Gunner (American football)

Gunner (American football)

In American football, a gunner (also often referred to as a "shooter") is a player on kickoffs and punts who specializes in running down the sideline very quickly in an attempt to tackle the kick returner or the punt returner. Gunners must have several techniques in order to break away or "shed" blockers, and have good agility in order to change their running direction quickly. Gunners on the punt team also must be able to block or catch.

Nearly all gunners play backup Safety, Cornerback, or Wide Receiver (that also implies backup Running Back on the backup wide receiver spot) when not on special teams.

Gunner may also refer to the one or two players assigned to block the gunner of the punting team.

The NFL Pro Bowl features a "Special Teamer" position, along with a kicker, punter, and kick returner. This is often the gunner considered to be among the best. Recent Pro Bowlers include Kassim Osgood, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Hanik Milligan, David Tyree, and Montell Owens. Steve Tasker, a 7-time Pro Bowler, is considered to be the top gunner in NFL history.


On punts there will be two players on the punting team lined up wide, like wide receivers. These are called gunners. According to the [ NFL Rules Digest]

During a kick from scrimmage, only the end men, as eligible receivers on the line of scrimmage at the time of the snap, are permitted to go beyond the line before the ball is kicked.
These two eligible receivers on the kicking team allowed to start running down field as soon as the ball is snapped are the gunners. The gunner's job is to try to get down the field as fast as the kicked ball and tackle whomever catches it. In the best case, they get there just before the ball and make the other team afraid to try to catch it. When a team lines up to punt, the other team lines up in a defense that is designed to also receive a punt. There will be one player lined up about 40 yards back; he is the receiver, the player designated to catch the punt. There will also be a few players lined up on the gunners. If the defense lines up two defenders on each gunner, then they are hoping to slow the gunners down, catch the punt, and try to run the punt back for a long gain or even a touchdown. If there is only one defender lined up on each gunner, then the receiving team has extra players rushing the punter, and they hope to block the punt.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • American football strategy — concerns the deployment of offensive, defensive, and special teams players in American football. Contents 1 Offensive strategy 1.1 Offensive players …   Wikipedia

  • American football positions — A diagram showing an I Formation on offense and a 4 3 Formation on defense In American football, each team has eleven players on the field at one time. Because the rules allow unlimited substitution between plays, the types of players on the… …   Wikipedia

  • American football — For other uses, see American football (disambiguation). American football The U.S. Naval Academy Midshipmen (left) face off against the …   Wikipedia

  • American football rules — The Tennessee Titans and the Houston Texans in formation before a play Game play in American football consists of a series of downs, individual plays of short duration, outside of which the ball is dead or not in play. These can be plays from… …   Wikipedia

  • Guard (American football) — The positioning of the offensive guards in an offensive formation. In American and Canadian football, a guard (G) is a player that lines up between the center and the tackles on the offensive line of a football team. The guard s job is to protect …   Wikipedia

  • Nickelback (American football) — This article is about the American football position. For the Canadian rock band, see Nickelback. A nickel defense with three cornerbacks, lined up against an offense playing three wide receivers In American football, a nickelback is a cornerback …   Wikipedia

  • Tackle (American football) — Not to be confused with Tackle (football move). The positioning of the offensive tackles in a formation …   Wikipedia

  • Lineman (American football) — A diagram of the linemen, with defensive linemen (in 4 3 formation) in red and offensive linemen in green. In American football, a lineman is a player who specializes in play at the line of scrimmage. The linemen of the team currently in… …   Wikipedia

  • Formation (American football) — A formation in American football refers to the position players line up in before the start of a down. There are both offensive and defensive formations and there are many formations in both categories. Contents 1 Offense 1.1 Offensive positions… …   Wikipedia

  • Penalty (American football) — A penalty flag on the field during a game on November 16, 2008 between the San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams. In American football and Canadian football, a penalty is a sanction called against a team for a violation of the rules, called a… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.