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How NFL Positions Affect the Game


Have you tried watching the National Football League (NFL) and can’t understand what’s happening? It could be you don’t understand the NFL positions. Positioning helps in knowing what is going on and how every player impacts the game. Every player plays a different role that ultimately contributes to their success. In this post, we explain every position.

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NFL Positions

spotcovery-How NFL Positions Affect the Game
The Los Angeles Rams host the New Orleans Saints. Source: Wikimedia licensed by CC-Zero

The field is divided into offensive positions, defensive positions and special team positions. Keep reading to learn more.

Offensive Positions

There are nine offensive NFL positions.

Quarter Back

The quarterback is the most coveted NFL position as it’s the most influential on the field. It’s the smartest and most athletic and should be in a position to dictate the game and lead other players. This player must make sure that the team’s passing is done well.

Running Back

There are two running back positions in the game. The halfback and the fullback. Any player in this position should be fast enough to get away from the opposing players. 

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Wide Receiver

Positioned at the end of the formations, wide receivers should be reliable ball handlers as they are in charge of catching the throws made by the quarterbacks. Also, they should be speedy to get away from opponents and are the tallest players on the field.

Slot Receiver

The slot receiver plays a similar role to a wide receiver except that they are smaller in size and cover a shorter distance than them.

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Offensive Line

Players who take this role are the biggest and strongest on the field. They guard the quarterback during passing plays. The role is divided into three more positions:

  • Center, who holds the ball first and passes to the quarterback. They set the line and show players to be blocked.
  • Guards. The two guards on the left and right, offer protection to the quarterback to make sure the opponent doesn’t get through.
  • The offensive tackle players are at the extreme ends of the line. They, too protect the quarterback and cover the spaces to make sure the opponent doesn’t get past the offensive.

The tight end disrupts the pattern of play of the opponent and catches the ball as it is being passed around.  

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Defensive Positions

Defensive positions in NFL. Video Credit: vIQtory Sports

The defensive players play a crucial role in helping the team win a game and the championship. The following are the NFL positions that comprise defense.

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Defensive Line

These are the players who form the scrimmage. There are 3 types of players here.

  • The Nose tackle who is the biggest player in defence stops offensive lines from advancing. 
  • The defensive tackle disrupts the quarterback from making a good pass. Their presence rushes them into making a decision.
  • Defensive Ends prevent the offensive players from making outside runs and pressuring the passer to release the ball.
  • The linebackers are a main part of the defensive position. The inside linebacker stops players running into the box while the outside linebackers can tackle running backs and wide receivers. 

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Defensive Backs

Any play here should be able to run forwards and backwards. In this position, there is the cornerback, strong safety and free safety.

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Special Positions

There are two types of special positions – the punter and the kicker. The punter kicks the ball to a certain position on the field, as the game continues, to help the team score while the kicker kicks the ball from stationery play-like kickoffs.  

Each of these NFL positions is important in a team’s success. Even though the quarterback gets the most praise, other members support his play and create a balanced squad. 

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