What is C in Football? 

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We use C for the Centre or Center in football. C is a position of a player in North American football. North American football, also known as Gridiron football. Canada and the United States people play football.  

Terms Used in Football

Before we dig deep into the Center, we shall discuss some of the terms we use in the football game. 

Let’s have a look-

Line of Scrimmage

The commentators and referees frequently use the term’ line of scrimmage. So many people that are new to the sport may need clarification on this term and what it actually is! So, coming to the point, 

The line of scrimmage is the line of players to start a play. It is an imaginary line on the football field. It separates the defensive and offensive teams before the start of each play. It is parallel to the goal lines and tangent to the nose of the ball that is laid on the ground. This line is the biggest and is often shown in blue color on television.  

The line of scrimmage is always moving. It moves with the ball, either backward or forward, as the ball moves throughout the play. So, we have a question: if the line of scrimmage is moving, where is the line of scrimmage?

The line of scrimmage is the yard line showing the ball’s location on the field. It marks the position of the ball at the start of each down.

Football Field Yard Lines

The yard line is a line on the football field denoting the length of a single yard. In total, there are 99 yards lines on the football field, and their names are based on the location of that line.

Goal Line

The goal line is a line on the football field. It marks the front of each end zone.


The offensive lineman is mainly responsible for protecting the quarterback and blocking during passing plays and runs.

Offensive Line 

Front players position themselves in an offensive formation along the line of scrimmage at the beginning of every down, called the Offensive line. It directly faces the defensive field on the line. It is a group of five players. 

An offensive line has a center, two tackles, and two guards. The Center has to snap the ball to the quarterback.


The team with the possession of the ball is on offense. Therefore, the players with the offensive unit are called offensive players.

 In football, a team never defends with the same players or in the same play. Both teams have two different units- a defense and an offense. They never take the field at the same time. The offense unit of only one team is on the field at a time. There are separate coaches that handle offense and defense.


 The term snap in football is the motion that starts in offensive play. Sometimes it is called a hike. It is a backward pass of the ball from the Center to the quarterback. It begins at the line of scrimmage. First, the ball is placed at the line of scrimmage. Then, the Center holds it and throws the ball through his legs into the hands of the quarterback to begin the play, which either stands a few yards in the offensive backfield or behind the Center.


A quarterback is a player in football who handles the ball more than other players and leads the offense. He has ball-passing skills, and the ball is always snapped to the quarterback to begin the play. He can hand off the ball, throw a pass or run with it.

A quarterback directs the play, communicate with teammates, reads the defense, and manages the clock.  

Now, you got the terms in football that are used. So let’s get back to the term C in football. 

What is C in Football?

C in Football

We discussed above that C (Center) is a position in American football. The Center is the innermost lineman, positioning himself in the middle of all five offensive line players on a football offense team in front of the quarterback. 

The Center is an essential part of the offensive line. At the start of each play, he passes the ball through his legs to the quarterback.

He is a primary protector of the quarterback after passing the ball. 

On a balanced offensive line, the Center has one guard and one tackle on both sides. He passes the ball through his legs to the quarterback to begin the play. 

On defense, there is no center- the specific position. Still, the middle of the defensive line is often called the ‘defensive interior’ or ‘interior line,’ and nose guards and defensive tackles are included. Their role is to stop the run and push the pocket, making it difficult for the quarterback to throw the ball.

Center became necessary as a football team needs somebody who can neutralize the nose tackle to do the running game effectively. And the Center can do it. 

Qualities of Center

The Center must have some qualities to make the game better. Let’s see-

  1. He must be agile and robust, as he has to move quickly to get into position and start blocking after passing the ball.
  2. The Center should be aware of the time left on the clock and the game situation so that he can deliver the ball quickly to avoid a delay of game penalty.
  3. The Center should be able to deliver the ball accurately and quickly to the quarterback, who will either throw it to a receiver, hand it off to a running back, or keep it and run with it himself.
  4. He must be skilled in different types of snaps.                                                                       For example: In a shotgun snap, though the quarterback stood several yards behind the Center, the ball is delivered to the quarterback.                                                                  In the shotgun snap, the Center has to snap the ball higher than the traditional snap so that the quarterback can catch the ball comfortably.
  5. The Center must be perfect to work nicely with the other members of the offensive line, particularly the guards, in creating combination blocks or double teams for moving the nose tackle off the line of scrimmage.
  6. The Center should be able to recognize the frailty (weaknesses) of the nose tackle to help the running back and decide the direction of the run.
  7. The Center must have the ability to recognize the personnel groups and different alignments so that he can protect the quarterback by making the proper protection calls. He should have a better understanding of the defensive schemes also.
  8. The Center should be able to read the defensive alignment, make quick decisions on creating the gaps, and execute the blocks.
  9. The Center should have the quality of working well with the other offensive line members and creating double teams that will help move the defensive linemen off the line of scrimmage and better protect the quarterback.
  10. The Center must also have the ability to communicate effectively with the quarterback and the offensive line, as well as the coaching staff, and make any necessary adjustments to the blocking assignments based on their input.
  11. The Center should have a strong understanding of the defensive schemes and an ability to recognize the personnel groups and different alignments.
  12. Additionally, The Center needs to have the vision to identify the different schemes-stunts, blitzes, and games that the defense uses to create pressure on the quarterback in the play.

