The Importance of The Center


The past couple of week, when not polishing up Before Deadline, I have been working on research and character building for Grounding. It is my first foray into a football related romance and so far, I believe it is going well.

Don’t get me wrong, I know a lot about football. I know I like to scream at my TV when the Giants are letting me down. I also know as a mother to a football player that the offense should go more to the air and quit running it up the middle play after play when it isn’t getting them anywhere. I’m smart enough to know about touch backs, touchdowns, extra points, safeties, roughing the kicker and off sides. I can tell you that three seconds is enough to change any game, but sometimes can feel like 20 minutes when your team is down by one point.

As I’ve been writing Grounding I have been fleshing out an entire team (The San Diego Kings) with names and background stories. During this time, as a read about right tackles, left tackles and guards, I’ve learned  a lot about the center. In fact the center for the Kings is the main character in my book, Quinn Maxwell.

What is even more strange is that my son plays center for his team and there are still so many things that I have to learn about the position. I though I knew because I watch him snap the ball and it goes well. Oh I was so wrong.

Did you know that next to the quarterback, the center is the second smallest on the line? They are not the 350 pound behemoths that flank them on either side, they are more mobile because of the tasks they must perform. Many are shorter in size as well (even though most are over six feet tall).

Another fact, did you know centers are able to help the quarterback read plays and make shifts to the offensive line? WOW, that is something I never knew before. I always watched them pointing out defenders, but didn’t know that they were integral to this part of the game. They are kind of like the “line captain,” if you will and help the quarterback know where the adjustments are needed. The line also listen to them when it comes to which “gaps” they are going to defend.

Centers are always the first to touch the ball during a play. They are the beginning of the play and it’s their job to snap and protect. They have to be strong and fast to make sure that the pocket doesn’t collapse around the quarterback as he tries to pitch or pass. Yes the other members of the line do this as well, but the center is in the front creating this bubble.

That is a lot of responsibility and you just thought they were big neanderthals that pushed other people out of the way.

So until next time, thank a center!


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