A formation in football refers to the position players line up in before the start of a down. There are both offensive and defensive formations and there are many formations in both categories. Sometimes, formations are referred to as packages.
At the highest level of play in the NFL and NCAA, the one constant in all formations is the offensive line, consisting of the left and right tackle, left and right guard, and a center. These five positions are often referred to collectively as the "line", and have the primary role of blocking. By rule there must be two additional players on the line of scrimmage called ends. These players are eligible receivers and may play near the linemen (tight ends) or farther away (split end or wide receiver). Most teams play additional players near (but still off) the line of scrimmage to act as extra pass receivers.
Up to four players can be behind the offensive line, but one is always designated the quarterback (defined as the player who receives the ball from the center). Upon the snap of the ball, the quarterback becomes the ball carrier. The ball carrier has five options:
The three other backs can be halfbacks, (who primarily carry the ball), fullbacks, (who primarily block), or they can play near (but not on) the line of scrimmage to act as extra tight ends or wide receivers. A tight end that fills the role as the 4th back is often called an "H-Back" and a wide receiver that fills that role is sometimes known as a "flanker" or a "slot" receiver (depending on where he lines up). Most formations have a "strong" side (the side with the tight end, or the side with more players) and a "weak side" (the side opposite the tight end, or the side with fewer players).
Descriptions and diagrams to display offensive formations typically use the following symbols:
The offense is required to set up a formation before a play, subject to several rules:
Two terms often heard in referring to defensive formations are box and secondary. The box is defined as an area on the defensive side of the ball, within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage and framed by the offensive tackles. This area is most commonly occupied by defensive linemen and linebackers. The secondary can refer to the defensive backs as a group, or to the area behind the linebackers usually occupied by defensive backs. The two standard NFL defenses, the 4-3 and the 3-4, have 7 players in the box. The phrase "8 in the box" is used to indicate that 1 of the 2 safeties has moved into the box to defend against the run.
The three basic defensive positions are:
Rules regarding defensive formations are not as complex or strict as their offensive counterparts. The defense may line up anywhere on its side of the neutral zone, and players are free to move at any time before the snap, but all defensive players must remain on their side of the neutral zone (defined as the length of the ball) before the snap. If they line up on the wrong side of the line, the offending players are offside. The exception is during a field goal attempt, PAT, or punt. The defense is only allowed a maximum of 6 players on the line of scrimmage on either side of the snapper at the snap. Having 7 or more players on the line on one side will result in an illegal formation penalty. The standard defensive formations in use at most levels of American football are the result of decades of experimentation, trial and error, along with rule changes in the 1950s that eliminated the one-platoon system and gave greater prominence to lighter, faster linebackers (prior to the 1950s, most defensive formations were mirror images of those used on offense).
This formation assumes the offense is lined up strong side right (from the offense's point of view). This diagram could be matched up to an offensive formation diagram to make a complete 22 player football field.
|Positions in American football and Canadian football|
|Offense (Skill position)||Defense||Special teams|
|Linemen||Guard, Tackle, Center||Linemen||Tackle, End||Kicking players||Placekicker, Punter, Kickoff specialist|
|Quarterback (Dual-threat, Game manager, System)||Linebacker||Snapping||Long snapper, Holder|
|Backs||Halfback/Tailback (Triple-threat), Fullback, H-back, Wingback||Backs||Cornerback, Safety, Halfback, Nickelback, Dimeback||Returning||Punt returner, Kick returner, Jammer, Upman|
|Receivers||Wide receiver (Eligible), Tight end, Slotback, End||Tackling||Gunner, Upback, Utility|
|Formations (List) — Nomenclature — Strategy|
Strategy forms a major part of the game of American football, and both teams plan many aspects of their plays (offense) and response to plays (defense), such as what formations they take, who they put on the field, and the roles and instructions each player are given. Throughout a game, each team adapts to the other's apparent strengths and weaknesses, trying various approaches to outmaneuver or overpower their opponent to score more points in order to win the game.Defensive coordinator
A defensive coordinator is a coach responsible for a gridiron football (American football) team's defense. Generally, the defensive coordinator and the offensive coordinator represent the second level of a team's command structure, with the head coach being the first level. The primary role of the defensive coordinator is managing the roster of defensive players, overseeing the assistant coaches, developing the defensive game plan, and calling plays for the defense during the game. The defensive coordinator typically manages multiple assistant coaches, each of whom are responsible for various defensive positions on the team (such as the defensive line, linebackers, or defensive backs).While the job of defensive coordinator is largely similar at the collegiate and professional level, college coaches are more involved in the recruitment process. A successful defensive coordinator is often a stepping stone to the position of head coach.
Other major sports with strong delineation between offensive and defensive positions use similar coaching positions. For example: Phil Housley served as a defensive coordinator for the National Hockey League's Nashville Predators from 2013 to 2017.Eight-man football defensive formations
There are several
defensive formations commonly used in eight-man football. Defensive formations are classified by the total number of linemen and linebackers in the formation. The three basic types of formations in eight-man football are seven-man fronts, six-man fronts and five-man fronts.
As in 11-man football, formations are described in a (number of defensive linemen)-(number of linebackers)-(number of defensive backs) format.Glossary of American football
The following terms are used in American football, both conventional and indoor. Some of these terms are also in use in Canadian football; for a list of terms unique to that code, see Glossary of Canadian football.List of formations in American football
The following is a list of common and historically significant formations in American football. In football, the formation describes how the players in a team are positioned on the field. Many variations are possible on both sides of the ball, depending on the strategy being employed. On offense, the formation must include at least seven players on the line of scrimmage, including a center to start the play by snapping the ball.
There are no restrictions on the arrangement of defensive players, and, as such, the number of defensive players on the line of scrimmage varies by formation.Oklahoma City Stars
The Oklahoma City Stars are the athletic teams that represent Oklahoma City University, located in Oklahoma City, in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The university fields 17 varsity sports teams, and these teams compete in the NAIA and the Sooner Athletic Conference in all sports except women's wrestling which competes in the Women's College Wrestling Association.
Until 1985, the Stars competed in the NCAA Division I Horizon League, which was known as the Midwestern City Conference at that time.Punt (gridiron football)
In American and Canadian football, a punt is a kick performed by dropping the ball from the hands and then kicking the ball before it hits the ground. The most common use of this tactic is to punt the ball downfield to the opposing team, usually on the final down, with the hope of giving the receiving team a field position that is more advantageous to the kicking team when possession changes. The result of a typical punt, barring any penalties or extraordinary circumstances, is a first down for the receiving team. A punt is not to be confused with a drop kick, a kick after the ball hits the ground, now rare in both American and Canadian football.
The type of punt leads to different motion of the football. Alex Moffat invented the now-common spiral punt, as opposed to end-over-end.