If you watch football often you have likely heard the commentators mention the second level. The issue is many football fans do not know what this term means.
The second level in football refers to the area of the defense just behind the defensive line. The second level is primarily occupied by linebackers.
In football, the term second level is usually used when running the football. When a player reaches the second level this means they have managed to get past the defensive line.
On any running play, the first goal of the running back is to hit his hole in the offensive line and get past the first group of defenders.
Players on the defensive line are the first line of defense against a rushing play. On these plays, the defensive line will look to plug the holes In the offensive line and stop the ball carrier in the backfield.
If the running back is able to reach the second level this means this is the start of a successful run.
Once the ball carrier gets to this point in the defense the running back will usually be running toward linebackers.
Linebackers will line up just behind the defensive line and will look to wrap up running backs if they make it through the line.
Getting to this point is important on a rushing play because the running back will have the potential to break off a big run.
If the ball carrier is able to avoid the linebackers in the second level then the ball carrier will be able to get into the secondary.
Once in the secondary the running back is already at least ten yards down the field and will have very few defenders between himself and the end zone.
Offensive Lineman And The Second Level
Another way in which the term second level is used is in reference to an offensive lineman.
On rushing plays offensive linemen are primarily responsible for blocking the opposing team’s defensive line.
Though on some plays these offensive linemen will be tasked with moving downfield and blocking at the second level.
On these plays, the offensive lineman will move downfield and block one of the linebackers in the defensive backfield.
This way if the running back is able to get through the defensive line he will still have blockers in front of him.
This makes it much more likely for the ball carrier to get through the second level.
Completing this task as an offensive lineman is quite difficult as it requires a lot of speed to get downfield and make contact with linebackers.
What is the third level in football?
The third level in football refers to the defensive secondary. This is deep into the defensive backfield and is occupied by defensive backs.
Running backs will be able to reach this point when they break off a big run.
An offensive lineman may be able to block at the third level on screen plays or rushing plays in which they pull.