Special Team Positions 

The special team positions in football adds a lot of excitement to the field. Consider how an opening kick-off, a game-tying field goal attempt, or a punt to a dynamic punt returner can all get spectators on the edge of their seats.  Special team positions in football are a one-of-a-kind squad that only appears during plays in a football game. Several players solely participate on special teams, whilst others are called up from other offensive or defensive positions.

Special teams are employed on both the defense and the offensive sides of field goal, kick-off, and punt plays. So, when the game is on the line, special teams are expected to push the other team back on turnovers and to attempt high-pressure field goals. Special teams include field goals, fake punt returns, and fake field goals.

What Makes Special Team Positions ?

The special teams of a football team are considered the third unit. Punts, field goals, and kick-offs are all handled by special teams players. They are in charge of kick and punt returns, as well as blocked punts and onside kicks. They are unable to manage standard offensive and defensive plays.

 A successful special teams unit will be able to consistently kick field goals and provide solid coverage on punts and kick-offs. Teams with a weak special teams unit rely entirely on their offense to score all of their points and have little trust in their placekicker.

When is Special Team Positions Used ?

Special teams are employed anytime a team attempts a field goal or punts or kicks the ball to the opposing team. Some special teams personnel are exclusively utilised for these occasions; however, some blockers and rushers are also members of the offence or defence.

Special Team Positions are Unique Following

Kickers, holder, long snapper, blockers, rushers, placekicker, punter, gunner, kick returner Long Snapper -The offensive centre position, but this player specializes in long snaps for punts and field goal attempts. A long snapper must generally snap the ball seven to eight yards behind him for field goal attempts and thirteen to fifteen yards behind him for punts with enough accuracy to allow the holder or punter to handle the ball cleanly.

Placekicker – This player is just available for field goals, extra points, and kick-offs. They try field goals and kick the ball off at the start of a half or when their side scores.

Punter – On fourth down, an offensive may not attempt to get a first down because if they do, the other team will get the ball precisely where the offence was stopped. Instead, the coach may use the punter. This athlete may kick the ball to the opposite team while holding it high in the air to keep the opposition team away from the end zone. On field goals, some punters also hold the ball for the kicker, and they may kick off after a safety if the rules allow it.

Holder – The player who takes the snap from the centre and throws it to the ground for the placekicker to kick through to the goalpost uprights. When attempting a field goal, the holder must catch the ball and set it in an advantageous kicking position, preferably with the laces pointing away from the kicker.

Kick Returner – A kick returner is an athlete who gathers kick-offs and attempts to return them in the opposite direction. He is generally one of the team’s speedier players, serving as a reserve wide receiver.

Gunner – Special teams’ players that race downfield to tackle the kick or punt returner. Gunners often line up on the offensive line’s outer edge and are frequently double-teamed by blocks.

Upback – In punting situations, the upback is a blocking back who stands 1-3 yards behind the line of scrimmage. Because the punter plays so far back, the back regularly makes line calls and interacts with the long snapper when it is time for the punter to receive the ball. Their primary function is to serve as the punter’s last line of defence; however, during fake punts, upbacks may receive the snap instead and either pass or run with the football. Upback positions are often filled by backup running backs or line-backers.

Jammer – During punts and kick-offs, jammers attempt to slow down gunners so that returners have more time to get down the field.

Blocker – Blockers can be positioned in many ways depending on the situation, but their functions are crucial.

Personal Protector – These players are members of the punting squad. It is their duty to intercept and block any rushers who get beyond the line until they hit the punter. On the punt team, they also function as team leaders, ensuring adequate personnel, announcing block assignments, and even calling the snap count.

Why Are Special Team Positions Important ?

In the NFL, special teams plays may appear to be automatic. Sure, there is the odd spectacular return or blocked kick, but the most of the time, special teams fills in the gaps among offensive plays. Do not be misled into thinking they are insignificant. Because of the infinite hours invested in practise and preparation, special teams might seem monotonous at times. This demonstrates not only the players’ but also the coaches’ abilities. The same may be said for punters and long snappers.

 Every season, poor players in any of these positions may cost NFL clubs a game or two, which can be the gap between a playoff run and an early January vacation.

Football clubs may lose or win games just as easily on special teams as they can on offence or defence. The kicker is frequently the team’s highest scorer. 


Special teams are on the field during kick-offs. While many players on offensive and defensive teams also play comparable responsibilities on special teams, there are several specific duties that are exclusive to the kicking game. Special teams are the often-overlooked third unit that may make or break a game. In this article we discuss about special team positions. We hope this will help your knowledge.

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