Friday, January 29, 2010

Offense and Defense Collide on The Gridiron!

In the words of the great Vince Lombardi, "Football is not a contact sport, it is a collision sport!" So, now that we have learned what each unit on a football team is responsible for, let's discuss what happens when they collide on the Gridiron!

The football field, sometimes called a gridiron, is 100 yards long and 53 yards wide. The end zones (where scoring happens) are an additional 10 yards on each end of the field. Starting at each end zone, white dashes along the field called yard markers highlight each yard. Every 10 yards, this marker is a line and a number. Each side of the field has 50 numbered yards. The end zone is zero and the middle of the field is marked by the 50 yard line. The area between the goal line and the 20 yard marker on each side is considered the “Red Zone” because the Offense is expected to score a touchdown or at minimum a field goal when it is in this area. The white dashes and lines help officials keep track of the ball, identify downs and determine the placement to start the next play. During a game, you can use them to easily notice what yard your team is on and how many yards they gained or loss!

This diagram illustrates the field and a typical Offense (O) and Defense (X).


Outside Linebacker / Middle Linebacker
Wide Receiver
Tight End
Running Back (Fullback / Halfback)
* Safeties and Cornerbacks are Defensive Backs

As we learned yesterday, the game begins with a Kickoff. This determines where the first drive of the game will begin. Unless the Receiving Team returns the ball for a touchdown, its Offense will take possession of the football at the spot where the return ended. The Kicking Team’s Defense will come out and line up facing them at this spot. This point is called the line of scrimmage. From here, the Offense snaps the ball and the play begins.

To accomplish their goals, both the Offense and Defense implement different types of strategies. My favorite offense is the Spread Offense. On defense, I like to see a Blitz or Nickel Package. In the diagram above you see a basic offense with two receivers. In a Spread Offense, the offensive line spreads out and adds one or two more Wide Receivers to the line replacing the Running Backs in the scheme and giving the Quarterback more options for his passing game. As you know, a blitz is used when the Linebackers and Cornerbacks join the line to rush the Quarterback. However, I think the best response to a Spread Offense is a Nickel Package. In a Nickel Package, another Defensive Back (usually a Cornerback) is added. This provides five players that have speed and can catch to respond to all of the Wide Receivers used in a Spread Offense. If the Defense decides to add a sixth Defensive Back, the scheme is called a Dime Package.

Now you have the basic to the game. Test some of your knowledge with the NFL's quiz and you might win a $50 NFL Shop gift card!

OK ladies, you are almost ready for the Super Bowl!


Heels & Helmets

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