Understanding the offensive positions in football can help you better understand and enjoy watching the game.
The offense is the part of a team which focus is on scoring points to win the football game.
There are 11 players on Offense and 11 players on Defense.
The Offensive line is the group of players on the line of scrimmage who block to help move the ball forward. The Offensive line does not carry the football.
The Offensive line consists of the Center, who conveniently is the "center" of the line and hikes the ball to the Quarterback.
On each side of the center are the Guards. On the right side of the right guard is the right Tackle, and on the left side of the left guard is the left Tackle. On the end outside of a Tackle is the Tight End. In some formations, there could be two tight ends, though typically there is only one. The tight end can block or go out for a pass.
In addition, on the line of scrimmage is typically a wide receiver. There must be 7 players on the line of scrimmage (the line where the football is from sideline to sideline) and 4 players in the backfield (behind the line of scrimmage).
The Wide Receiver runs out to catch a pass or block downfield on running plays.
In a typical offense, there is also a Slot back, also called a slot receiver (shown on the image below as Z) who typically runs a pass pattern or blocks on runs. In addition, the slot back can also be used as a running back on reverses and other plays.
The Quarterback is often the most well known player on a team. He is responsible for running the offense, calling the plays, starting each play (with what is called a cadence – blue 24, blue 24, hut hut hut). The QB either hands the ball off, throws a pass, or keeps the ball and runs for yardage.
In the backfield, usually directly behind the QB are two runnings back, the Fullback and the Tailback. The fullback is the first of the two guys and the tailback is the second one back. In a typical play, the fullback may block for the tailback, though there are a lot of plays where the fullback can receive the ball.