When special teams in football take the field, there can be a lot of excitement. Just think, an opening kickoff, a game-tying attempt at a field goal, or a punt to a dynamic punt returner all can encourage fans to be on the edges of their seats.
What are special teams in football?
A special team in football is a unique unit that is only in for certain plays of a football game. They are responsible for the kicking plays that include punts, field goals, and kickoffs.
- Special teams are the often-forgotten about the third unit that can win or lose games.
- Some players only play on special teams while other players will be brought in from other offensive or defensive positions.
- Special teams are used for both the offensive and defensive sides of plays involving field goals, kickoffs, and punts.
- Special teams are needed to pin the other team back on punts and to kick high-pressure field goals when the game is on the line.
- Onside kicks, fake punts, and fake field goals are included in special teams.
What is considered special teams in football?
Special teams are considered the third unit that makes up a football team. Special team players are equipped to handle any kicking play, including punts, field goals, and kickoffs. They handle kick and punt returns, blocked punts, and onside kicks. They do not handle regular offensive and defensive plays.
Are special teams important?
Special teams can win or lose games. Teams with a good special teams unit will be able to kick field goals routinely and have good coverage on punts and kickoffs. Teams with a bad special teams unit rely on their offense to score all the points and aren’t confident in their placekicker.
When is special teams used?
Special teams are used whenever teams attempt a field goal or turn the ball over to the other team with a punt or kickoff. Some of the personnel of special teams are only used for these moments; however, some of the blockers and rushers are also a part of the offense or defensive unit.
What positions play on special teams?
Long Snapper – These players are the center during field goals and punts. They must snap the ball between seven and 15 yards to the holder during field goals and to the punter during punts.
Blockers – Blockers can be arranged differently depending on each play, but their roles are critical.
Rushers – These players rush the punter or placekicker on punts and field goal attempts. They are used only when their team is receiving a punt or defending a field goal attempt.
Holder – This player is only in for field goal attempts. The holder receives the snap and holds the ball for the placekicker to kick field goals and extra-point attempts. The holder is often a backup quarterback or punter.
Placekicker – This player is only in for field goal and extra-point attempts as well as kickoffs. They attempt field goals and kick the ball off to start a half or after their team scores.
Punter – This player is only in for punts. They try to pin the other team back as close to the end zone as possible without getting a touchback.
Punt/Kick Returner – This player is only in for punts and kickoffs where his team will receive the ball. Once receiving the ball, they will attempt to either run it back for a touchdown or call a fair catch.
Gunner – These players are responsible for tackling the punt or kick returner. They are used only when their team is punting or kicking off.
What makes special teams different from the normal offense and defense?
Special teams are sort of like a hybrid between both offense and defense. They do a little bit of both. After punting, they turn into defense. If the other team is punting, they turn into offense once they receive the ball.
How to do an onside kick?
Onside kicks are one of the most interesting plays in football. Executing one is difficult and would have to include a little bit of skill and luck. The kicker must hit the ball into the ground at an angle while his team sprint to recover the ball. Once the ball has traveled 10 yards, the kicking team may recover the ball. This play requires luck to get a good bounce and skill to get the kick right while being in sync with the rest of the team.
The special teams in football can have a major impact on the outcome of a game. Plus, plays featuring special teams can be some of the most exciting to watch.
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