Friday, August 10, 2007

Finally! Football for Dummies!

My 13 yr. old son Daniel is playing football again this fall. Last season, he played both offense and defense and as best I understood it, he was "on the line". I think he was a guard or a tackle. (He stood somewhere in the middle most of the time and crunched the other guys. He liked to sack the quarterback. At least that's what it looked like from the stands.) This season, because he is fast as much as he is big, his coach is trying him at "fullback". Okay, fine. (What the hell is a fullback?) He was so excited. (smile and nod)I couldn't exactly understand why this was better until he explained that being a fullback involved "running the ball", something he didn't get to do "on the line". I would talk to the football dads who watched at practice and they assured me that Daniel was up to the challenge. I would nod and smile and try to look happy about this "promotion",but frankly, I still didn't get it. I mean, I have watched football since high school but the only position I was ever sure of was the quarterback. Sometimes, I swear, it feels like he is speaking a different language.

I don't like not being able to understand something, and honestly I felt like a "football idiot." Since Daniel's dad is not around most of the time, I felt like it was my responsibility to at least understand what he is doing and be able to talk to him about it with some sense of knowledge.
So, I did a little research online, and found Football 101, a webite offered by I also found "A Mom's Guide to Sports" and "The NFL's Guide to Football Basics". All very helpful.

But the best part was a basic description of the positions:


Consists of an offensive line, a backfield, and wide receivers. The offense works together to advance the ball toward the end zone.

Center - Lines up in the middle of the offensive line. He “snaps” the football between his legs to the quarterback and then “blocks” the defensive line.

Guards - Line up on either side of the center. They block on passing plays and try to push back the defensive line to open holes for the running backs.

Tackles - Positioned outside of the guards on the offensive line. Their main objective is to block on running plays, and protect the quarterback on passing plays.

Tight Ends - Fill out the end of the offensive line. They act as blockers and also as pass receivers.

Wide Receivers (or Wide-outs) - Usually the fastest players on the team, they line up wide of the offensive line toward the sidelines, and run patterns to catch passes from the quarterback. Running Backs (Halfbacks and Fullbacks) - Positioned behind the quarterback in the offensive backfield. As the teams primary ball carriers, they use speed and strength to “rush” the ball downfield.

Quarterback - Stands directly behind the center. As the offensive leader on the field, he calls the plays, takes the snap, and then runs, passes, or hands off the football to a running back.


Consists of a defensive line and a “secondary.” Defenders try to prevent the offense from advancing the football toward their end zone.

Nose Guard - Plays directly opposite the offensive center. His primary job is to prevent runners from advancing through the middle of the defensive line.

Defensive Tackles - Line up on either side of the nose guard. They try to pressure and tackle the quarterback on pass plays and stop running plays up the middle.

Defensive Ends - Positioned on either side of the defensive tackles. Ends try to stop ballcarriers moving to the outside and also rush the quarterback on pass plays.

Linebackers - Play in the secondary behind the defensive line. Linebackers fill any holes that an advancing ball carrier might slip through and will also “blitz” the quarterback on some passing plays.

Defensive Backs (Deep backs, safeties, and cornerbacks) - Part of the defensive secondary. They are the last line of defense before the end zone and thus cover long running and pass plays.

So, now I at least understand the different positions. I think I am "getting it"( I hope).

Go Daniel!

(He was #4 last season. He's grown a lot since then)


Brother Dave said...

I wanted to play football in high school, but the only position the coach offered to me was "drawback."

Fleur de Lisa said...

Go Daniel! I "get"football, but I couldn't describe it in such detail.

e.Craig said...

Good for you, J. I'm certain Daniel appreciates your having a basic understanding of what he is relating to you about the game.

RWA said...

Very impressive! You have done quite a bit of research.

David said...

I so love that football season is back! Nice tutorial. Maybe I can get my wife to read it.

Jay said...

I'm so pumped that it's almost football season again. It's been a long summer without it.

Jeff said...

I coach football so if you have any questions, you got my email address.