First off, I know that’s not a question. But today I want to talk about something that confused me at first: why isn’t my favorite player on the field all the time? That has to do with the teams within a team.
Stick with me here.
We’ve discussed a bit about offense and defense, but today we’re going to talk about how they’re really like little teams within the bigger team. And then there’s special teams – another part of the team as a whole.
I should type team again.
Team! Team! Team!
Anyway, it’s like these are totally different departments at a company. Marketing and Accounting do not do the same thing at all, but they both want to make the company money. Occasionally Juan and Gary from Marketing, and Sally from Accounting, might work together on a special project. But pretty much, everyone sticks to their own department.
Can we take a moment and honor the fact that I used a business metaphor for sports, rather than a sports metaphor for business?
Here are the departments – in football, called PLATOONS – within a team:
Offense – You remember these guys – they’re the ones trying to get the ball to the goal to earn the points. On offense, you’ll notice the Quarterback, who calls plays, and most often has control of the ball first. He might pass to a Wide Receiver, or hand it off to a Running Back who will run it, or maybe he will run it himself, or maybe something else. He also has an Offensive Line. These guys look like defense, but they aren’t. They are offense because they are there to protect the play – whatever the Coach and the Quarterback have designed to do to get downfield. Remember, the defense wants to stop the offense, so the “O-line” stops the stopping from starting.
See? Football isn’t confusing!
Defense – It seems like this would just be the biggest guys possible, running at the Quarterback. Sometimes that is true. There are those guys – the Defensive Line. Then, there are positions to defend very long passes or very quick runners. The Corners stop receivers. The Safety is like the last line of defense. If the Safety doesn’t get ’em, then they are in trouble!
A note about Corner: they’re actually called Cornerbacks. But that sounds super close to Quarterbacks. Go ahead. Say it. Cornerback Quarterback Cornerback Quarterback.
So most people just say Corner.
Special Teams – Remember Juan and Gary and Sally? They may be from different departments, but they work on special projects. That’s like Special Teams. Special Teams have players work together at specific times in the game – usually “kicking plays.”
It’s time to punt. The Long Snapper will snap the ball back (kinda far) to the Punter, who then kicks it strategically downfield. The Punt Returner then catches it and runs it back as far as he can. Of course, there are all of those big guys in the middle, trying to stop the strategies from working. They might have been on defense or offense, but during this play, they are on Special Teams.
11 – No Matter What
Every platoon has eleven players. No team can have more on the field, or there’s a penalty. You’ll notice I didn’t name all of the eleven positions in each platoon – just the highlights.
C’mon! I’m still a Rookie!