Where Has The Fullback Gone?

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Photo via John Glaser, TexasHSFootball.com


Offenses in football today are wide open. Football since the beginning of the 2000’s, is all about the big play. Teams are putting huge offensive numbers from high school to the NFL. They line up in four-wide and five-wide receiver sets. The one guy who is suffering most from this change is the Fullback.

The fullback position is dying out in today’s game of football. Gone are the days of the I-formation, Wing-T, Power-I, and offenses like the Wishbone being used on an every down. A fullback’s primary job is to block. He is usually a decent runner, but is not always featured in certain offenses. In college football, many teams run spread heavy offenses. This sometimes cuts the fullback right out of certain offensive packages. Some fullbacks are being turned into H-Backs, a combination of a blocking fullback and a tight end. In high school, college and the NFL, fullbacks are getting fewer opportunities to be involved in spread offenses. Many teams bring in defensive lineman or tight ends on short yardage plays to help block. Having these players in the game almost eliminates a true blocking back being involved.

Gone are the days of the big blocking fullbacks such as, Daryl Johnston, Tom Rathman William Floyd and Lorenzo Neal. Each one of these NFL fullbacks made the NFL Pro Bowl during their career. These fullbacks each blocked for great running backs such as Emmitt Smith (Johnston), Ricky Waters (Floyd), Roger Craig (Rathman) and LaDainian Tomilison (Neal).

In today’s pass first game of football, we can see the fullback position being pushed out of football. Modern offensive football coaches run fast break, sometimes no-huddles spread offenses, which at times leaves the fullback position out of a lot of spread offenses. A fullback can still be effective in an offense, if he is a decent runner and able to catch passes out of the backfield. He still has to be the best blocker on the field as well. So the next time it’s fourth and one and your offense needs to gain one to score a TD, put that fullback in the game and show us all that fullbacks are not extinct.


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Mark Kusenberger
Mark Kusenberger
3 years ago

the Moose spells Daryl with one “r.”

Patrick Frank
Patrick Frank
3 years ago

And Johnston with a “t”.

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