Offensive backfield

The offensive backfield is the area of an American football field behind the line of scrimmage. The offensive backfield can also refer to members of offense who begin plays behind the line, typically including any backs on the field, such as the quarterback, halfbacks and fullback.[1]

Play in the backfield

Most running plays begin with a hand-off in the offensive backfield. All kicks and punts must take place in the offensive backfield. If the offensive ball-carrier is tackled in the backfield, the team will lose yards, in that the distance they need to attain for a first down is more than at the beginning of the play.


There are many rules which differ for play in the offensive backfield as opposed to play in front of the line of scrimmage. The 1906 football rule reforms mandated that the offensive team line up with at least seven players on the line of scrimmage, which are now commonly called "lineman". Therefore, a maximum of four players are allowed in the offensive backfield. The other players not on the line of scrimmage may be positioned anywhere, but all must be at least 1 yard behind the seven or more players on the line of scrimmage.[2] A forward pass can only be legally made from the offensive backfield.


The modernization of the roles of lineman and backs is often traced to Amos Alonzo Stagg.[3] Some of the greatest backfields in the history of college football include those of the 1912 Carlisle Indians, 1917 Georgia Tech Golden Tornado, 1924 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and 1945 Army Cadets. Joe Guyon was a member of both the aforementioned Carlisle and Georgia Tech teams.

Typically, quarterbacks or halfbacks passed the ball, and fullbacks handled kicking duties.


  1. ^ "Offensive Backfield Definition - Sporting Charts". Retrieved 2017-12-18.
  2. ^ "NFL Rules Digest: Positioning of Players at Snap".
  3. ^ Edwin Pope. Football's Greatest Coaches. pp. 231–232.
1969 New York Giants season

The 1969 New York Giants season was the franchise's 45th season in the National Football League (NFL). The Giants moved back to the Century Division in 1969, after one season in the Capitol Division. They finished with a 6–8 record, and had one victory less than the previous year. New York placed second in the Century Division, four-and-a-half games behind the Cleveland Browns.Before the season, the Giants selected Fred Dryer in the first round of the 1969 NFL/AFL Draft, with the 13th overall pick, and traded with the Atlanta Falcons for running back Junior Coffey in late October. New York lost all of their preseason games, including a 37–14 rout by the New York Jets at the Yale Bowl in New Haven, leading them to fire head coach Allie Sherman in September, a week before the regular season began. Offensive backfield coach Alex Webster was promoted to head coach.The Giants opened the season with a win against the Minnesota Vikings, the eventual league champion, and held a 3–1 record after four games. However, they went on a seven-game losing streak, then won the final three games in December to close out the season.

1973 New Orleans Saints season

The 1973 New Orleans Saints season was the team's seventh as a member of the National Football League (NFL). They improved on their previous season's output of 2–11–1, winning five games. The team failed to qualify for the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season.

New Orleans made a disastrous trade in January, dealing the No. 2 overall selection in the 1973 NFL Draft to the Baltimore Colts for defensive end Billy Newsome. The Colts used the traded pick to select LSU quarterback Bert Jones, who guided the team to three consecutive AFC East division championships from 1975–77.

J.D. Roberts, who became the Saints' second head coach midway through the 1970 season, was fired August 27, two days after a 31-6 loss to the New England Patriots in the fourth exhibition game. Roberts was replaced by offensive backfield coach John North. Roberts ended his Saints tenure with a 7-25-3 mark.

The Saints opened the year with a 62–7 loss to the Atlanta Falcons at home. The first quarter of that game was scoreless. Eight days later, they were destroyed on Monday Night Football by the Dallas Cowboys, 40-3.

They did however hold O. J. Simpson to 74 yard on 20 carries in the team's first ever shut-out, with a 13–0 win over the Buffalo Bills. Simpson went on to break the single season rushing record in yardage that year with 2,003.

Back (disambiguation)

Back may refer to:

In anatomy, the dorsal side of the torso in humans and other primates

Back (horse), the back of a horse

Human back, the large posterior area of the human body, rising from the top of the buttocks to the back of the neck and the shoulders

Bill Stukus

William Stukus (May 15, 1916 – July 1, 2003) was a Canadian football quarterback.

Stukus started with the Toronto Argonauts, winning a Grey Cup in 1937 and 1938, and being named an all-star. Perhaps his best season was in 1942, with the wartime all-military Toronto RCAF Hurricanes, when he was an all-star, won a third Grey Cup and was the Ontario Rugby Football Union Imperial Oil Trophy winner as MVP. He played with the Toronto Indians and then returned to the Argonauts in 1947, winning his fourth Grey Cup. He played 48 regular season and 17 playoff games for the Argos. He finished his career playing three seasons with the Edmonton Eskimos.While serving in the RCAF during the war, he also had the good fortune to play in the famed Tea Bowl, where the Canadian Army football team defeated the American Army team 16-6 at White City Stadium on February 13, 1944 in London, England.Bill was one of the famed Stukus brothers. Bill and his brothers Annis and Frank played together in the offensive backfield of the 1938 Grey Cup champion Argonaut team.

