Stance is the position an American football player adopts when a play begins. There are three common stances used by linemen: two-point, three-point, and four-point. The stance names reference the number of points where a player's body is touching the ground while down in the stance. Each technique has its own strengths and weaknesses; therefore, each one is used accordingly in different situations. Furthermore, stances are taught and used differently depending on the level of competition (little league football, high school football, college football, etc.).
In the National Football League (NFL), the average amount of plays per game is over 60 per team.This means that, in one game, a lineman playing the entire time could enter a stance more than 60 times. However, it is not likely to be the same stance every time. Furthermore, it is important to remember that the offensive team must remain still for one second prior to the ball being snapped. This means that once an offensive player has become set in a stance, he must stay in it until the ball is snapped and the play begins. Additional motion can result in a false start penalty. Defensive players, on the other hand, are permitted to shift as much as they want before a play. It is possible for a defensive lineman to line up in one stance and then change to another just before the play begins. He can even shift his body to another place.
Commonly used stances are the two-point, three-point, and four-point.
The two-point variation is the most upright stance. Another name for the stance is the universal stance. The two-point is used by offensive linemen to facilitate better pass blocking because it increases their initial field of vision and gives more reaction time (to stay in front of a rushing player). Consequently, it is usually only used in a situation that will require passing.Some defensive linemen employ this stance to pass rush because they naturally obtain more quickness and agility out of it (particularly the defensive ends).
The "two-points" on the ground in this stance are just the feet. They are placed shoulder width apart pointing forward. One of the feet is staggered back, for an offensive-lineman this will be the foot away from the ball; for a defensive-lineman it will be the foot towards the ball. While in this stance the player's center of gravity will be slightly lowered by bending at the knees and waist. Weight is kept away from the heels to promote quickness and agility out of the stance in any direction.
The most common variation is the three-point stance. The purpose of this stance is to give the player leverage and allow more of their legs' power to be used. This is the offensive lineman's most used stance. It allows them to easily stay low and move in any direction at the snap of the ball. The interior defensive lineman use this stance for the same reason; however, it is usually slightly adjusted.
The added "point" is the player's strong hand on the ground (the down-hand). In higher divisions of play, ambidexterity between down-hands is required. A player entering the stance begins in a two-point stance; the player's staggered foot will be on the same side as the down-hand. The player then bends the knees and waist until the thighs and back are nearly parallel to the ground. The down-hand is merely an anchoring point for offensive linemen; typically, very little weight is put onto it. Offensive linemen may have to move in any direction so it is counterproductive to put weight on their down-hand (this only facilitates forward movement.) However, defensive players usually put more weight on their down-hand to have a more explosive start as they almost always go forward. This gives them the power of their legs coupled with forward momentum for a stronger push.
The least common variation is the four-point stance. This stance is used for maximum explosion and leverage in one direction (straight ahead of the player). Offensive linemen will typically only use it if they need to force the line forward only inches. Interior defensive lineman will use it to keep this push from happening.
The added "point" in this stance is the other arm. It is simply a three-point with the other hand put down. However, the hands in this case are allowed as much of the body's weight as the feet.
The three-point stance has become a staple in every football game. However, this has drawn attention to the danger it puts players in. The NFL has gained bad reputation because of the players' long-term and sometimes life-threatening complications brought about by head injuries. The NFL's commissioner, Roger Goodell, has stated the possibility of banning the three-point stance because it makes linemen more likely to initiate head-to-head contact.
Canadian football is a sport played in Canada in which two teams of 12 players each compete for territorial control of a field of play 110 yards (101 m) long and 65 yards (59 m) wide attempting to advance a pointed oval-shaped ball into the opposing team's scoring area.
In gridiron football, not all players on offense are entitled to receive a forward pass. Only an eligible pass receiver may legally catch a forward pass, and only an eligible receiver may advance beyond the neutral zone if a forward pass crosses into the neutral zone. If the pass is received by a non-eligible receiver, it is "illegal touching". If an ineligible receiver is beyond the neutral zone when a forward pass crossing the neutral zone is thrown, a foul of "ineligible receiver downfield" is called. Each league has slightly different rules regarding who is considered an eligible receiver.
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.
A linebacker is a playing position in gridiron football. Linebackers are members of the defensive team, and line up approximately three to five yards behind the line of scrimmage, behind the defensive linemen, and therefore "back up the line". Linebackers generally align themselves before the ball is snapped by standing upright in a "two-point stance".
The tight end (TE) is a position in American football, arena football, and formerly Canadian football, on the offense. The tight end is often seen as a hybrid position with the characteristics and roles of both an offensive lineman and a wide receiver. Like offensive linemen, they are usually lined up on the offensive line and are large enough to be effective blockers. On the other hand, unlike offensive linemen, they are eligible receivers adept enough to warrant a defense's attention when running pass patterns.
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.
Defensive end (DE) is a defensive position in the sport of gridiron football.
Strategy forms a major part of the game of American football, and 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 to score more points in order to win the game.
Game play in American football consists of a series of downs, individual plays of short duration, outside of which the ball is dead or not in play. These can be plays from scrimmage – passes, runs, punts, or field goal attempts – or free kicks such as kickoffs and fair catch kicks. Substitutions can be made between downs, which allows for a great deal of specialization as coaches choose the players best suited for each particular situation. During a play, each team should have no more than 11 players on the field, and each of them has specific tasks assigned for that specific play.
A formation in 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.
The three-point stance is a stance used by linemen and running backs in American football when ready for the start of a play. This stance requires one hand to touch the ground with the other arm cocked back to the thigh/hip region. The back should be slightly inclined forward, as well as the arm which is placed on the ground.
A trick play, also known as a gadget play, gimmick play or trickeration, is a play in gridiron football that uses deception and unorthodox tactics to fool the opposing team. A trick play is often risky, offering the potential for a large gain or a touchdown if it is successful, but with the chance of a significant loss of yards or a turnover if not. Trick plays are rarely used not only because of the riskiness, but also to maintain the element of surprise for when they are used.
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 free substitutions; that is, teams may change any number of players after any play. This has resulted in the development of three "platoons" of players: the offense, the defense, and the special teams. Within those platoons, various specific positions exist depending on what each player's main job is.
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 their playbook.
In gridiron football, motion refers to the movement of an offensive player at the time of the snap.
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 typically the largest and strongest of the defensive players in American football. The defensive tackle typically lines up opposite one of the offensive guards. 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's 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), do have a nose tackle in this scheme, but most of them do not.