A fullback is one of the eleven offensive players on the field during an American Football game. The fullback position primarily acts as an offensive blocker but can also run and catch the ball on plays. The fullback position size is similar to a tight-end player, so they also have different roles to perform on offense depending on the play.
Here is the complete breakdown of a fullback position in American football.
What Does a Fullback Do in Football?
A fullback player generally lines up near the quarterback in the backfield before the snap. Their primary role is to be a blocker during a passing or running play for the offense. Occasionally you will see a fullback run with the ball during short-yardage situations, like a third and one or a play to score on the goal line.
On top of blocking defenders and running with the ball, fullbacks will occasionally catch a pass from the QB via short-yardage situations. A screen pass to a fullback is a good option for a QB since the fullback’s size allows them to break tackles, which makes up for their lack of speed.
What is the Difference Between a Fullback and a Halfback?
While a fullback and halfback are both running back position players lined up behind the center on the offensive line, they have different roles.
Fullbacks tend to block defensive players more often than running the ball themselves, which is the opposite mindset for a halfback. If the offense football team asks them to be a ball carrier for a running play, it is usually during a third and short play or on the goal line. Since the fullback is big and strong, they can break tackles and get a first down and touchdown, which makes up for their lack of speed.
The fullback can also catch the ball on some plays, but they generally don’t have as good hands as a running back, tight end, or wide receiver. A screen pass play to a fullback is a good option if the offense only needs a yard or two to continue the drive. In this scenario, the fullback player needs to muscle their way forward to get their team the first down instead of juking the defense for a big gain in yards.
Is the Fullback a Hard Position to Play?
The fullback position is challenging to play on any college or NFL team. With the passing game so prevalent today, fans might overlook the offensive team’s blocking from getting to the quarterback. Since the fullback is bigger and stronger than a halfback, they are expected to hold back the defenders from getting to the QB on most plays.
The fullback also has to run on running plays even if they don’t have the football. For example, during a hand-off to the running back, the fullback needs to run into the line of scrimmage and block the first defender they see. Running into the line of scrimmage has hard and fast contact, but they need to stay on their feet and create a lane for the running back to run through to get positive yards.
Finally, the fullback, at times, will need to run and catch the ball. College Football and NFL teams might ask the fullback to crash the line on a run play or catch a quick pass from a QB to get the first down or touchdown.
What Makes a Good Fullback in Football?
A good fullback is a big, strong player that can occasionally catch/run with a football. However, unlike a halfback that expects to run for big yards and evade tackles, the fullback should crash into players to pick up short-yard gains. Outside of running with the football, the fullback should anticipate blocking on most plays for the offense.
What is the Average Height and Weight of a Fullback Position Player?
According to Uidaho.edu, the average height of an NFL fullback is six feet, which is about 1-2 inches taller than a halfback position. The average weight of the fullback football position is around 250 pounds, whereas the running back is closer to 214 pounds. A tight-end player, similar to a fullback, is 6 foot 3 inches and 254 pounds.
Do Fullbacks Play on the Special Teams?
Due to the size and weight of fullback players, you will see some teams put them on special teams. Sometimes the fullback player will play on the receiving end of a kick/punt return to help hold back defenders trying to get to the returner as they run with the ball.
Are There any Fullbacks in the National League Football Hall of Fame?
Some of the most famous fullbacks in the Hall of Fame include Jim Brown, Larry Csonka, John Henry Johnson, Marion Motley, and Joe Perry. You can check out the complete list of fullback players in the hall of fame with this link.
Why is it Called a Fullback?
The name “fullback” refers to the position of where this player lines up on the offense. During a traditional offensive line formation, the fullback stands directly behind the quarterback on a play.
Conclusion: What is a Fullback in Football
In summary, a fullback is one of the eleven players on the offense during a game. While they are technically a running back position, you will see fullback players primarily block defenders on most plays. Occasionally, NFL teams will have a fullback run in short-yardage situations like being on the goal line. However, they are mainly blockers on plays today.