sacramento Gold Miners. After modest success, the league expanded further in the U. S. in 1994 with the Las Vegas Posse, Baltimore Stallions, Shreveport Pirates. For the 1995 campaign, the American
American football positions
In American football each team has 11 players on the field at one time. The specific role that a player takes on the field is called their position. Under the modern rules of American football, teams are allowed unlimited substitutions; this has resulted in the development of three "platoons" of players: the offense, the defense, the special teams. Within those platoons, various specific positions exist depending on. In American football, the offense is the side, it is their job to advance the ball towards the opponent's end zone to score points. Broadly, the eleven players of the offense are broken into two groups: the five offensive linemen, whose primary job is to block, the six backs and receivers whose primary job is to advance the ball either running with the ball or passing it; the backs and receivers are commonly known as skill position players or as eligible receivers. Offensive linemen are not eligible to advance the ball past the line of scrimmage during a play; the organization of the offense is mandated by the rules.
The only players eligible to handle the ball during a normal play are the backs and the two players on the end of the line. The remaining players are "ineligible" to catch forward passes, so they only block. Within these strictures, creative coaches have developed a wide array of offensive formations to take advantage of different player skills and game situations; the following positions are standard in nearly every game, though different teams will use different arrangements of them. The offensive line is responsible for blocking. During normal play, offensive linemen do not handle the ball, unless the ball is fumbled by a ball carrier, a pass is deflected, or when a player, an offensive lineman takes a different position on the field; the offensive line consists of: Center The center is the player who begins the play from scrimmage by snapping the ball to the quarterback. As the name suggests, the center plays in the middle of the offensive line, though some teams may employ an unbalanced line where the center is offset to one side.
Like all offensive linemen, the center has the responsibility to block defensive players. The center 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 interior linemen, their function is to block on both passing plays. On some plays, rather than blocking straight ahead, a guard will "pull", whereby the guard comes out of their position in line to lead block for a ball carrier, on plays known as "traps", "sweeps", "screens". In such cases, the guard is referred to as a "pulling guard". Offensive tackle Two tackles play outside of the guards, their role is 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 from behind, this is 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 their side. Tackles have a taller, longer build than interior offensive linemen, due to the need to keep separation from defensive linemen in pass blocking situations, they tend to have quick footwork skills as they engage against containing or rushing defensive ends. The six backs and receivers are those that line up behind the offensive line. There are four main positions in this set of players: 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 they are positioned directly in contact with the center and receives the ball via the direct hand-to-hand pass, they are said to be "under center".
If they have lined up some distance behind the center, they are said to be in "shotgun formation". They can be in between; this is called a "pistol formation". Upon receiving the snap, the quarterback has three basic options, they may run the ball, they may hand it to another eligible ball carrier to run with it, or execute a forward pass to a player downfield. Running back Running backs are players who line up behind the offensive line, in a position to receive the ball from the quarterback and execute a rushing play. Anywhere from one to three running backs may be utilized on a play. Depending on where they line up, what role they have, running backs come in several varieties; the "tailback" (or so