What is the backfield in football?

The backfield in football refers to the area behind the offensive line. Generally, the running back, quarterback, and sometimes the fullback are going to line up in the backfield.

The backfield in football can have many different setups depending on which offensive formation you are running.

The backfield is an important part of the field as this is the area from which the ball is typically handed off and thrown from.

Quarterbacks line up in the backfield because this is the only area of the field that is provided quality protection from the defense.

The running back position tends to line up in the backfield so they are able to easily receive handoffs from the quarterback.

And fullbacks primarily line up in the backfield so that they are able to lead block for the running back once he is handed the ball.

If a defensive player is able to make it into the offensive backfield while the ball is still there then they will have the opportunity to make a big play.

Formations of the offensive backfield

As we stated earlier the offensive backfield can look very different depending on what type of offensive formation your team is running.

Pistol Formation

The pistol formation is a common formation used in the backfield and features one quarterback and one running back.

In this formation, the quarterback will line up about four yards back from the line of scrimmage. This is about halfway between being under center and being in shotgun.

The running back will then line up three yards behind the quarterback making it easy for him to hand off the ball after the running back takes his first few steps.

Empty Backfield

Another backfield formation that has seen more use in the pass-heavy NFL is the empty backfield.

In this formation, there is only the quarterback behind the offensive line. Usually, this formation is used when a team is looking to pass the ball.

The removal of running backs and fullbacks from this formation means that there are going to be more receivers on the field. This makes it easier for the quarterback to find an open player to throw to.


Another formation that is used in the backfield is the wildcat. This is a fairly rare formation as it does not include a quarterback.

When using the wildcat there are usually one or two running backs in the backfield. The vast majority of the time these players are going to run the ball after receiving the snap.

But on some occasions, the running back will actually throw the ball in hopes of catching the defense off guard.

What is the defensive backfield in football?

The defensive backfield in football refers to the area on the defensive side of the line of scrimmage behind the linebackers.

The defensive backfield is generally where defensive backs are going to line up. The positions which tend to make up the defensive backfield are cornerbacks, free safeties, and strong safeties.

The defensive backfield is primarily an area of pass coverage. This location on the field is far enough back from the line of scrimmage that only big plays and deep passes end up there.

That is all on the backfield in football, now you may be wondering what is a huddle in football, or how wide is a football field, click the links to learn more.

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