Roles and Responsibilities of Center in Football

In football, the Center is a crucial position on the offensive side of the ball. He is an important player. He has some responsibilities in football play. The Center is also the offensive line leader and is responsible for ensuring that everyone executes their assignments correctly.

The Center has five primary responsibilities in football;

  1. To snap the ball to the quarterback at the beginning of each play
  2. To protect the quarterback by blocking defenders from being sacked and opening the holes for the running back
  3. To communicate for blocking adjustments and shifting 
  4. To create gaps for the ball carrier
  5. To counter the defensive line players (nose tackle)

We shall discuss those responsibilities one by one.

1. To Snap the Ball

The most important role of a center is to snap, that is- to pass the football to the quarterback. It is the starting point of every play. 

The quarterback may change the position of the ball, so the Center must be able to snap the ball with either hand. 

The Center should deliver the ball with the right trajectory and velocity, enabling the quarterback to catch the ball in a comfortable position. In addition, he should provide it with a consistent technique to avoid the mishandled snap.

2. To Protect the Quarterback

The Center plays a vital role in protecting the quarterback in football. He works with the other offensive line members and creates a protection wall in front of the quarterback. 

He is responsible for blocking the defensive linemen, particularly the nose tackle, positioned directly opposite the Center, to stop them from moving to the quarterback.

Sometimes, a defensive player combats the quarterback from behind the line of scrimmage, or defensive players of the opposing team can break the offensive line and they get a direct path to the quarterback. And to block these attempts, the Center, with other players in the offensive line, forms a circle around the quarterback.

3. To Communicate 

Communication is a crucial responsibility of the Center’s role in football. The Center is the leader of the offensive line. He communicates for blocking adjustments and shifting for the other offensive line members and better protects the quarterback. 

The Center is often the first player to see the defensive alignment and should have the ability to communicate accurately and quickly to the rest of the offense. He should also be able to communicate clearly and effectively, using the appropriate terminology and signals.

The Center also has to communicate with the quarterback regarding- the adjustment of the blocking assignment for the offensive line and the running backs for the protection call. But, again, the Center is responsible for making these calls based on the play and the defensive alignment.

The Center has to communicate clearly and effectively with the quarterback and the offensive line. In addition, he has to use the right signals and terminology to make any necessary adjustments based on the defensive alignment. 

4. To Create Gaps for the Ball Carrier

The Center creates gaps by executing a combination block with one of the tackles or guards. The Center, guard, or tackle work together to block a defensive tackle or end, thus creating a gap for the running back to run through.

The Center may adjust the blocking assignments to create gaps in certain field areas according to the defensive front. 

Additionally, the Center is also responsible for recognizing the defense’s weaknesses, for example- identifying weaknesses of a specific defender, such as he might be weaker than the others. And to take advantage of that weakness, the Center can adjust the blocking assignments.

5. To Counter the Defensive Line Players 

The Center and the nose tackle are key players on opposite sides of the line of scrimmage in football. As the Center is positioned on the offensive line, his responsibility is to counter the players in the opposing team’s defensive line. 

The Center blocks the nose tackle and creates running lanes for the running back. On defense, the interior defensive nose tackles are responsible- for stopping the run, pushing the pocket, and getting pressure on the quarterback. And thus, they disrupt the passing game. For this game, they use the combination of technique and power to get into the backfield by beating their blockers.

The Center has to adjust his techniques by reading the nose tackle’s movements. When blocking the nose tackle, the Center’s primary responsibility is to involve him with his hands and upper body. He has to maintain body positioning and proper leverage to control the nose tackle’s movement. For this, the Center must have good hand placement, strong upper body strength, and firm footwork. 

Run Blocking

The Center has responsibility for run blocking. He works with the other offensive line members to open running lanes for the running back. 

The assignments of run blocking vary. It is based on the defensive formation and the current play when the ball is snapped. While blocking, the Center maintains proper body positioning and leverage to control the defender’s movement and open running lanes for the running back.

These assignments of Center are-

  1. To assist guards in blocking assignments. In this assignment, a double team of Center and guard may work together to target the same to get the extra push to move the defensive linemen off the line of scrimmage and open running lanes for the running back. 
  2. To block defensive tackles at the backside for pulling the guards.
  3. To block backside or middle linebackers in certain formations and to move up to secondary levels if the linebacker is absent.

Pass Blocking

The Center plays a crucial role in pass blocking. For a center, pass blocking is similar to run blocking. 

He understands the defensive schemes, personnel groups, and different alignments well. So he can best protect the quarterback from the pass rush with the help of other offensive line members.

According to the defensive lineman’s movements center adjusts the techniques. First, he engages the defensive lineman with his upper body and hands to control the defender’s movement to prevent him from getting to the quarterback.

The Center identifies stunts, blitzes, and games and makes some adjustments to protect the quarterback.


C in football is used for the player’s position- Center in American football. He is an integral part of the offensive line. In addition, he is a primary protector of the quarterback after passing the ball. 

He is responsible for a snap, protecting the quarterback, communicating, creating gaps, and countering the defensive line players.

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Hi, I am Madhuri Kherde, an educationist and founder of TheBestUknow.com. I like teaching as well as blogging. I hope you may like my posts on this website.