Special teams are units that are on the field during kickoffs, free kicks, punts, field goal, and extra point attempts. Most special teams players are second- and third-string players from other positions.

Special teams are unique in that they can serve as offensive or defensive units and that they are only seen sporadically throughout a game.



The members of the special teams who specialize in racing downfield to tackle the kick or punt returner. The gunners usually line up on the outside of the offensive line and are often double teamed by blockers.



The player who catches the snap from the center and places it down for the placekicker to attempt to kick it through the goal posts. On an attempted field goal, the holder must catch the ball and put it into a good kicking position, ideally with the laces facing away from the kicker.



A kick returner is the player who catches kickoffs and attempts to return them in the opposite direction. He is usually one of the faster players on the team, often a reserve wide receiver.



The center position as it would be played on offense, but thisplayer specializes in making longer snaps for punts and field goal attempts. A longsnapper generally has to snap the ball 7–8 yards behind him for field goal attempts and 13–15 yards for punts with enough accuracy to allow the holder or punter to handle the ball cleanly.



The player who kicks the ball on kickoffs, extra point attempts, and field goal attempts. A placekicker either kicks the ball while it’s being held by a teammate or kicks it off a tee.



The player who stands behind the line of scrimmage, catches the long snap from the center, and then kicks the ball after dropping it toward his foot. The punter generally comes in on fourth down to punt the ball to the other team with the idea of driving the other team as far back as possible before they take possession of the ball.



The job of a punt returner is to catch the ball after it has been punted and run it back toward the punting team’s end zone.