A List of All the Positions in Football & Their Responsibilities

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Football players in position on the field. (Image: Andrew Burton/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

The game of football gives players and fans the chance to experience exciting plays, thrilling wins and heartbreaking losses. Football has become the most popular sport in the U.S., with a fan base in countries all around the world. Fans have a greater appreciation of the game once they learn about the responsibilities of the different football positions.

Running Backs and the Quarterback

One of the main aspects of football is the running game. The running backs, normally a fullback and a halfback, stand behind the offensive line. While their main duty is to run the ball down the field, running backs also catch passes and make blocks to protect the quarterback. As leaders of the offense, quarterbacks call plays, hand the ball to the running backs, and make passes to the receivers. Quarterbacks can run with the ball, especially if there's not an open receiver down field.

Offensive Line

Offensive linemen protect the quarterback and open holes for running backs. The center's job is to snap the ball to the quarterback, to make blocks and to protect the quarterback. The guards and tackles make blocks for running backs and protect their quarterback while he throws passes. The tight end is an offensive lineman that blocks, but he also catches passes.

Wide Receivers

Quarterbacks throw passes to the wide receivers. The role of the receiver is to run pass routes. They use their speed and quickness to evade the other team's defensive players as they try to get open to catch passes. Receivers also make blocks for the quarterback, for other receivers and for the running backs.

Defensive Line

Defensive tackles, defensive ends and the nose guard make up the defensive line. The nose guard plays in the center of the defensive line. His job is to stop the run up the middle. Tackles play on either side of the nose guard and try to stop the run play. In some cases, they can break through and hurry or sack the quarterback. Defensive ends play at the end of the defensive line. Ends work to sack the quarterback and try to prevent running backs from getting farther down the field.

Linebackers and Defensive Backfield

Linebackers are usually the best tacklers on the team. They play behind the defensive line and are responsible for defending both run and pass plays. The defensive backfield is made up of cornerbacks and safeties. Their job is to cover the wide receivers, to break up passes and to make interceptions. They also make tackles, work to stop the run and try to sack the quarterback.

Special Teams

The special teams, often the key to success in football games, are made up of a kicker, a punter, a long snapper and a place holder. The kicker's job is to kick the ball off at the opening of the game and after every score. He also kicks the extra points after touchdowns, and he kicks field goals when the offense cannot score a touchdown. Place holders catch the ball from the center and hold it for the kicker as he kicks extra points or field goals. Punters kick the ball when the team does not score, and the long snapper is the center who snaps the ball during punts.

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