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Encyclopedia > Quarterback
Navy quarterback Aaron Polanco sets up to throw.
Navy quarterback Aaron Polanco sets up to throw.

Quarterback (QB) is a position in American and Canadian football. Quarterbacks are members of the offensive team and line up directly behind the center, in the middle of the offensive line. A quarterback is usually the leader of the offensive team, responsible for calling the play in the huddle. He initiates almost all plays by receiving the ball from the center, although occasionally teams will use a "direct snap" to another offensive player. Once the quarterback receives the snap, he can run with the ball, hand the ball to another player or attempt a forward pass. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1595x1242, 568 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Quarterback Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from the digital camera or scanner used to create... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1595x1242, 568 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Quarterback Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from the digital camera or scanner used to create... Teamwork: Fourth Class Midshipmen lock arms and use ropes made from uniform items as they brace themselves climbing the Herndon Monument The United States Naval Academy, or USNA, is an institution for the undergraduate education of officers of the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps. ... Diagram of a Canadian football field. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into American football positions. ... The offensive team or offense in American football or Canadian football, is the team that begins a play from scrimmage in possession of the ball. ... A diagram of the linemen, with defensive linemen (in 4-3 formation) in red and offensive linemen in green. ...

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. Quarterbacks are frequently chosen early in the NFL Draft and often receive much more lucrative contracts than other positions. As of 2007, players in this position have won more Super Bowl MVP awards (21 out of 41 to be exact) than any other position. The NFL Draft (officially the NFL Annual Player Selection Meeting[1]) is an annual sports draft in which National Football League (NFL) teams take turns selecting amateur college American football players and other first-time eligible players. ... The Super Bowl MVP, or Super Bowl Most Valuable Player, is an award given at the conclusion of the Super Bowl, the National Football Leagues championship game, to the player deemed to have made the most significant positive impact on the outcome of the game. ...


Origin of term

The term quarterback has its origin in Scottish Rugby, wherein backfield players, according to their customary distance behind the forwards, were designated "quarter back" (i.e. ¼ of the way back), "halfback", and "fullback".[citation needed] Eventually in rugby the English-Irish nomenclature prevailed, with halfback, three-quarters back, and fullback; in some places, notably New Zealand, the term "five-eighths back" is used as well. For other uses, see Rugby (disambiguation). ...

Special tactics

If quarterbacks are uncomfortable with the formation the defense is using, they may call an audible to change their play. For example, if a quarterback receives the call to execute a running play, but notices the defense is ready to blitz, the quarterback may want to change the play. In order to do this, the quarterback will yell a special code, like “Blue 42” or “Texas 29”, which informs the offense to switch to a specific play or formation. In American football, a blitz is a defensive maneuver in which one or more linebackers or defensive backs, who normally remain behind the line of scrimmage during a play, are instead sent across the line to the opponents side in order to try to tackle the quarterback. ...

Also, quarterbacks can "spike," or throw the football at the ground, in order 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 in order 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". However, if a team is winning, a quarterback can keep the clock running by kneeling 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. A Hail Mary pass or Hail Mary play in American football is a forward pass made in desperation, with only a very small chance of success. ...

Changing roles

Calling the plays

Traditionally, quarterbacks have been responsible for calling the team’s offensive plays based on the defense’s formation, or game situation. In order to choose the proper play, quarterbacks will often spend time rehearsing and studying pre-arranged plays during their team’s practice sessions. The actual play starts with a “snap”, an action where the offense’s center lineman gives the ball to the quarterback. A quarterback who receives the ball has the option either to throw it to a receiver, to hand it to a running back or to keep the ball in an attempt to run or “scramble” past the defense. In sport, defense (AmE) and defence (CwE) is the action of preventing an opponent from scoring. ... P.J. Daniels was a star running back for Georgia Tech from 2002-2005. ...

In recent years, the rise of offensive coordinators have promoted a partiality towards a scripted game plan. The offensive coordinators and coaches will 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 talk to their coaches until there are fifteen seconds left on the play clock.[1] The quarterback will then relay the information to teammates and execute the plays. When the players are set in a formation, the quarterback will start the play by calling out a code word, a number or a combination thereof. An offensive coordinator typically refers to a coach on a football team in the National Football League (or at others levels of American football) who is in charge of the offense. ...

Michael Vick uses his mobility to elude a defender at the NFL's 2006 Pro Bowl
Michael Vick uses his mobility to elude a defender at the NFL's 2006 Pro Bowl

Image File history File linksMetadata VICKpb. ... Image File history File linksMetadata VICKpb. ... Michael Dwayne Vick (born June 26, 1980 in Newport News, Virginia) is an American football quarterback for the National Football Leagues Atlanta Falcons franchise. ... The 2006 AFC-NFC Pro Bowl was played on February 12, 2006 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. ...

Dual threat quarterbacks

With the rise of several blitz heavy defensive schemes, the importance of a mobile quarterback has been redefined. While arm power and accuracy 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 game.

See also

As of 2006, there are nine starting quarterbacks with multiple Super Bowl wins. ...


  1. ^ Mayer, Larry, When does radio communication get cut off? (August 15, 2007), chicagobears.com. Retrieved on August 16, 2007.

External links

  • Sports Illustrated's 10 Best Journeymen
  • Quarterback Drills - Football plays & drills resource for coaches & players.

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