American Football Player Positions

An American football team has 52 players. But only 11 players from each team are allowed on the field at any given time. Teams are allowed to make as many substitutions as they wish throughout the game. A position in football refers to the specific role that a player is assigned when they take on the field. The squads for each team are usually divided into three units, namely offense, special teams, and defense.


The offense in American football is the team in possession of the ball. The team’s main purpose is to advance the ball to the end zone of the opposing team to score points. Players must follow certain football rules when they are offending. Seven players are required to be on the scrimmage line. No more than four players should be behind the line.

Offensive linesmen are prohibited from handling the ball unless a player on of the offensive line takes a different position, a ball is fumbled, or a pass is deflected. Only the backs and the two players on the ends are allowed to hold the ball.


The defensive team is the side that begins a play when they are not in possession. And the defense aims to prevent the opposing team from scoring by preventing the latter from attempting a first down or forcing a punt. This can also be accomplished by forcing the offensive side to turn the ball over or fumble. Although the defensive team is not restricted to certain positions, many teams will have three sets of positions: defensive line, linebackers, and defensive backs.

Special Teams

These are players associated with the kicking play. Specialists for the kicking game include kickers, holders, punters, long snappers, and kickoff specialists. Other specialist roles in football include jammers, gunners, upbacks, and returners.

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