Playing it safe

I’ve been watching football for most of my life, but I only recently figured out the job of the safety. You’ve probably heard of the safety, but do you really know what he does? I sure didn’t!

Here is what I’ve learned:

First, this player is a member of the defense. He is keeping the end zone “safe” from the opposing team’s offense. Make no mistake; these guys are ready to tackle anybody in their path.

Second, they line up at the very back of the field. They are the last line of defense against a crazy good running back who has the end zone in his sights.

See them in the back boxes?

Sometimes they line up slightly differently, but you get the idea.

Third, they can come in two different varieties: the STRONG SAFETY and the FREE SAFETY. Sometimes the offense will line up with more hard-hitting players on one side of the field. The strong safety is bigger and better suited to defend this half of the field. The free safety is on the other side, and will usually go back to cover a sneaky receiver who has made his way downfield. Here is something to be aware of—while there is usually a free and strong safety, there doesn’t always have to be. Sometimes they each just pick half of the field to defend.

Enough technical muckety-muck! Let’s see some of these safeties!

Ronnie Lott: Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2000

This guy is a classic—he played for the 49ers for 10 seasons, and finished up his career with the Raiders and Jets. He had 100+ tackles in five different seasons and snatched 63 interceptions during his career. I’d say his spot in the Hall of Fame is well deserved.

Troy Polumalu: Pittsburgh Steelers, 2000-present

You’ve definitely noticed this safety before because of his long crazy hair! (that and his 2 Super Bowl Championships with the Steelers!) He’s a strong safety for the Steelers, and he has racked up 22 interceptions and almost 500 tackles so far. I’d hate to be facing him on the field. Since he is only mid-career, we’ll probably get to watch Polumalu for several more seasons. BONUS: We share a birthday!

Have you ever wondered what a safety was? Do you have a favorite safety you want to give a shout out to?


Nikki said...

Hey Bud!
Your blog is coming along really nicely. I'm looking forward to Sunday Football more now, since you're teaching me all this cool stuff!

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