A fullback is one of the eleven offensive players on the field during an American Football game. Primarily acting as a blocker, they can also run and catch the ball on plays. Similar to tight ends in size, fullbacks have various roles depending on which play is called for.
Here is a comprehensive breakdown of a fullback position in American football.
Table of Contents
What Roles Does a Fullback Play in Football?
A fullback player typically lines up near the quarterback in the backfield before snapping. Their primary responsibility is to be a blocker during passing or running plays for the offense. You may see them run with the ball during short-yardage situations like third and one or plays to score on the goal line.
On top of blocking defenders and carrying the ball, fullbacks sometimes catch passes from quarterbacks in short yardage situations. A screen pass to a fullback is an ideal option since their size allows them to break tackles, making up for their lack of speed.
What Is the Distinction Between a Fullback and Halfback?
Though both running back positions are lined up behind the center on an offensive line, their roles differ.
Fullbacks often opt to block defensive players instead of running with the ball, which is completely opposite from a halfback’s mindset. If an offense football team asks them to be part of a running play, it usually occurs during third and short or on the goal line where their size and strength allow them to break tackles and get a first down and touchdown despite lacking speed. This makes up for their lack of quickness on offense.
On some plays, a fullback can catch the ball; however, their hands typically don’t match those of running backs, tight ends or wide receivers. Screen pass plays to a fullback are ideal when an offense only needs a couple yards to continue their drive. In such cases, they must make strides forward instead of trying to outmuscle their way past defenses for big gains in yards.
Is Playing Fullback a Struggle?
The fullback position can be a formidable position to play on any college or NFL team. With the passing game so popular today, fans may overlook the offensive team’s blocking efforts when it comes to getting to the quarterback. As fullbacks are bigger and stronger than halfbacks, they are expected to hold back defenders from reaching QBs on most plays.
The fullback must also run on running plays even if they don’t have the football. For instance, during a handoff to the running back, they need to run into the line of scrimmage and block any defender they come across. Running into this line has hard and fast contact but requires them to stay upright while creating space for their running back to run through for positive yards.
Finally, the fullback may need to run and catch the ball at times. College and NFL teams might ask him to break through on a run play or catch a quick pass from their quarterback for a first down or touchdown.
What Makes a Good Fullback in Football?
A successful fullback is a big, strong player who can catch and run with the football. However, unlike halfbacks who aim for long yards while dodging tackles, fullbacks should crash into opponents for quick gains. Outside of running with the football, fullbacks should expect blocking duties on most offensive plays.
What is the average height and weight of a fullback position player?
Uidaho.edu reports the average height of an NFL fullback is six feet, about two or three inches higher than a halfback position. On average, they weigh 250 pounds while running backs tend to weigh closer to 214 pounds. Tight-end players, like fullbacks, average 6 feet 3 inches tall and 254 pounds each.
Do Fullbacks Participate on Special Teams?
Given the size and strength of fullback players, some teams opt to utilize them on special teams. Sometimes the fullback player will play on the receiving end of a kick/punt return in an effort to hold back defenders trying to get to them as they run with the ball.
Are There Any Fullbacks in the National League Football Hall of Fame?
Some of the greatest fullbacks in history include Jim Brown, Larry Csonka, John Henry Johnson, Marion Motley and Joe Perry.
What Is a Fullback Position Called?
The term “fullback” describes the position of this player on offense. In a traditional offensive line formation, they stand directly behind the quarterback during a play.
Conclusion: What is a Fullback in Football?
In conclusion, fullbacks are one of the eleven players on offense during a game. Although technically running backs, you often see fullbacks blocking defenders on most plays. On rare occasions, NFL teams might use them as runners in short yardage situations like at the goal line; however, for now their primary role remains that of blocking.