History of American football positions
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Being variants of 19th century
As the game became more sophisticated, backs positioned at different depths (i.e. distances behind the forwards) were further differentiated into half back, three quarters (the fraction 3/4) back, and full back, according to English and Scottish nomenclature, or quarter back, half back, and full back in the Irish nomenclature. In rugby the English-Scottish nomenclature was eventually adopted worldwide, with the word, "back", often omitted for brevity from the half back ("half") and three quarters back ("three quarter") names, and "fullback" as a single word.
In some systems, "five-eighths back" has been added. (The illustration here, of singular forms, should not be construed as indicating the number of players in any of those positions, nor is the fraction in the name at all proportional to the actual depth of the position; they indicate only a quirky form of
It was the Irish nomenclature of quarter back, half back, and full back that came to North America for use in what was to become the dominant native form of football. The terms became hyphenated and eventually unhyphenated single words, "quarterback" (QB), "halfback" (HB), and "fullback" (FB). The lack of quarterback in the English-Scottish nomenclature for rugby led to the position name "