If you are an avid football fan you’ve likely heard announcers refer to the strong side vs weak side during a football game. The trouble is many fans do not know what this football terminology means.
That’s why this article is on hand to break down everything you need to know about strong side vs weak side in football.
In short, these are terms used to explain which side of the offensive line has more players. If there are more players are the right side of the line then the right side would be the strong side and the left side would be the weak side.
Determining The Strong Side
Watching The Tight End
This means that the line is going to be split with two players on either side of the center. The tight end is the player that is going to join the offensive line and make the formation uneven.
If the tight end joins the right side of the line then the right side will be the strong side. This is because the right side has three players and the left has two.
You can use this method to determine the strong side on any play when there is only one tight end on the field.
That being said when there are two tight ends, or no tight ends you may have to try looking into the backfield.
Looking Into The Backfield
If the number of players on either side of the center is even then you will have to look into the offensive backfield to determine the strong side.
If there are no tight ends on the field or one on each side of the formation you will have to use this strategy.
When looking into the backfield you are going to check which side of the field the running back is on. If the quarterback is in shotgun and the running back is on his right then the right side is the strong side.
If the running back is lined up left of the quarterback then the left side is the strong side.
How Does Strong Side Vs Weak Side Affect The Play
The largest effect of the strong side vs weak side is how players are going to line up on the field. This is because some defensive formations use the strong side and weak side in order to determine where their players line up.
For example, in a 4-3 defense you are going to have a weakside linebacker and a strongside linebacker.
On each play the weak side linebacker will line up on the weak side of the formation. While the strong side linebacker will line up on the strong side of the formation.
So instead of playing a specific area on the field, these linebackers will move to their position based on the formation of the opposing team.
Another way in which the strong side and weak side effect the play is through the number of blockers.
As we stated earlier the strong side of the formation is going to have more players. When running the football it is common to go towards the strong side as you have more blockers on that side of the field.
Additionally, the tight end is usually on the strong side of the formation meaning that if you run towards the strong side you will have the tight end run blocking in front of the ball carrier.
This is another reason why positions like linebacker are divided up based on the formation. A player that plays strongside linebacker should have the capabilities to fight off blocks from tight ends in the running game.
While a weakside linebacker is going to be more involved in pass coverage as opposed to rushing.