Charlie Waller (American football)

Charlie F. Waller (November 26, 1921 – September 5, 2009) was an American Professional Football head coach for the San Diego Chargers from 1969, the last season of the American Football League, to 1970, the first season of the merged National Football League. His total coaching record at the end of his career was 9 wins, 7 losses and 3 ties. Waller was offensive backfield coach and took over for Chargers head coach Sid Gillman on November 14, 1969 after Gillman's resignation due to poor health, Gilman remained as General Manager.

After Gillman's health improved he was named Charger head coach on December 30, 1970 and Waller offensive coach. He is a 1942 graduate of Oglethorpe University and a 1980 inductee in its Athletic Hall of Fame. He was head football coach at Decatur, Georgia High School in the 1940s. In 1951, he joined Ralph Jordan's staff as offensive backfield coach at Auburn University.Waller was later an assistant coach for George Allen and the Washington Redskins.

Dan Roushar

Dan Roushar (born September 27, 1960) is an American football coach who is currently the offensive line coach for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League (NFL). He was previously the tight ends coach and running backs coach for the Saints and, before that, the offensive coordinator at Michigan State. Roushar has served as an assistant coach with several teams, beginning in 1986 as the offensive backfield coach with Butler. He formerly held the offensive coordinator position at Butler, Ball State, Northern Illinois, Illinois, and offensive line coach at Cincinnati.

Fullback (gridiron football)

A fullback (FB) is a position in the offensive backfield in American and Canadian football, and is one of the two running back positions along with the halfback. Typically, fullbacks are larger than halfbacks and in most offensive schemes their duties are split between power running, pass catching, and blocking for both the quarterback and the other running back.Many great runners in the history of American football have been fullbacks, including Jim Brown, Marion Motley, Jim Taylor, Franco Harris, Larry Csonka, John Riggins, Christian Okoye, and Levi Jackson. However, many of these runners would retroactively be labeled as halfbacks, due to their position as the primary ball carrier; they were primarily listed as fullbacks due to their size and did not often perform the run-blocking duties expected of modern fullbacks. Examples of players who have excelled at the hybrid running-blocking-pass catching role include Mike Alstott, Daryl Johnston, and Lorenzo Neal.

Jim Root (gridiron football)

James Frederic Root (August 17, 1931 – May 26, 2003) was an American gridiron football player and coach. He played professionally as a quarterback in the National Football League (NFL) for two seasons with the Chicago Cardinals (1953, 1956) and in the Canadian Football League (CFL) for one season with the Ottawa Rough Riders (1954). Root served as the head football coach at the University of New Hampshire from 1968 to 1971 and at the College of William & Mary from 1972 to 1979, compiling a career college football record of 57–62–2 in 12 seasons. Root was a native of Toledo, Ohio. He played college football at Miami University under Woody Hayes and Ara Parseghian. Root began his coaching career in 1958 as the backfield coach at Tulane University. He moved to the University of Miami as backfield coach in 1960. Root then coached for one season, in 1964, as offensive backfield coach at Dartmouth College, before moving to Yale University, where he served in the same capacity for three seasons.

Jim Spavital

James J. Spavital (September 15, 1926 – March 7, 1993) was an American gridiron football player, coach and executive in six different professional football leagues. He served as the head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League (CFL) from 1970 to 1973 and as head coach of the Chicago Fire of the World Football League (WFL) in 1974. Spavital was the general manager of the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders from 1979 to 1982 and the Michigan Panthers of the United States Football League (USFL) in 1983.

Jim Strong (American football coach)

Jim Strong (born November 16, 1954) is a former college football coach. He is best known for being the head coach of the UNLV Rebels, as well as serving as an assistant coach and offensive coordinator for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Strong joined head coach Lou Holtz' staff at Arkansas in 1983, and followed him to Minnesota and eventually Notre Dame. At Notre Dame, Strong had a successful tenure as offensive coordinator and offensive backfield coach, including the 1988 national championship season. In December 1989, Strong was named the head coach of the football program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In making the hire, the UNLV Athletic Director asserted Strong's background in recruiting, his energy, and the success of Notre Dame. His initial contract was for five-years at a salary of $95,000 a year.Strong arrived at a UNLV program that had fallen under the shadow of the highly successful men's basketball program under Jerry Tarkanian; in his first meeting with the university Faculty Senate, he noted "They don't know us because we are a premier academic institution. We will be someday. But they know us because we've got a basketball team that won the national championship."After leaving UNLV, Strong changed careers and became a real estate broker in Branson, Missouri.

