EDITOR NOTE: This column is making a return due to slow news cycles.
What’s the most important position on a football team?
I vote for the center. Some pay more attention to the quarterback or running backs, but without the center, they’d just be standing around.
The center starts each play. Although his primary job is to snap the ball to the quarterback, his first mission is to watch how the defense lines up. And if he sees something he doesn’t expect, he can call out special instructions to his team.
But we fans don’t see that, or the brave way he constantly blocks defensive guys who try to grab the quarterback. But, we do notice something truly amazing. Much of the time, he accurately throws the football while upside down!
He throws the ball four ways. The first way, he bends over and hands the ball to the quarterback directly behind him. Or, he throws the ball back a few yards to the quarterback.
But if his team is punting the ball, he must snap the ball – between his legs – to a kicker 15 yards behind him. Try doing this sometime when you’re bent over and staring at somebody upside down. (The last time I did that, I was looking under the couch for a sandwich.)
His toughest job – from that same awkward position – is snapping the ball perfectly about ten yards to someone holding the ball for a kicker. If that’s not done right, lots of bad things can happen like a fumble, a missed kick, or an angry coach.
Not me…I could never handle that pressure. Luckily, a kind coach found a position on the sideline where I could help the team. He called it Left Out.
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Rix Quinn is a former magazine publisher who works as an independent biographer and broadcaster.