An example of quarterback positioning in an offensive formation

The quarterback (commonly abbreviated "QB"), colloquially known as the "signal caller",[1] is a position in American and Canadian football. Quarterbacks are members of the offensive team and line up directly behind the offensive line. In modern American football, the quarterback is usually considered the leader of the offensive team, and is often responsible for calling the play in the huddle. The quarterback also touches the ball on almost every offensive play, and is the offensive player that almost always throws forward passes.


Mike Quinn, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback, throwing the football.

In modern American football, the quarterback is usually the leader of the offense, and their successes and failures can have a significant impact on the fortunes of his team. Accordingly, the quarterback is among the most glorified, scrutinized and highest-paid positions in team sports.[2] Bleacher Report describes the signing of a starting quarterback as a Catch-22, where "NFL teams cannot maintain success without excellent quarterback play. But excellent quarterback play is usually so expensive that it prevents NFL teams from maintaining success"; as a star quarterback's high salary may prevent the signing of other expensive star players as the team has to stay under the hard salary cap.[3]

The quarterback touches the ball on almost every offensive play. Prior to each play, the quarterback will usually tell the rest of his team which play the team will run. After the team is lined up, the center will pass the ball back to the quarterback (a process called the snap). Usually on a running play, the quarterback will then hand or pitch the ball backwards to a halfback or fullback. On a passing play, the quarterback is almost always the player responsible for trying to throw the ball downfield to an eligible receiver.[4] Additionally, the quarterback will often run with the football himself, which could be part of a designed play like the option run[5] or quarterback sneak,[6] or it could be an effort to avoid being sacked by the defense.[7]

Navy quarterback Craig Candeto pitches the ball while running an option-based offense.

Depending on the offensive scheme by his team, the quarterback's role can vary. In systems like the triple option the quarterback will only pass the ball a few times per game, if at all,[8] while the pass-heavy spread offense as run by schools like Texas Tech requires quarterbacks to throw the ball in most plays.[9] The passing game is emphasized heavily in the Canadian Football League (CFL), where there are only three downs as opposed to the four downs used in American football, a larger field of play and an extra eligible receiver.[10] Different skillsets are required of the quarterback in each system - quarterbacks that perform well in a pass-heavy spread offensive system, a popular offensive scheme in the NCAA and NFHS, rarely perform well in the National Football League (NFL), as the fundamentals of the pro-style offense used in the NFL are very different from those in the spread system.[11] while quarterbacks in Canadian football need to be able to throw the ball often and accurately.[10] In general, quarterbacks need to have physical skills such as arm strength, mobility, and quick throwing motion, in addition to intangibles such as competitiveness, leadership, intelligence, and downfield vision.[12]

In the NFL, quarterbacks are required to wear a uniform number between 1 and 19.[13] In the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), quarterbacks are required to wear a uniform number between 1 and 49; in the NFHS, the quarterback can also wear a number between 80 and 89.[14][15] In the CFL, the quarterback can wear any number from 0 to 49 and 70 to 99.[16] Because of their numbering, quarterbacks are eligible receivers in the NCAA, NFHS, and CFL;[17][18] in the NFL, quarterbacks are eligible receivers if they are not lined up directly under center.[19]

Other Languages
asturianu: Quarterback
български: Куотърбек
català: Rerequart
Deitsch: Vaddelbaeck
Deutsch: Quarterback
Ελληνικά: Κουόρτερμπακ
español: Quarterback
فارسی: کوارتربک
français: Quarterback
한국어: 쿼터백
italiano: Quarterback
עברית: קוורטרבק
magyar: Quarterback
Bahasa Melayu: Pemain suku belakang
Nederlands: Quarterback
polski: Quarterback
português: Quarterback
русский: Квотербек
Simple English: Quarterback
српски / srpski: Квотербек
svenska: Quarterback
Tagalog: Kuwarterbak
українська: Квотербек
中文: 四分衛