Football Basics: Defense

The Role of Special Teams in Football

method of starting a drive in gridiron football

Method of starting a drive in gridiron football.

Special teams in football are often overlooked, but they play a crucial role in the game's outcome. This unit will delve into the various aspects of special teams, including kickoff and punt formations, the roles of the kicker and punter, kick and punt returns, and the importance of field position in football.

Kickoff and Punt Formations

At the start of each half and after every score, the game is restarted with a kickoff. The kicking team lines up at their 35-yard line and the kicker kicks the ball towards the opposing team. The receiving team's goal is to catch the ball and advance it as far as possible towards the opponent's end zone.

A punt is similar to a kickoff but occurs when a team fails to achieve a first down after three attempts. The punter kicks the ball away to the opposing team to prevent them from starting their offensive drive close to the end zone.

The Role of the Kicker and Punter

The kicker and punter are specialized roles within the special teams. The kicker is responsible for kickoffs and field goal attempts. A successful field goal can score three points, making the kicker a valuable asset in close games.

The punter, on the other hand, is called upon when the team fails to make a first down. The punter's job is to kick the ball as far as possible to make it harder for the opposing team to score.

Kick and Punt Returns

Once the ball is kicked or punted, the receiving team attempts to return the ball as far as possible. The returner's goal is to evade the opposing team's players and advance the ball towards the opponent's end zone. A successful return can shift the momentum of the game and put the returning team in a favorable position.

The Importance of Field Position in Football

Field position refers to where on the field the offensive team starts their drive. A team starting closer to their own end zone has a longer field to cover to score, while a team starting closer to the opponent's end zone has a shorter distance to cover. Special teams play a crucial role in determining field position through kickoffs, punts, and returns.

In conclusion, special teams play a vital role in football. They can influence the game's momentum and determine the starting field position for the offensive team. Understanding the role of special teams is crucial for a comprehensive understanding of football.