NFL- The Most Common Formations

National Football League, commonly known as NFL, is a professional American Football League comprising 32 teams separated equally between the American Football Conference(AFC) and the National Football Conference(NFC).

The NFL is one of the “Big Four” North American Professional Sports Leagues (NBA- National Basketball Association, NHL- National Hockey League, and MLB- Major League Baseball).

In this article, we will show the most common formations in the NFL. To find out more about NFL information, let us watch NFL Streams, Predictions & Previews.

How Popular Is NFL?

How Popular Is NFL

By any measure, the NFL is one of the most successful professional sports leagues in North America. You can visit to keep track of the latest news about the National Football League.  Its revenue annually is estimated at around $13 billion to $15 billion through its coverage on TV, ticket sales, sponsorships, and concessions.

Specifically, the NFL currently has TV cooperation with NBC, CBS, Fox, and ESPN- popular channels in the US. Moreover, the NFL has its own show- The Super Bowl, attracting hundreds of millions of viewers all around the world, not to mention its coverage on social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, or even celebs.

Super Bowl- The Show Of NFL Performed By Shakira And J.Lo

The Brief History Of The NFL

Founded in 1920 in Canton, Ohio, NFL was first considered as the American Professional Football Association. Jim Thorpe – a remarkable American athlete and a participant in the league, was the first president of the American Professional Football Association.

The NFL has been surviving for many years of ups and downs- mainly from rival organizations to become the most influential American professional football league.

However, the main challenge to its prominent role has its root from the AFL (the American Football League) in the 1960s. The NFL then combined with the AFL in 1970, forming a 26-team circuit under the name of the NFL. Since then, the league has enlarged four times, creating six new franchises.

NFL- The Most Common Formations

In football, the formation illustrates the way the players in each team are placed on the field. Many alterations are feasible on both sides, basing on the strategic plan being used.

The following paragraphs will show you the most formations on both offensive strategy and defensive strategy. Let’s check it out!

Offensive Formations

If the team applies offensive strategies, the formation must consist of at least seven scrimmage participants, including a center to snap the ball to begin the game.

Shotgun Formation

Shotgun Formation

The Shotgun formation is the most popular arrangement of offense with the quarterback placed 5 to 6 yards behind the center to have a higher watch on the defensive line and more time to get a pass off.

The team following shotgun formation commonly employs a running back next to the quarterback to support him better.

Primarily, this formation was applied for passing downs. However, many teams now have used this strategy to be the base formation.

As it is tougher to deploy a rushing attack using only the shotgun, almost all NFL teams keep the shotgun for apparent passing conditions, such as long passes or when the team inclines to lose, trying to score rapidly.

Shotgun Formation In The NFL

Singleback Formation

Singleback Formation

Singleback formation or “Ace” formation, is an offensive base formation in the NFL that requires only one running back positioned about 5 yards behind the quarterback.

There are several fluctuations in this kind of formation, such as two wide receivers combining with two wide ends, three wide receivers, and one wide end, and so on.

The single back formation needs great runners, wise running back, versatile tight ends for both receiving and blocking effectively, and remarkable offensive linemen.

And because of the standards listed, this formation seems to be more suitable with a professional level rather than high school or college.

Singleback Formation In The NFL

Wildcat Formation

As the name revealed, the wildcat is a running formation in which a player (commonly a running back or a strong receiver) takes the quarterback’s position in a shotgun formation.

The ball is snapped to the runner, who often has two options- holding the ball himself or giving it to another running back in the backfield.

The wildcat lets the runner have great control over the defense before the snap, allowing him to decide on the best running lane.

This formation also validates ten offensive players to block that is different from conventional running play when the quarterback is usually not included after passing the ball to a running back.

Defensive Formations

4-3 Formation

4-3 Formation

In the NFL, the 4-3 formation is widely used by many teams as it is useful when the team deals with the run and the pass. This formation needs four players in the defensive line, four defensive backs( two corners, and two safeties), three linebackers.

In this formation, on passing downs, the middle linebacker (Mike) often covers any running backs, the Sam (strong-side linebacker) is in charge of the tight end, and the weak-side linebacker(Will) either supports a back or blitzes in the hope of sacking the quarterback.

There are several versions of the 4–3 defensive formation, such as 4-3 under defense, 4-3 over defense, etc.

A Basic 4-3 Formation

3-4 Formation

3-4 Formation

3-4 formation is the primary defensive strategy of some teams in the NFL. This formation is different from the 4-3 formation in the number of defensive linemen and linebackers( 3 defensive linemen and four linebackers.

This formation reduces the size of linemen to gain speed for linebackers. There is also a variation of this defense called the 3-4 under defense.

A Basic 3-4 Formation

46 Defense Formation

The 46 formation is a new defense with an exceptional defensive front designed to pressure the opponent’s offense, mainly their quarterback.

A prominent disadvantage of the 46 defense formation lies in how the eight defensive players stand in a line near the scrimmage, and only three players defend in the secondary, leaving some open areas for receivers to catch passes.

In A Nutshell

Hopefully, this article has provided you with the necessary information on the NFL’s most common formations. We recommend this site to find out more about how the teams in the NFL form their player position in the past and at the current time.

Thanks for reading.