The tight end is a position in American Football on the offensive team. The player who has this role is usually on the end of the offensive line, next to the offensive tackle. Though the role can vary depending on the strategies of the head coach, tight ends are usually responsible for two things: firstly, assisting with blocking for the running back or quarterback who is carrying the ball and secondly, catching passes and thereby acting as a receiver. The side which has a tight end on it is referred to as a “strong side” as it has extra support, with the other side naturally being called the “weak side”. Essentially, the tight end is an accessory for extra help in the two major roles of blocking and receiving.
For those who want to follow a tight-end’s movements throughout game-play, this is an excellent video showing what a typical tight end does.
Blocking is the biggest role of the tight end, with some teams using them just for this purpose as an extra blocker. Tight ends are usually much heavier than the wide receivers, so this makes blocking more effective. The tight end must get downfield before the tailback does and create a hole in the defense team for the tailback to run through. They will usually be good protectors of the quarterback.
A tight end will often be a very good catcher and in some teams he is the leading catcher. The tight end is often referred to as the quarterback’s “safety valve”, as he may often be the last resort for a passing quarterback, either when none of the receivers is open or to confuse the defence.
Famous tight ends
Though the role of the tight end may seem to be an unimportant one, many players in American Football are well known for how well they have played the position. For example, Tony Gonzalez is a highly skilled tight end specialising in catching – in 2004, he made 104 catches – a record number for a tight end. Also, in professional American football, some tight ends get paid a huge sum of money for their contribution. One such player is Jeremy Shockey of the New York Giants who is the second highest paid after quarterback.
Playing tight end means that you can be flexible and enjoy different roles, whilst providing essential game-play from the offensive team.