What Is Clutch In Football? – Terminology

The term clutch in football refers to a player or team that performs well in high-pressure situations. For example, a kicker scoring a game-winning field goal or a quarterback that excels in the two-minute drill.

Players who are referred to as clutch always seem to perform their best when it is most important. Additionally when a player completes a high-pressure play a fan may say he “clutched out”.

Being clutch in football also weighs in the importance of the game. If you kick a fifty-yard field goal to win the first game of the year, that is very different than kicking a fifty-yard field goal to win the Superbowl.

This is why players that tend to get hot in the playoffs are often considered the most clutch.

What Positions Are The Most Clutch?

Being clutch in football often arises based on being the focal point of the play. Consistently blocking your man is certainly important in football but it isn’t going to be considered as clutch as scoring a game-winning touchdown.

Below we will break down the positions in football that are most often regarded for their clutch performances.


Kickers are the number one position when it comes to clutching out in football. The reasoning for this is quite simple, this position is often put on the spot to win or lose their team the game.

Virtually every NFL season you will watch a team advance in the playoffs or be sent home all based on the actions of your kicker. With the high levels of pressure that this position faces it is almost mandatory that this position performs well under pressure.

A kicker’s ability to make kicks when they matter most can often earn him the clutch title for the duration of their career.


Quarterback is another obvious answer to which players contribute in high-pressure situations. After all, aside from the center this is the only position that touches the ball every offensive play.

When the offense needs a touchdown it is always up to the quarterback to deliver. Since these players carry so much responsibility on the field they get the chance to succeed in some very clutch moments.

Whether it’s a last-second throw or a rushing touchdown by the quarterback himself this is a position that needs to perform successfully under pressure.

Wide Receiver

Wide receiver is not often the first thought that comes to mind when you think clutch in football. But with every last-second touchdown pass their needs to be a receiver.

Catching a pass that can win or lose your team the game is about as high pressure as it gets. Sure kickers have a lot of pressure but it is understood missed kicks happen, dropped passes on the other hand aren’t as easily forgiven.

The Santonio Holmes SuperBowl winning touchdown comes to mind when thinking of a clutch play by a wide receiver.

These sorts of catches are often regarded as the play of the game in many Superbowls. Not to mention that the act of catching the ball is the last step to win the game.

Similar to a kicker the whole season can build up to this moment where a single player determines the team’s fate. When that situation arises you better hope that your receiver is clutch.

What Is The Clutch Gene?

When the term clutch gene is used in sports simply means a player that is able to consistently able to perform well in high-pressure situations.

This term is essentially the same as calling a player clutch but instead of clutch being used as a way to describe their play this refers to being clutch as an innate quality you either have or do not have.

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