List of pseudo-German words adapted to English

This is a list of pseudo-German words adapted from the German language in such a way that their meanings in English are not readily understood by native speakers of German (usually because of the new circumstances in which these words are used in English).

blitz or "the Blitz" (chiefly British use) – The sustained attack by the German Luftwaffe during 1940–1941, which began after the Battle of Britain. It was adapted from "Blitzkrieg" (lightning war). The word "Blitz" (a bolt of lightning) was not used in German in its aerial-war aspect; it acquired an entirely new usage in English during World War II.In British English, blitz is also used as a verb in a culinary context, to mean liquidise in a blender, a food processor or with a handheld blender stick.

In American football, a blitz occurs when some defensive players (other than those on the defensive line) abandon their normal positions, attack the offensive backfield, and try to overwhelm the offensive blockers before the quarterback or ball carrier can react. A blitz could cause a loss of yards, a sack, a risky throw, an incompletion, a fumble, or an interception. Because it can leave the defensive structure undermanned, a blitz is a high-risk, high-reward defensive strategy that can be used against either the passing game or the running game.

hock (British only) – A German white wine. The word is derived from Hochheim am Main, a town in Germany.

stein or beer stein – A beer mug made of stoneware or earthenware. The term is derived from German Steinzeug, "stoneware," a material that went out of fashion for beer mugs at the end of the 19th century and was replaced by glass. See Humpen.

Mox nix! – From the German phrase, "Es macht nichts!" Often used by U.S. servicemen to mean "It doesn't matter" or "It's not important".

strafe – In its sense of "to machine-gun troop assemblies and columns from the air", strafe is an adaptation of the German word strafen (punish).

Million Dollar Backfield (Chicago Cardinals)

The Million Dollar Backfield was a National Football League (NFL) offensive backfield of the Chicago Cardinals in 1947 after an unprecedented amount of money by Cardinals owner Charles Bidwill lured several of the day's top players to the team. The Million Dollar backfield was also referred to separately as the Dream Backfield by Bidwill.

Million Dollar Backfield (San Francisco 49ers)

The Million Dollar Backfield was a National Football League (NFL) offensive backfield of the San Francisco 49ers from 1954 to 1956. Featuring quarterback Y. A. Tittle, halfbacks Hugh McElhenny and John Henry Johnson, and fullback Joe Perry, the backfield was also referred to as the "Fabulous Foursome" and "Fearsome Foursome" by sportswriters. Formed well before players earned six-figure salaries, the unit was named as such for its offensive prowess, and compiled record offensive statistics. It is regarded as one of the best backfields compiled in NFL history, and is the only full house backfield to have all four of its members enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Milton Romney

Milton Addas "Mitt" Romney (June 20, 1899 – November 10, 1975) was an American football player who played in the offensive backfield for the Racine Legion from 1923 to 1924 and was a quarterback for the Chicago Bears from 1925 to 1928. Romney played quarterback for the University of Chicago in the early 1920s when it had a winning varsity team, and was elected captain of the team in 1922. After graduating from the University of Chicago in 1923, Romney was head basketball coach at the University of Texas at Austin during the 1922–23 season. He coached the Longhorns to a record of 11–7.

Romney was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is the cousin of George W. Romney, father of former Massachusetts Governor and 2012 Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney is his namesake and is a first cousin once removed. Romney died in Little Rock, Arkansas on November 10, 1975.

Nine-man football

Nine-man football is a type of American football played by high schools that are too small to field teams for the usual 11-man game. In the United States, the Minnesota State High School League, North Dakota High School Activities Association, and South Dakota High School Activities Association hold high-school state tournaments in nine-man football.

The size of the playing field is often smaller in nine-man football than in 11-man. Some states opt for a smaller, 80-yard-long by 40-yard-wide field (which is also used in eight-man and six-man); other states keep the field of play at the standard 100 yards long while reducing the width to 40 yards, some even play on a full-sized playing field (with the 53 1/3 yard-wide field). In games played on 80-yard fields, kickoffs take place from the 20-yard line rather than from the 40-yard line.

A similar nine-man modification of Canadian football is played on the Canadian standard 110-yard field by small schools in the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta and for small community associations in British Columbia. It is the standard format of play for eight- and nine-year-olds. The format is similar for five-, six-, and seven-year-old flag football, where the field is reduced to 50 yards by 50 yards.

The rules require that the offense align four players in the backfield and five on the line of scrimmage. A standard I formation has a quarterback, a fullback, a tailback, and five linemen. Usually, the outside linemen are a tight end and a wide receiver, but the alignment varies by formation. The fourth player in the offensive backfield often plays as an additional wide receiver or tight end.

A common defensive formation is the 3-3-2, with three defensive linemen, three linebackers, and two defensive backs with one safety.

The games are frequently high-scoring because the number of players is reduced by more than the size of the field; thus, fast players usually find more open space to run within the field of play.

