Quarterback
Overview
 
Quarterback is a position in American
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

 and Canadian football
Canadian football
Canadian football is a form of gridiron football played exclusively in Canada in which two teams of 12 players each compete for territorial control of a field of play long and wide attempting to advance a pointed prolate spheroid ball into the opposing team's scoring area...

. Quarterbacks are members of the offensive team and line up directly behind the offensive line. Quarterbacks are the leaders of the offensive team, responsible for calling the play in the huddle.

Every play starts with a "snap", an action where the offense's center hands or tosses the ball to the quarterback, or to another offensive player such as a punter or wide receiver.
Encyclopedia
Quarterback is a position in American
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

 and Canadian football
Canadian football
Canadian football is a form of gridiron football played exclusively in Canada in which two teams of 12 players each compete for territorial control of a field of play long and wide attempting to advance a pointed prolate spheroid ball into the opposing team's scoring area...

. Quarterbacks are members of the offensive team and line up directly behind the offensive line. Quarterbacks are the leaders of the offensive team, responsible for calling the play in the huddle.

Every play starts with a "snap", an action where the offense's center hands or tosses the ball to the quarterback, or to another offensive player such as a punter or wide receiver. After receiving the ball, the quarterback either throws a pass or hands it to another offensive player; in some cases, the quarterback keeps the ball in an attempt to run or "scramble" past the defense.

At most levels, but especially at the college and professional level, the quarterback role is one of the most visible and important roles on the team. The quarterback touches the ball on nearly every offensive play and has a great deal of responsibility both in calling plays and making decisions during the play. While there is liberal substitution at most positions in football based on the play call and to minimize player fatigue, most quarterbacks are on the field for every offensive play leaving only for injury or when the game's outcome is no longer in doubt. Quarterbacks are frequently chosen early in the NFL Draft
NFL Draft
The National Football League Draft is an annual event in which the National Football League teams select eligible college football players and it is their most common source of player recruitment. The basic design of the draft is each team is given a position in the drafting order in reverse order...

 and often receive much more lucrative contracts than other positions. As of 2011, players in this position have won more Super Bowl MVP
Super Bowl MVP
The Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award, or Super Bowl MVP, is an award presented annually to the most valuable player of the Super Bowl, the National Football League's championship game. The winner is chosen by a fan vote during the game and by a panel of 16 American football writers and...

 awards (24 of 45) than players at all other positions combined.

As the term "quarterback" gained acceptance in the 1930s, it originally referred to the player's position relative to other members of the offensive backfield. Before the emergence of the T-formation in the 1940s, all members of the offensive backfield were legitimate threats to run or pass the ball, and most teams used four offensive backs on every play: a quarterback, two halfbacks, and a fullback. The quarterback began each play a quarter of the way back, the halfbacks began each play side by side and halfway back, and the fullback began each play the farthest back. Now that most offensive formations have only one or two running backs, the original designations do not mean as much, as the fullback is now usually a lead blocker (technically a halfback), while the halfback or tailback (called such because he stands at the "tail" of the I) lines up behind the fullback.

Traditionally, quarterbacks have been responsible for calling the team's offensive plays based on the defense's
Defense (sport)
In many team sports, defense or defence is the action of preventing an opponent from scoring. The term may also refer to the tactics involved in defense, or a sub-team whose primary responsibility is defense...

 formation, or game situation. To choose the proper play, quarterbacks often spend time rehearsing and studying prearranged plays during their team's practice sessions.

In recent years, the rise of offensive coordinator
Offensive coordinator
An offensive coordinator is a member of the coaching staff of a gridiron football team who is in charge of the offense. Generally, along with his defensive counterpart, he represents the second level of command structure after the head coach...

s has led partiality toward a scripted game plan. The offensive coordinators and coaches usually give the quarterback information via a built-in headphone in the helmet as to what to do before the play. Quarterbacks are allowed to hear, but not talk to, their coaches until there are fifteen seconds left on the play clock. The quarterback then relays the information to teammates and executes the plays. When the players are set in a formation, the quarterback starts the play by calling out a code word, a number, or a combination of the two.

Dallas Cowboys head coach Tom Landry
Tom Landry
Thomas Wade "Tom" Landry was an American football player and coach. He is ranked as one of the greatest and most innovative coaches in National Football League history, creating many new formations and methods...

 was an early advocate of taking play calling out of the quarterback's hands. Although this remained a common practice in the NFL through the 1970s, fewer QBs were doing it by the 1980s and even Hall-of-Famers like Joe Montana
Joe Montana
Joseph Clifford "Joe" Montana, Jr. , nicknamed Joe Cool, Golden Joe, The Golden Great and Comeback Joe, is a retired American football player. Montana started his NFL career in 1979 with the San Francisco 49ers, where he played quarterback for the next 14 seasons...

 did not call their own plays. Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills are a professional football team based in Buffalo, New York. They are currently members of the East Division of the American Football Conference in the National Football League...

