The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand. – Vince Lombardi
As the AFC and NFC Championships for the NFL are quickly approaching, I've recently gained a new client that I was expecting to do more business consulting work with, but as life always surprises you, this particular CEO is more interested in learning and understanding American Football! Yes, for sports fanatics–this is one of the ultimate paid jobs in a sense, talking my all-time favorite sport! I already knew my friends used to despise me when I was being paid to watch television for years as the Quality Control Specialist for HDNet. Yes, that's also a real PAID job, to watch television! However, it's not nearly as exciting, fun, or interesting as you may imagine all of the time. You aren't watching television leisurely, but in an extremely technical format. I will share a secret though. From 2001-2004, with the inaugural inception of HDNet, the first all-high-definition #HDTV television network in the United States, I had watched more HD programming than any other person in America! I had QC'd every one of HDNet's programs before they went to broadcast or hit air, such classics as; Get Out!, Art Mann Presents, HDNet World Report, Dan Rather Reports, Inside MMA (before we began broadcasting this weekly sports show live from our LA studio), and some of our older and more obscure shows such as Square Pegs, Eye for an Eye with host Kato Kaelin, whom I randomly met at the high-limit blackjack table at the Rio Casino in Las Vegas where he was with his producer and as soon as I mentioned I worked for HDNet they began chatting my ear off about the show and couldn't believe I was the person that not only watched every one of their, hmmm hmmm, incredible shows, but I also had the responsibility upon approving the QC of their show and by doing thus, I held in my hands the ability of approving or rejecting their show for technical or content issues and therefore this went through our in-house legal department and accounting that would release payment for their final product or program production costs. At times I was often paid–less just say an amount per hour for overtime that was probably anger most individuals–for QC'ing or watching every single episode of Prison Break, Star Trek Enterprise, Arrested Development (even the episodes that never aired on FOX and before Netflix chose to produce a fourth season), Smallville, and many, MANY, MANY other series!
There must be 11 total players. Of these, 6 positions are always the same. They are the five players make up the offensive line (OL)—1 center (C), 2 guards (G), 2 tackles (T)—plus 1 quarterback (QB).
The other 5 positions can be any combination of the remaining positions: 0-3 tight ends (TE), 0-5 wide receivers (WR), and 0-3 backs (FB/HB).
For any given play, there must be at least 7 players on the line of scrimmage—the 5 on the OL, plus at least 2 more. These two can be either TEs or WRs. A team can place more players on the line of scrimmage, but the rule is that only the two players on the ends are eligible receivers. So, most often, to maximize the number of eligible receivers, teams place the minimum 7 players up front, leaving 4 in the backfield.
These are the possibilities a coach has to work with when choosing how his team lines up on
Obviously, there are also 11 total players on the defensive side of the ball. However, unlike offensive formations, in the NFL there are no rules regulating where defensive players must be positioned (as long as they are on their side of the line of scrimmage). They can be in “the box,” which is just an area within 5 yards of the ball and the line of scrimmage, or in the “secondary,” which is anywhere else. And after the snap, any player can go anywhere and do anything. Thus, coaches have a lot of leeway in drawing up defensive formations.
Still, there are 3 basic types of defensive positions: defensive linemen (DL), who line up right across from the OL in the box; linebackers (LB), who are positioned behind the DL, but still in the box; and defensive backs (DB), who are positioned in the secondary.
Players on the DL are called defensive ends (DE) if they are on the ends of the line and defensive tackles (DT) if they are in the middle. Often, if there is an odd number of tackles (i.e., 1 or 3), the middle/only tackle lined up over the ball is called a nose tackle (NT).
LBs are either strong (SLB), middle (MLB), or weak (WLB), depending on where they are relative to the offensive formation—if a linebacker is lined up opposite the offensive team’s TE, he is the SLB.
Players in the secondary are either cornerbacks (CB), who cover WRs, or safeties, who defend against the run and pass. A player is a strong safety (SS) if lined up on the same side as a TE or a free safety (FS) if free to roam wherever he is needed.
Now, let’s look at 9 football formations every man should know.