Saturday, December 31, 2016

Talking Ball: who, or What, is a "Tight End"?

Sport: football (NFL);

Position: Tight End

In sport where many of the key players are referred to as "backs" or "backers" the tight end certainly stands out (with apologies to the centre, tackle and other "non-back" positions).

An offense hybrid position that is both an eligible receiver and who will step into some plays and block the defense. This position combines the attributes of receivers and lineman and will block during a running play or run a route during a passing play.

The advent of the tight end position is closely tied to the decline of the one-platoon system during the 1940s and '50s. Originally, a rule derived from the game's evolution from other forms of football limited substitutions. Consequently, players had to be adept at playing on both sides of the ball, with most offensive linemen doubling as defensive linemen or linebackers, and receivers as defensive backs. At that time, the receivers were known as either ends or flankers, with the end lining up wide at the line of scrimmage and the flanker positioned slightly behind the line usually on the opposite side of the field.

As the transition from starters going "both ways" to dedicated offensive and defensive squads took place, players who did not fit the mold of the traditional positions began to fill niches. Those who were both good pass catchers and blockers but mediocre on defense were no longer liabilities; instead, a position evolved to capitalize on their strengths. Many were too big to be receivers yet too small for offensive linemen.

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