 QB Jim Kelly
Jim Kelly
James Edward Kelly is a former American football quarterback in the NFL for the Buffalo Bills and the USFL's Houston Gamblers....

 was one of the last to regularly call plays. Among current NFL QBs, Peyton Manning
Peyton Manning
Peyton Williams Manning is an American football quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League . Manning holds the record for most NFL MVP awards with four. He was drafted by the Colts as the first overall pick in 1998 after a standout college football career with the...

 of the Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts are a professional American football team based in Indianapolis. They are currently members of the South Division of the American Football Conference in the National Football League ....

 and Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan is a Canadian professional ice hockey centre currently playing for Villacher SV of the Austrian Hockey League .-Playing career:...

 of the Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons are a professional American football team based in Atlanta, Georgia. They are a member of the South Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League...

 call all, or nearly all, of their team's plays using a no-huddle offense.

Special tactics

If quarterbacks are uncomfortable with the formation the defense is using, they may call an audible change to their play. For example, if a quarterback receives the call to execute a running play, but he notices that the defense is ready to blitz
Blitz (American football)
In American football or Canadian football, a blitz or red dog is when players on or behind the line of scrimmage during a play, are sent across the scrimmage line to the offensive side to try to tackle the quarterback or disrupt his pass attempt...

 – that is, to send additional defensive backs across the line of scrimmage in an attempt to tackle the quarterback or thwart his ability to pass – the quarterback may want to change the play. To do this, the quarterback yells a special code, like "Blue 42," or "Texas 29," which tells the offense to switch to a specific play or formation.

Also, quarterbacks can "spike
Spike (gridiron football)
In gridiron football, a spike of the ball is a play in which the quarterback intentionally throws the ball at the ground immediately after the snap...

" or throw the football at the ground to stop the official game clock. For example, if a team is down by a field goal with only seconds remaining, a quarterback may spike the ball to prevent the game clock from running out. This usually allows the field goal unit to come onto the field, or attempt a final "Hail Mary pass
Hail Mary pass
A Hail Mary pass or Hail Mary route in American football refers to any very long forward pass made in desperation with only a small chance of success, especially at or near the end of a half....

". However, if a team is winning, a quarterback can keep the clock running by kneeling
Quarterback kneel
In American football, a quarterback kneel, also called taking a knee, genuflect offense, or victory formation occurs when the quarterback immediately kneels to the ground after receiving the snap. It is primarily used to run the clock down, either at the end of the first half or the game itself, in...

 after the snap. This is normally done when the opposing team has no timeouts and there is little time left in the game, as it allows a team to burn up the remaining time on the clock without risking a turnover or injury.

Receiving

While quarterbacks are mainly not a factor in terms of receiving forward passes, some trick plays, like the flea flicker
Flea flicker (American football)
A flea flicker is an unorthodox play in American football designed to fool the defensive team into thinking that a play is a run instead of a pass...

, require quarterbacks to catch a lateral by a wide receiver or running back before delivering a forward pass. In the wildcat formation
Wildcat offense
|- style="text-align:center;"| || |- style="text-align:center;"| Base Wildcat || Speed Sweep|- style="text-align:center;"| || |- style="text-align:center;"| QB Counter || Split Zone|- style="text-align:center;"...

, a quarterback lines up as a flank receiver who can be used to catch a forward pass. Typically the quarterback is not thrown to in this formation, but serves as a decoy, as even the least mobile quarterbacks are capable of catching a ball for positive yardage. Occasionally, some backup quarterbacks may be used to receive long snaps as a holder for field goal
Field goal (football)
A field goal in American football and Canadian football is a goal that may be scored during general play . Field goals may be scored by a placekick or the now practically extinct drop kick.The drop kick fell out of favor in 1934 when the shape of the ball was changed...

 or extra point
Extra Point
Extra Point is a twice-daily, two-minute segment on ESPN Radio that covers generic sports-related topical news and opinion. The AM edition airs Monday through Saturday at various times between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. ET, and the PM edition airs Monday through Friday between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. ET...

 attempts, as quarterbacks generally have good ball handling skills, and may have to become the passer in the event of a bad snap, an aborted kick attempt or a designed trick play.

