One look at the sideline of a football game and you can tell pretty quickly that football is one of the largest team sports out there. But how many players are on a football team? The answer to this question varies depending on which league you are referring to.
That’s why we’ve created this guide to answer all your questions regarding the number of players on a football team.
NFL teams carry 55 players, college teams have roughly 90-110 players and high school teams can have anywhere from 40-70 players.
How Many Players Are On An NFL Team?
An NFL roster has a total of fifty-five players on it throughout the season. Though only forty-eight of these players are eligible to play in a given game.
Prior to the start of the season, NFL team rosters are much bigger. You are able to bring a total of eighty players to training camp. Though the September 5th deadline marks the day you will have to cut your roster down to fifty-five.
NFL teams are also able to keep a total of 16 players on a practice squad. These players can be used in practice but must be elevated to the active roster in order to play in a game.
NFL teams will also have scout teams which can carry five additional players associated to the football tema.
How Many Players Are On A College Football Team?
For the majority of college football programs, there is no set limit on the number of players they are able to have on their team. This leads to a very uneven number of total players throughout college football teams.
Though NCAA division one football does limit the number of scholarships to eighty five. This makes it more difficult to attract players than eighty-five as they would be playing without any scholarship funding.
That being said there are many division one college football players that do play without a scholarship.
Though there is no hard evidence supporting the exact average of a College football team our research led us to believe the average should be in the range of 90-110 players on the roster.
How Many Players On A High School Football Team
You should find the largest rosters will have roughly 100 high schoolers on their roster. While the average school should have somewhere from 40-70 players on their roster.
Though high school football teams have the largest variety when it comes to football team sizes. NFL linebacker Leighton VanDer Esch played in an eight-man football league in high school and his graduating class only featured eleven students.
That being said the majority of states have no rules regarding the max number of players. The number of players playing on your team is going to be dependent on the size of your school as well as the level of interest in American football in your area.
Why do football teams have so many players?
Now that you know how many players are on a football team you may be wondering why these teams have so many players.
The main reasons that teams carry so many players in football are injuries and position specialization.
It is no secret that football is a violent sport. If you watch football often you’ll know that players will wind up getting injured in almost every game.
It isn’t uncommon for a team to lose a large number of players in a single game.
This frequency of injuries is why football teams can only play one game a week. Sports like baseball are much less likely to result in injury and are able to play a game almost every day.
In order to combat these injuries, football teams need to have backups ready to play. Since there are many positions on a football team there are going to be a lot of backups.
On top of backups, some positions are going to require several players on the field at one time. This means you will need backups to backups which is why most football teams will have third-string players.
For this reason, many players on a football team will not see much playing time throughout the year.
Another reason there are so many players on a football team is due to position specialization. In football, there are many different responsibilities that need to be handled on the field.
For example, you need players to kick balls, catch them, throw them, block for their teammates, tackle, rush the quarterback etc.
All these different jobs on the field require a different skillset and oftentimes a different frame.
For a player to excel in a position they are going to need some experience playing there. If a defensive tackle got hurt and a wide receiver took his place it would likely not go very well.
For this reason, football teams need a lot of players in order to handle all these on-the-field responsibilities.
On top of having one player for each position, you will then also need backups due to the potential injuries we mentioned earlier. This results in a lot of players being added to the football team.
Sports like hockey require some specialization but most players can fairly effectively at any position other than goalie.
In football almost every position is going to struggle if they try to play another position for the first time.