- The offensive line (OL) consists of five players whose job is to protect the passer and clear the way for runners by blocking members of the defense. The lineman in the middle is the Center. Outside the Center are the Guards, and outside them are the Tackles. Except for the center, who snaps the ball to one of the backs, offensive linemen generally do not handle the ball.
- The quarterback (QB) receives the snap from the center on most plays. He then hands or tosses it to a running back, throws it to a receiver or runs with it himself. The quarterback is the leader of the offense and calls the plays that are signaled to him from the sidelines.
- Running backs (RB) line up behind or beside the QB and specialize in running with the ball. They also block, catch passes and, on rare occasions, pass the ball to others or even receive the snap. If a team has two running backs in the game, usually one will be a halfback (HB) (or tailback (TB)), who is more likely to run with the ball, and the other will usually be a fullback (FB), who is more likely to block.
- Wide receivers (WR) line up near the sidelines. They specialize in catching passes, though they also block for running plays or downfield after another receiver makes a catch.
- Tight ends (TE) line up outside the offensive line. They can either play like wide receivers (catch passes) or like offensive linemen (protect the QB or create spaces for runners). Sometimes an offensive lineman takes the tight end position and is referred to as a tackle eligible.
At least seven players must line up on the line of scrimmage on every offensive play. The other players may line up anywhere behind the line. The exact number of running backs, wide receivers and tight ends may differ on any given play. For example, if the team needs only 1 yard, it may use three tight ends, two running backs and no wide receivers. On the other hand, if it needs 20 yards, it may replace all of its running backs and tight ends with wide receive