Understanding Captains In Football

When watching football you may have noticed that there are players on the field with a “C” on their jersey. This means that those players have been selected as one of theirs teams captains. Team captains play an important role in a football team but many don’t know exactly what that is.

What Is The Role Of A Football Team Captain?

To get a better understanding of captains of a football you must first understand their role on the team.

The Coin Toss

The part of the captain role you will notice the most is the coin toss. NFL teams can have up to six team captains approach the coin toss but only one of these is designated the speaking captain.

The speaking captain is the player that is going to choose which side of the coin you choose prior to the flip. As well as choose if you elect to receive or defer once you have won the coin toss.

The captains can be changed weekly if your team decides so this is why you may notice different players approaching the coin toss.

Speaking To The Refs

Though this is more prevalent in other sports, the captains of an American football team still assume the position of speaking to the ref on the field. A player with a captains badge will likely get a better chance to plead to the referee than a regular player.

Captains are also the only players on the field which can accept or decline a penalty. Though like speaking to the officials this is handled by the coaching staff the vast majority of the time.

How Many Captains On A Football Team?

As we stated earlier the NFL permits you to have a total of six captains on your football team. Though this rule does not seem to be enforced.

In 2019 four separate teams announced seven different captains at the start of the regular season. This was not met with any response from the NFL. This goes to show you that the captain process in the NFL is relatively lax.

This is similar to hockey in which some teams have three assistant captains and no captain. The NFL seems content to allow teams to choose their own captaincy style.

How Are NFL Team Captains Choosen?

There is no official way in which teams must select their captains. That being said the vast majority of captains are picked from one of two methods.

First is a team-wide vote. This simply allows all the players to vote for several of their teammates to be elected captains.

The other popular option is to allow the coaching staff to elect the captains. This decision is typically made by the current head coach or GM.

These methods of selections should show you why it is so common that quarterbacks are captains for their team.

What Is The C And Stars On NFL Jerseys?

The C and stars on NFL jerseys display that you are a captain of the football team as well as how many years you have had this designation.

Once you become a captain in the NFL you are given a golden C patch which is sewn onto the jersey.

Underneath the C you will notice four stars. Depending on how many years you have been captain the stars will become gold.

If you have been a captain for two years you will have the “C” and two of the four stars below it will be gold.

If you are captain for five years some teams will fill all four stars gold as well as change the “c” itself from white to gold.

Do All NFL Teams Have Captains And Badges?

If you have been watching your favourite team and haven’t noticed a captains patch it is likely your team doesn’t use them. Despite widespread use throughout the league the Steelers, Patriots, and Baltimore are all teams that do not wear captain badges.

Yet all of these teams still elect captains. John Harbaugh and the Ravens elect new captains each week which is why they do not have badges on their jerseys. While the Patriots and Steelers elect their captains for the year but have made the decision to not put patches on their jerseys.

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