Unsung Heroes

As the start of the pro football season gets closer and closer, the media and fans start to focus more on the sport. Often this talk focuses on star players playing spotlight positions like quarterback, running back, receiver and line backer. You don't, however, hear too much chatter about the lineman, defensive and offensive players. While these players work just as hard, they don't get as much recognition as athletes who play other positions.

Offensive Line: The offensive line is one of the most important parts of a football team. It is usually made up of two guards, two tackles and a center, who snaps the ball to the quarterback. On passing plays, the line's job is to stop the defensive from sacking the quarterback. The longer the line holds the defense at bay, the more time the quarterback has to find an open receiver and make a good pass. On running plays, the offensive line is supposed to open up holes for the running back to run through, creating space so that the running back can gain as many yards as possible.

Defensive Line: The defensive line, which is usually made up of one or two defensive tackles, two defensive ends and a nose tackle, is responsible for putting pressure on the offense. On passing plays, the d-line tries to rush the quarterback and make a sack before he can get the pass off. On running plays, defensive linemen try to stop the runner before he can gain any yards. Sometimes, the linemen just try to spread apart the offensive line so that the linebackers have room to reach the quarterback for a sack.

Offense vs. Defense: While long touchdown runs and big sacks generate a lot of excitement, most plays only cover a few yards at a time. This is why the line is so important. On every play, the offensive line and the defensive line are battling for every single yard. In college and pro football, linemen are some of the hardest working players on the field, pushing and blocking their way up and down the field. The tussle at the line is a key factor on every play.

Even though offensive and defensive linemen aren't the ones scoring touchdowns and hauling in interceptions, their efforts make the big plays possible

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