Blocking in football is one of the true fundamentals. It’s the equivalent of tackling on the defensive side. If a team blocks well on offense, it puts the team in a position to do the things they want to do. Poor blocking can cause a myriad of misfortunate events. Learn more about this important skill by reading on.
What is blocking in football?
Blocking is a legal form of obstructing another player’s path in football. Blocking is executed by the team in possession of the football in an effort to create more opportunities for their team to get the ball down the field.
- Blocking is performed on every play of a football game, one of the essential components of football.
- Offensive linemen are the most common blockers, blocking to create gaps on run plays and protect the quarterback from on-rushing defenders.
- Well-executed blocks can allow running backs to squeeze through the defensive line or give the quarterback more time to find a receiver.
- Blocking is a skill that every offensive player needs to be able to execute very well.
Who blocks in football?
Any member of the team with possession of the ball can block. Blocks are done on kickoffs, punts, field goal attempts, and routine plays from the line of scrimmage. From plays from scrimmage, offensive linemen always block, while running backs and wide receivers can turn into blockers as well, depending on the situation.
What is a legal block in football?
A legal block occurs when the player blocking hits the opponent on the framework of the front side of the body. Several penalties can be called on the blocker if the blocker does something wrong.
How to block in football
When blocking, it is crucial to move quickly with short, choppy steps and keep pushing until everything is clear. Blocking can make or break a play and a drive. If one player doesn’t execute their block, that can lead to a significant loss of yards or even a turnover.
Best Blockers in NFL History
It’s hard to identify the best of all time, given the changes in the game, but here are one man’s thoughts:
- John Hannah
- Anthony Munoz
- Randall McDaniel
- Larry Allen
- Jim Parker
- Forrest Gregg
- Ron Yary
Blocking by position
Here are some different positions with an explanation of their blocking roles.
Blocking as an offensive lineman
Offensive linemen command the offense through their powerful ability to push the defensive line backward. If they cannot do that, then the run game will not be successful. The center, guards, tackles, and tight ends are often the most overlooked positions on the football field.
Proper Technique for Blocking Video
As a running back
Running backs don’t get much credit for blocking, but they can also be crucial in protecting the quarterback. While they don’t push the defensive line back, they are the last line of defense before the defense gets to the quarterback on pass plays.
Blocking as a receiver
Receivers aren’t known for blocking, but it is still essential for them to block. They won’t be near the offensive line, and they won’t be there to protect the quarterback. Instead, they will be out wide. It is common for a receiver to block for another receiver on screenplays. Additionally, receivers turn into blockers once someone other than themselves receives the ball.
What is a pancake block?
A pancake block is when an offensive player blocks a defensive player so well that it leaves the defensive player flat on his back. Pancake blocks are legal as long as the blocker doesn’t hold or use any form of unnecessary roughness.
A Pancake Block Video
What is a chop block?
A chop block is when an offensive player blocks a defensive player’s legs with his arms and shoulders while the defensive player is engaged with another offensive player. This is an illegal move that is penalized 15 yards. Before 2016, the chop block was legal in the NFL for specific situations.
The Chop Block in Football Video
The difference between blocking and holding
It is crucial that blockers avoid holding as much as possible. Essentially, blocking is pushing without getting a firm grip on the opponent’s jersey or equipment. Once the blocker gains an exact grip of their opponent, a holding penalty may be called if spotted. It results in a 10-yard penalty. Holding is among the most common penalties called against offensive linemen regularly.
Multiple penalties can be issued for hazardous blocks. Some of the most common penalties among blockers include: holding results in a 10-yard penalty, block in the back results in a 10-yard penalty, chop block results in a 15-yard penalty, unnecessary roughness results in a 15-yard penalty, blocking below the waist results in a 15-yard penalty, and an illegal blindside block results in a 15-yard penalty.
You’re on our Blocking in Football page.
You might like:
Football Terms and Definitions
Audible definition for Football
Offensive, Defensive, and Special Teams positions guide
NFL Logos Ranked Worst To First