Some leagues, like the Sunday Football League in Grand Rapids, Michigan, have used nine-man football as a way of furthering their "Passion to Play". They play 16-game seasons and keep full statistics. Their format differs slightly in field size, but formations are similar with the exception of a "lurker" in the deep backfield. Typically, the lurker leads the team in interceptions and spies on the quarterback on deep passes.

In France, most competitions are played nine-man: games and leagues involving 19-year-old players or younger, division 3 (Le Casque d'Argent) and regional leagues. Blocking under the belt is strictly forbidden under nine-man French rules, but the field size remains the same as in standard 11-man American football.

The junior division (under 18s) of every state in Australia also play nine-man football. The game is played on a full-sized field, with modified timing rules (10-min quarters, running clock except the last 2 min of each half).

In Norway, division 1 games are traditional 11-man games, while division 2 games are nine-man football.

Italy, Poland and Argentina also have nine-man leagues.

In Germany, some lower youth classes play in nine-man leagues.

In Israel, the Israel Football League is a nine-man league.

Pass rush

On defense in American football, rushing is charging across the line of scrimmage towards the quarterback or kicker in the effort to stop or "sack" them. The purpose is tackling, hurrying or flushing the quarterback, or blocking or disrupting a kick. In both college and professional football, getting a strong pass rush is an important skill, as even an average quarterback can be productive if he has lots of time to find an open receiver, even against a good secondary. To increase pressure, teams will sometimes use a pass-rushing specialist, who is usually a quick defensive end or outside linebacker tasked with aggressively rushing the quarterback in obvious passing situations.One of the most effective methods of rushing the passer is by using a stunt or twist, which is when defensive players quickly change positions at the snap of the ball and engage a different blocker than the offense expected. Defenses typically task three or four defensive lineman to rush the passer on most plays, but most will occasionally increase pressure by blitzing one or more non-lineman at the quarterback when a pass play in anticipated.

A pass rush can be effective even if it does not sack the quarterback if it forces the passer to get rid of the ball before he wanted to, resulting in an incomplete pass or interception. To attack a strong pass rush, offenses can throw quicker short passes or run draw plays or screen passes, which are design to lure defenders into the offensive backfield and then quickly get a ball carrier behind them.

Running back

A running back (RB) is an American and Canadian football position, a member of the offensive backfield. The primary roles of a running back are to receive handoffs from the quarterback for a rushing play, to catch passes from out of the backfield, and to block. There are usually one or two running backs on the field for a given play, depending on the offensive formation. A running back may be a halfback (in certain contexts also referred to as a tailback), a wingback or a fullback. A running back will sometimes be called a "feature back" if he is the team's starting running back.

Shotgun formation

The shotgun formation is a formation used by the offensive team in American and Canadian football. This formation is used mainly for passing plays, although some teams use it as their base formation. In the shotgun, instead of the quarterback receiving the snap from center at the line of scrimmage, he stands farther behind the line of scrimmage, often five to seven yards back. Sometimes the quarterback will have a back on one or both sides before the snap, while other times he will be the lone player in the backfield with everyone spread out as receivers.

The shotgun formation can offer certain advantages. The offensive linemen have more room to maneuver behind the scrimmage line and form a tighter, more cohesive oval “pocket” in which the quarterback is protected from “blitzing” by the defense. If the quarterback has speed, mobility or both, he can use this formation to scramble before his pass; or, to run to an open field position in the defensive secondary or to the sideline, usually gaining first-down yardage.

The formation also has weaknesses. The defense knows a pass is more than likely coming up (although some running plays can be run effectively from the shotgun) and there is a higher risk of a botched snap than in a simple center/quarterback exchange. If the defense is planning a pass rush, this formation gives fast defensive players more open and exposed targets in the offensive backfield, with less cluttered “blitzing” routes to the quarterback and any other halfback in the offensive backfield.

Shotgun combines elements of the short punt and spread formations — "spread" in that it has receivers spread widely instead of close to or behind the interior line players. The origins of the term are thought to be that it is like a "shotgun" in spraying receivers around the field. (The alignment of the players also suggests the shape of an actual shotgun.) Formations similar or identical to the shotgun used decades previously would be called names such as "spread double wing". Short punt formations (so called because the distance between the snapper and the ostensible punter is shorter than in long punt formation) do not usually have as much emphasis on wide receivers.

Spy (gridiron football)

In American football, a spy is a defensive player assigned to cover an offensive backfield player man-to-man when they are expected to engage in a running play, but the offensive player does not run with the ball immediately.

This strategy is generally used with "dual-threat" quarterbacks who may be expected to run on their own after expected passing plays break down, with the defensive player floating near the line of scrimmage, following the quarterback's movements.Spies are also sometimes known as "keys". Generally, spies are linebackers.

Levels of play
Play clock

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.