Football is a sport watched by hundreds of thousands of people, and the most interesting part about this sport is undoubtedly the offensive plays. When the quarterback, the star of the show, gets possession of the ball, the crowd collectively waits with bated breath. The most famous names in American football are unarguably the ones who play offense. What makes this simple sport so exciting and intriguing is the vast blend of offensive plays.
The object of the game is to put as many points as you can on the board. Any of the 11 players in the offense are capable of doing this, but each player is assigned a certain task to do, without which the team's success rate will definitely dwindle.
The player that snaps or hikes the ball to the quarterback is called the center. His position is on the line of scrimmage, directly facing the defensive line of the opposing team. As the name suggests, he stands in the absolute center of the offensive line. Many teams assign the center with the team captaincy, as he in the midst of it all, and this makes it easier for him to coordinate the entire attack. He must also aid the other linemen in the defense of his quarterback.
The QB is the focal point of any attack, and he receives the ball from the center. He must choose whether to give the ball to a wide receiver, or to pass it to a runner, depending on the strategy being adopted. The QB must have an excellent throwing arm, as he has to find the receivers with pinpoint accuracy, over a large distance. The QB is also the player that passes on the strategy being adopted by the team, during the team huddle, before each play. As a result of this, the QB gets a lot of adulation and fanfare, and is at the originating point of every attack that the team sets out on.
Offensive Guards [OG]
There are two OG's present for every play, and their positions are on either side of the center. They are the other members of the offensive line. Like the other linemen in the offensive positions, their job also is to protect the quarterback, and block any running or passing moves that the team is venturing on. If the quarterback fails to receive adequate protection, it is directly blamed on the offensive linemen.
Offensive Tackles [OT]
OTs are the players on the outer side of the offensive guards. Their task also is to block the running and passing plays of the team, and simultaneously protect the quarterback. Not every team needs to have the players of the offensive line in fixed places. If the number of players on each side of the center are balanced, then they must be positioned in this manner.
An important point to note here is that members of the offensive line (center, OG and OT) cannot receive a pass from any of their teammates. The only way they can get a hold of the ball is after a fumble by the opposing team, or after a fumble by an official receiver of the same team.
Tight End [TE]
Tight Ends are usually positioned on any one side of the offensive line, adjacent to that side's offensive tackle. The tight end's role is that of a blocker, as well as a receiver, depending on the situation that arises. A lot of offensive formations of modern-day deploy the tight end in very different manners and roles.
Wide Receivers [WR]
These players also stand on the line of scrimmage, but at the extreme ends of the offensive positions in football. They are very fast footed players, who must run towards the opposing end line, and catch the passes thrown by the quarterback. In most cases, they are the players who end up scoring the most points, as they are the players who are primarily focusing on crossing the opponent's end line.
The halfback is usually placed behind the fullback, and his main task is to run with the ball towards the opponent's end line. While receiving protection from the FB, he also performs the job of receiving passes sometimes. This player is also known as a Running Back [RB], so he must be incredibly fast and fleet-footed.
The FB is positioned behind the offensive line, down the middle. Placed behind the quarterback he has to block him during passing plays, and he must also protect the halfback during running plays. His tasks are a combination of blocking, running, and some short receiving. The FB usually runs in front of the halfback, when the halfback is in possession of the football, and he tries to provide him with as much protection and free space to run into as he can. Since their main job is of blocking, fullbacks are usually large strong players who have the ability to provide adequate cover.
The offensive formations that a team adopts may vary from game to game, and it even alters many times in an ongoing game. The basic outline remains the same though and there are a wide variety of positions to occupy, but there are minor tweaks and adjustments that can be made every once in a while.
It is said that the best form of defense is to attack, and in the game of football this adage could not be truer. An efficient attack will keep the opposing team on the back foot, and ensure a memorable victory for any team.