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Center or Centre (C) is a position in American football. The center is the innermost lineman of the offensive line on a football team's offense. The center is also the player who passes (or "snaps") the ball between his legs to the quarterback at the start of each play.
The importance of centers for a football team has increased, due to the re-emergence of 3–4 defenses. According to Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome, "you need to have somebody who can neutralize that nose tackle. If you don't, everything can get screwed up. Your running game won't be effective and you'll also have somebody in your quarterback's face on every play."
The center's first role is to pass the football to the quarterback. This exchange is called a snap. Most offensive schemes make adjustments based on how the defensive line and linebackers align themselves in relation to the offensive line, and what gaps they line up in. Because the center has an ideal view of the defensive formation before the snap, he typically makes the first line call. This call is typically based on the position of the defensive linemen or linebackers in his gaps (0i-1i), most subsequent adjustments are dependent on this call. In some cases, the center may call an adjustment for the entire offensive line. This was taken to an extreme by the Indianapolis Colts in the early 21st century, with center Jeff Saturday having equal say with quarterback Peyton Manning in play calling, including audibles.The center is therefore usually the most intelligent player on the offensive line; intelligence is critical to a center's success.
After the snap, the center performs blocking assignments. The blocking assignments vary by offense but typically consist of the following:
Run blocking assignments will vary based on the current play and the defensive formation when the ball is snapped. Typically, these assignments consist of the following:
On most plays, the center will snap the ball directly into the quarterback's hands. In a shotgun formation, the center snaps the ball to the quarterback lined up several yards behind him. In punt and field goal formations, the center also snaps the ball several yards behind him to the punter or holder on the field goal unit. Because bad snaps can ruin special teams plays and cause turnovers, most teams have a center who is specifically trained for snapping the ball in punt and field goal formations. This player is referred to as the team's long snapper. Also, the center does not have to snap the ball to the quarterback, holder, or punter. He is allowed to snap the ball to anyone behind him. Because of this, some plays involve snaps directly to running backs instead of the player generally expected to receive the snap, hoping to fool the defense.
In slang, the player receiving the snap is said to be "under center" if he receives the ball directly from the center (not in shotgun). This phrase is typically applied to quarterbacks but has been used in reference to other positions as well.
On all special teams formations, the center is a long snapper. Today, all NFL teams have a dedicated long snapper.
Although the quarterback commands the ball, it is the center's snap that renders the ball in play; the defensive line may not cross the line of scrimmage until the center snaps the football. An astute center can help draw an opposing team offside prior to the snap or potentially trick the other team into a penalty by quickly snapping the ball while the opposing team attempts to substitute players.
Under college and high school rules, the center, as a long snapper, may not be contacted until 1 second after the snap has been initiated. This will result in "roughing the center."
Additionally, a snap must be a continuous motion. If a center halts the snap motion, this draws the penalty of "illegal snap."
In college football, the Dave Rimington Trophy is awarded annually to the nation's most outstanding center.
In gridiron football, a lineman is a player who specializes in play at the line of scrimmage. The linemen of the team currently in possession of the ball are the offensive line, while linemen on the opposing team are the defensive line. A number of NFL rules specifically address restrictions and requirements for the offensive line, whose job is to help protect the quarterback from getting sacked for a loss, or worse, fumbling. The defensive line is covered by the same rules that apply to all defensive players. Linemen are usually the largest players on the field in both height and weight, since their positions usually require less running and more strength than skill positions.
Linebacker (LB) is a playing position in gridiron football. Linebackers are members of the defensive team, and line up three to five yards behind the line of scrimmage and the defensive linemen. They are the "middle ground" of defenders, playing closer to the line of scrimmage than the defensive backs (secondary), but farther back than the defensive linemen.
In gridiron football, blitzing is a tactic used by the defense to disrupt pass attempts by the offense. During a blitz, a higher than usual number of defensive players will rush the opposing quarterback, in an attempt either to tackle them or force them to hurry his pass attempt.
This is a glossary of terms used in Canadian football. The Glossary of American football article also covers many terms that are also used in the Canadian version of the game.