Under NFL rules, if a quarterback lines up under center, he is by definition ineligible and not allowed to receive a forward pass. However, in college and high school ball, quarterbacks are eligible receiver
Eligible receiver
In American football and Canadian football, not all players on offense are entitled to receive a forward pass. Only an eligible pass receiver may legally catch a forward pass, and only an eligible receiver may advance beyond the neutral zone if a forward pass which crosses the neutral zone is thrown...

s (by a special exemption in the high school rule books) regardless of whether they are under center or in a shotgun formation
Shotgun formation
The shotgun formation is a formation used by the offensive team in American and Canadian football. This formation is used mainly for passing plays, although some teams use it as their base formation. In the shotgun, instead of the quarterback receiving the snap from center at the line of scrimmage,...

. The NFL allows a quarterback in a shotgun formation to receive a forward pass.

Dual-threat quarterbacks

With the rise of several blitz heavy defensive schemes and increasingly faster defensive players, the importance of a mobile quarterback has been redefined. While arm power, accuracy, and pocket
Passing pocket
The passing pocket is a term used in American football to describe the area in the backfield that is created on a passing play where the offensive line forms a wall of protection around the quarterback to protect him...

 presence – the ability to successfully operate from within the "pocket" formed by his blockers – are still the most important quarterback virtues, the ability to elude or run past defenders creates an additional threat that allows greater flexibility in the team's passing and running game.

This is generally more successful at the college level. Typically, a quarterback with exceptional quickness is used in an option offense, which allows the quarterback to either hand the ball off, run it himself, or pitch it to the running back following him at a distance of three yards outside and one yard behind. This type of offense forces defenders to commit to either the running back up the middle, the quarterback around the end, or the running back trailing the quarterback. It is then that the quarterback has the "option" to identify which match up is most favorable to the offense as the play unfolds and exploit that defensive weakness. In the college game, many schools employ several plays that are designed for the quarterback to run with the ball. This is much less common in professional football, except for a quarterback sneak
Quarterback sneak
A quarterback sneak is a play in Canadian and American football in which the quarterback, upon taking the center snap, dives ahead while the offensive line surges forward...

, but there is still an emphasis on being mobile enough to escape a heavy pass rush
Rush (American football)
Rushing has two different meanings in gridiron football .-Offense:The first is an action taken by the offensive team that means to advance the ball by running, as opposed to passing. A run is technically any play that does not involve a forward pass...

.
Super Bowl XXIX
Super Bowl XXIX
Super Bowl XXIX was an American football game played on January 29, 1995 at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, Florida to decide the National Football League champion following the 1994 regular season...

 MVP and Hall of Famer Steve Young
Steve Young
Steve Young is an American football quarterback.Steve Young may also refer to:*Steve Young , country music singer, songwriter and guitarist*Steve Young , industrial rock music songwriter and guitarist...

 was famously known for being a dual-threat quarterback. He was the first player ever to win the Super Bowl with the most touchdowns (6) and being the leading rusher of the game.

Two quarterback system

Some teams employ a strategy which involves the use of more than one quarterback during the course of a game. This is more common at lower levels of football, such as high school or small college, but rare in major college or professional football.

There are three circumstances in which a two-quarterback system may be used.

The first is a circumstance in which a team is in the process of determining which quarterback will eventually be the starter, and may choose to use each quarterback for part of the game in order to compare the performances.

The second, still occasionally seen in major-college football, is the use of different quarterbacks in different game or down/distance situations. Generally this involves a running quarterback and a passing quarterback in an option or wishbone offense. This strategy had all but disappeared from professional football, but returned to some extent with the advent of the "wildcat" offense.

The third is a starter/reliever system, in which the starting quarterback may be replaced later in the game if ineffective. This is distinct from a situation in which a starter is benched in favor of the back-up because the switch is part of the game plan, and the expectation is that the two players will assume the same roles game-after-game. This strategy is rare, and was last seen in the NFL in the "WoodStrock" combination of Don Strock
Don Strock
Don Strock is a former professional football player who was the head coach of the Florida International University football team from 2002–2006.-College:Strock played college football at Virginia Tech, and graduated in 1973...

 and David Woodley
David Woodley
David Eugene Woodley was an American football player and quarterback for Louisiana State University , the National Football League's Miami Dolphins , and the Pittsburgh Steelers...

, which took the Miami Dolphins to the Epic in Miami and Super Bowl XVII
Super Bowl XVII
Super Bowl XVII was an American football game played on January 30, 1983 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California to decide the National Football League champion following the strike-shortened 1982 regular season...

 the following year.

See also

American football quarterbacks
Canadian Football League quarterbacks
  • List of quarterbacks with multiple Super Bowl wins

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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