Sporting Charts

Running Back

What does Running Back Mean?

This is an offensive position on a football team whose responsibility it is to run the ball and occasionally catch short passes. The running back is usually considered the primary option for all rushing plays. There are, however, a few other positions on the team who will occasionally run the ball. Many teams have at least one or two starting running backs, and most have one or two backups as well.

If a running play is called, the individual will most often assume a position behind the offensive line. Depending on the play called, they may be positioned next to the quarterback or possible behind and to the side. If a pass play is called, a running back may be used to run a short route.


Sporting Charts explains Running Back

Prior to the popularity of passing in the modern National Football League, running the ball was the most popular way to advance the football down the field. The running backs were considered the premium stars, such as Walter Payton or Jim Brown. In the modern game, running backs typically work in pairs to reduce the wear and tear on their bodies. Since players are bigger and faster, having only one star running back on a team is risky because of the potential for injuries. Examples of well known running backs include: Marcus Allen, Marshall Faulk, Emmitt Smith, Adrian Peterson and Reggie Bush.

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