If you or your child has dreams of one day playing in the NFL, then you may wonder if you have the right build for it.
On your television screen, football players may look tiny, but in person, they’re massive.
The average height of an NFL football player is 6’2”.
Their average weight is 216 pounds.
That doesn’t mean that shorter players can’t play, however.
There are some positions on the field that actually prefer a shorter player.
However, there’s no question that the NFL tends to prefer taller and heavier players.
If you have the height, then the only thing you need to work on is the weight.
Since NFL players tend to be bigger, you may wonder about the reason behind it.
Here are 10 reasons why football players are big.
Why Are Football Players So Big? (Top 10 Reasons)
1. Quarterbacks Need Height
When looking at quarterbacks, you’ll notice that they tend to be on the taller side.
Peyton Manning and Tom Brady both average out to about 6’5”.
The average height of a quarterback is 75.43 inches and 224.97 pounds.
One of the most obvious reasons that football tends to favor taller quarterbacks is that it allows them to see better.
Since the rest of the players tend to be pretty tall, too, a short quarterback might find it difficult to see open receivers down the field.
With all the chaos on the field, a quarterback needs as few distractions as possible to make the best call.
Being able to see over the heads of the other players is a great advantage.
It also helps make a quarterback aware of when their offensive line is failing.
They can see someone coming to sack them and make the appropriate decision to run with the ball or get it out of their hands.
Being light on their feet is also helpful.
It helps them throw the ball a bit further since they have less weight to overcome.
That said, some NFL teams have hired shorter quarterbacks in the past.
One of the benefits of being a shorter quarterback is that you can sometimes get under a tackle.
This decreases the chances of sacking.
Shorter quarterbacks also tend to have a faster release time than taller ones.
They’re able to get the ball in the air faster and get in the hands of their receivers.
Both tall and short quarterbacks can do great on the field if given the right coach and team.
As NFL history has shown, however, the teams tend to prefer taller quarterbacks.
Football players are big because a quarterback needs to be able to see his receivers and avoid tackles.
2. Running Backs Need Speed
Running backs have an average height of 70.73 inches and a weight of 214.48 pounds.
One of the primary examples of a great running back is Barry Sanders.
He had a height of 5’8”.
Sanders was a bit shorter than most other running backs, but that didn’t stop his incredible performances during his career.
Running backs tend to be a bit bigger and taller because it helps them reach the ball better.
If the quarterback throws a ball a bit too high, then a taller running back has a better chance of catching it than a smaller one.
Their longer arms give them a slight advantage.
A tall running back also has the advantage of being able to get more power into their legs to run the ball for a touchdown.
That said, even big NFL players tend to be a bit smaller if they’re playing as a running back.
The average height is around 6’0” which means, in comparison to other players, they’re a bit shorter.
This helps them in terms of having a lower center of gravity which is important for the quick start-and-stop movements they need to do.
Having a lower center of gravity means they can quickly evade tackles and out-maneuver players.
They’re able to dart from one direction to the next without falling over or losing much power to change their momentum.
Their lightweight nature also helps with this.
They tend to weigh around the same as a quarterback because they need to stay agile on their feet.
That said, running backs are still bigger than the average person.
They need muscle to catapult themselves down the field with astonishing speed to win the game.
3. Wide Receivers Need Height
One of the tallest players on the team is the wide receiver.
Their average height is 72.40 inches and their weight is 200.32 pounds.
Wide receivers tend to be a bit slimmer than some of the other positions, but their height more than makes up the difference.
Their positions are all about catching balls that fly high in the air.
When pitted against a defensive player, it’s up to the wide receiver’s height to win the day.
Their height can allow them to reach balls high in the sky before the defender can attempt to steal them from them.
That said, there is such a thing as a wide receiver that’s too tall.
If they’re too big, then it can impact how agile or fast they are on the field.
Even after they catch the ball, if they’re not fast enough to move afterward, then there’s a risk that the defender can easily tackle them afterward.
Most of their muscle mass comes from their legs.
They need to be able to sprint down the field to get in position, then take off down to the end zone after catching the ball.
Because of this, the NFL favors players who are on the lighter end for their wide receiver positions.
That means if you’re tall but don’t weigh a lot, then you may be an ideal candidate as a wide receiver.
4. Tight Ends Need Height And Weight To Block
Tight ends are big because of the nature of the position that they play.
The average height of a tight end is 76.4 inches or over 6’4” tall.
The average weight of a tight end is 254.26 pounds.
Tight ends are responsible for guarding wide receivers and stealing the ball when they get the chance.
Since wide receivers are tall, themselves, a tight end needs to be as tall or taller.
This enables them to knock the ball out of the air before the wide receiver can catch it or catch the ball themselves in an interception.
Height isn’t important alone for a tight end though which is why most tight ends are big.
They also need to have a good amount of bulk on them to tackle.
Tight ends are responsible for taking down wide receivers or anyone else in their path with the ball.
The ability to tackle someone comes down to strength.
Strength is often determined by one’s weight.
Since tight ends tend to weigh more than wide receivers, they can usually tackle them with ease if they can catch them.