Strategy forms a major part of American football. Both teams plan many aspects of their plays (offense) and response to plays (defense), such as what formations they take, who they put on the field, and the roles and instructions each player are given. Throughout a game, each team adapts to the other's apparent strengths and weaknesses, trying various approaches to outmaneuver or overpower their opponent in order to win the game. On offense, a team's job on the field is to score through touchdowns and field goals, all while being observant of the defensive strategy of the opposing team. On defense, the team's job on the field is to prevent the offense from scoring touchdowns and field goals, and to possibly intercept the ball.
American football positions have slowly evolved over the history of the sport. From its origins in early rugby football to the modern game, the names and roles of various positions have changed greatly, some positions no longer exist, and others have been created to fill new roles.
The 46 defense is an American football defensive formation, an eight men in the box defense, with six players along the line of scrimmage. There are two players at linebacker depth playing linebacker technique, and then three defensive backs. The 46 defense was originally developed and popularized with the Chicago Bears by their defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan, who later became head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals.
A formation in American football refers to the position players line up in before the start of a down. There are both offensive and defensive formations and there are many formations in both categories. Sometimes, formations are referred to as packages.
In sports, a starting lineup is an official list of the set of players who will participate in the event when the game begins. The players in the starting lineup are commonly referred to as starters, whereas the others are substitutes or bench players.
In gridiron football, the long snapper is a center on special teams whose duty is to snap the football over a longer distance, typically around 15 yards during punts, and 7–8 yards during field goals and conversion attempts.
In American football, the specific role that a player takes on the field is referred to as their "position". Under the modern rules of American football, both teams are allowed 11 players on the field at one time and have "unlimited free substitutions", meaning that they may change any number of players during any "dead ball" situation. This has resulted in the development of three task-specific "platoons" of players within any single team: the offense, the defense, and the so-called 'special teams'. Within these three separate "platoons", various positions exist depending on the jobs that the players are doing.
Bruce Rankin Matthews is an American former professional football player who played as a guard, center, offensive tackle, and long snapper in the National Football League (NFL) for 19 seasons, from 1983 to 2001. He spent his entire career playing for the Houston / Tennessee Oilers / Titans franchise. Highly versatile, throughout his NFL career, Matthews played every position on the offensive line, starting in 99 games as a left guard, 87 as a center, 67 as a right guard, 22 as a right tackle, 17 as a left tackle, and was the long snapper on field goals, PATs, and punts. Having never missed a game due to injury, Matthews' 293 NFL games started is the third most of all time, behind quarterbacks Brett Favre and Tom Brady.
The triple option is an American football play used to offer several ways to move the football forward on the field of play. The triple option is based on the option run, but uses three players who might run with the ball instead of the two used in a standard option run.
In American football, a play is a close-to-the-ground plan of action or strategy used to move the ball down the field. A play begins at either the snap from the center or at kickoff. Most commonly, plays occur at the snap during a down. These plays range from basic to very intricate. Football players keep a record of these plays in a playbook.
In American football, the 3–4 defense is a common defensive alignment consisting of three down linemen and four linebackers. It is a called a "base defense" because it will readily switch to other defensive alignments as circumstances change. Alternatively, some defenses use a 4–3 defense.
In American football, a 4–3 defense is a defensive alignment consisting of four down linemen and three linebackers. It is called a "base defense" because it is the default defensive alignment used on "base downs". However, defenses will readily switch to other defensive alignments as circumstances change. Alternatively, some defenses use a 3–4 defense.
The following terms are used in American football, both conventional and indoor. Some of these terms are also in use in Canadian football; for a list of terms unique to that code, see Glossary of Canadian football.
A defensive tackle (DT) is a position in American football that will typically line up on the line of scrimmage, opposite one of the offensive guards; however, he may also line up opposite one of the tackles. Defensive tackles are typically the largest and strongest of the defensive players. Depending on a team's individual defensive scheme, a defensive tackle may be called upon to fill several different roles. These roles may include merely holding the point of attack by refusing to be moved, or penetrating a certain gap between offensive linemen to break up a play in the opponent's backfield. If a defensive tackle reads a pass play, his primary responsibility is to pursue the quarterback, or simply knock the pass down at the line if it is within arm's reach. Other responsibilities of the defensive tackle may be to pursue the screen pass or drop into coverage in a zone blitz scheme. In a traditional 4–3 defense, there is no nose tackle. Instead there is a left and right defensive tackle. Some teams, especially in the National Football League (NFL), have a nose tackle in this scheme, but most of them do not.
A play calling system in American football is the specific language and methods used to call offensive plays.