Common Offensive Formations In Football

offensive formations football

The football acumen recognizes some significant formations that are crucial to running plays and passing plays. Teams adopt sundry formations and strategies to advance the ball in the most efficient way. On offense, at least seven players are required on the line of scrimmage including the center who begins the play with a snap on the line. However, teams employ a variety of strategies in their play. For instance, the shotgun formation was credited for the success of Tom Landry led Dallas Cowboys team of the 1970s and the 1990s Buffalo Bills team under Mark Levy in the NFL. Despite this, it does not stand unrivaled; there are several variations that are experimented and practiced by different teams. Considering the same, it is prudent to be well versed with some of the most popular and common offensive formations in football.

Popular Offensive Formations in Football

  • Shotgun:

This formation finds the quarterback positioned about five yards behind the center. This is used primarily for passing, however the quarterback might use another running back or run himself. The placement of the players is such that the quarterback can see the defense and the field properly. However, this place has a disadvantage of fewer running options as the defense can easily suspect that the play is going to be a pass.

  • Singleback:

Single back requires the running back to be placed behind the quarterback.  In such a case, the players who are not on the line of scrimmage could be four wide receivers or three wide receivers with one tight end.  This formation enables pass play but could be effectively used for running as well.

  • Pistol:

The formation is a shotgun variation where the quarterback is sited closer than in standard shotgun (three to four yards behind the center). Besides this, the running back is lined up behind, instead of being next to the quarterback. Pistol provides the player a better look past the offensive line and at the defense. For the same reason, this formation is an integral part of NCAA football.

  • I-formation:

One of the most widely used formation at all levels of football, this involves two running backs and the quarterback to be behind the center.  The fullback is right behind the quarterback and the tailback is positioned behind a fullback. The two backs could either be in a line (because of which the formation looks like a letter I) or with the fullback on either side.

  • Wildcat:

This formation uses more tight ends and less wide receiver along the line of scrimmage with no quarterback. Thus, a running back takes over the quarterback position and runs the ball. Even though this formation is limited to running plays, an extra back for the runner can be employed in the absence of a quarterback.

It is imperative to educate kids and players about the range of formations that exist and the number of variations possible. This will enable a team to construct their own unique strategy and not follow the commonplace formations.

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