There are two obvious units on every football team: offense and defense. That’s because the other unit is kind of like the middle child of the family. Special teams is the unit everyone forgets about.
But each unit plays an important role – even special teams! Here’s the lowdown on each one.
Goal: To score. The quarterback gets the ball to a receiver, either by hanging it off or by passing, in an attempt to gain yardage (read about the down system here) and score points (read about scoring here).
Offensive Line (protects the quarterback, opens up lanes for running backs)
Position/Skill Players (advance the ball down the field by running or receiving)
- Running Backs
- Tight Ends
- Wide Receivers
Quarterback (orchestrates the offense, hands the ball off or throws it)
Goal: To score. Defenses score by taking the ball from the offense (read more about turnovers here). Their primary goal is scoring, their next goal is preventing the offense from scoring.
Defensive Line (puts pressure on the quarterback, stops running plays)
- Defensive Tackles
- Defensive Ends
Linebackers (defends front and mid sections of field)
Defensive Backs (Secondary) (defends back sections of field)
Goal: To execute kicking plays effectively. Special teams is the unit on the play for all kicking plays.
- Kickoffs (kicking off to the other team to start a new drive)
- Punts (kicking to the other team to end your team’s drive)
- Field Goals and Extra Points (kicking for points)
(Read more about special teams here.)
It’s wise to note that the offense and defense are comprised of players who play specifically for that unit. Special teams is mostly comprised of players who also play on other units (except for kickers – they only kick).