Another advantage of having a big player as a tight tend is that the position doesn’t require running as much.
Their job is to stay close to the wide receiver and take them down as soon as the opportunity presents itself.
This means that they don’t sprint as much.
Instead, most of their strength goes towards tackling and knocking the ball down.
Tight ends are big because it allows them to tackle wide receivers or steal the ball from them.
5. Defensive Ends Need Power To Sack
Defensive end players are big because they’re responsible for sacking the quarterback.
The average height of a defensive end player is 75.82 inches.
That’s an average height between 6’3” and 6’8”.
Their average weight is 278.99 pounds.
That makes the defensive end one of the bigger football players on the team.
Sometimes the players can even weigh as much as 315 pounds.
The reason that the NFL looks for tall defensive ends is that they can screen passes along to the sides.
If they notice that a quarterback is throwing to the side, then they have a chance to knock the ball out of the air to make the pass incomplete.
Defensive ends usually take up flanking positions in the defensive line.
This gives them the perfect opportunity to block a pass to a wide receiver or another receiver around them.
However, since they’re on the defensive line, their weight is just as important.
They’re going to be coming up against offensive linemen who are going to keep them from doing their job.
They need enough power and strength to throw them off first.
That’s where their weight can help.
A defensive end can use their weight to throw down a player and then get quickly get up to knock down the ball.
Perhaps the most important role that a defensive end plays is in sacking.
Since they’re on the flanks, they have a better chance of running around the offensive line to sack the quarterback.
Their height can help with this since it gives them a better advantage of seeing a possible route to the quarterback.
Their weight also helps because it gives them the strength and power they need to get to the quarterback and bring them down.
Football players, like defensive ends, are big because it allows them to sack the quarterback.
6. Linemen Need To Hold The Line
The linemen tend to have a larger range of height and weight, but there’s no mistaking that they’re some of the biggest players on the field.
The average height of a defensive and offensive lineman is 76.75 inches tall.
That equates to around 6’1” and 6’8” tall.
The average height of a defensive and offensive lineman is 314.16 pounds.
Football players are big when they play the positions of linemen because they’re responsible for either pushing or stopping the line of scrimmage.
Defensive linemen want to keep the ball from moving forward.
As such, they use their incredible strength to hold back offensive linemen who are pushing against them.
On the other side of the field, offensive linemen are trying to move the ball up the field.
They use their power and strength to push the defensive players further along.
They also have other responsibilities.
Defensive linemen will be looking at opportunities to hit the ball down from the sky.
Offensive linemen will be trying to keep them from doing that.
This is where height plays a factor.
Tall defensive linemen have a better chance of knocking a ball out of the sky because they have more reach.
Shorter offensive linemen have a better center of gravity which means they can focus all their strength on tackling the defensive lineman in front of them.
Weight is important because it determines how easy or difficult it is to tackle someone.
A heavier person is harder to bring down because they can use their weight against you.
That said, lighter players are more agile and can use your own weight against you.
That’s why you see a healthy mix of tall and short, heavy and light, players in these positions.
In most cases, however, NFL teams want big players as their defensive and offensive linemen.
They rely on their ability to deadlock one another to protect the quarterback or keep the quarterback from progressing further down the field.
7. Defensive Backs Stop Receivers
Another important reason why football players are big is that defensive backs have to stop receivers from reaching the end zone.
A defensive back is a player responsible for keeping the ball out of the hands of the receiver.
If the receiver has the ball, then this player’s job is to tackle them down to the ground.
Their height also gives them a chance to knock the ball out of the sky if needed.
8. Punters Need Height To See The Field
Some of the shortest players on the team are the kicker and punter.
That said, even though they’re smaller, they’re still pretty big.
Punters have an average height of 73.77 inches and an average weight of 214.32 pounds.
They’re a bit lighter than the other players but heavier than the kicker.
That’s because a punter needs more power behind their kicks to send the ball down the field.
Their height also plays a role because it allows them to see over the heads of the players and down the field where they want to kick.
Lighter or smaller punters may not be able to kick the ball as far down as they would like.
Because of that, punters tend to be big football players.
9. Long Snapper Needs Weight To Keep Upright
The long snapper plays an important role in snapping the ball to either the kicker or the punter.
The NFL chooses their long snapper players carefully based on their height and weight.
The average height of a long snapper is 74.48 inches and their average weight is 243.76 pounds.
They need some weight to them for a few reasons.
The first is that it helps them get some power behind their snaps.
The long snapper needs to accurately snap the ball a few different lengths whether it’s a punt or a field goal.
Having the right weight and height can ensure they’re able to snap the ball to the appropriate distance.
Weight is also important when it comes to defending your position.
When the ball is in play, there are a bunch of other players coming to take you down.
Having a good weight can keep you firm to the ground and resist tackling.
Football players are big because it helps them be more accurate and powerful long snappers.
10. Fullbacks Need Height And Power To Run The Ball
A final reason football players are big is that their fullbacks need height to see the state of play.
Fullbacks have an average height of 72.33 inches and an average weight of 244.43 pounds.
Their height gives them the advantage of looking at the field and telling the quarterback where to throw.
Their weight also plays a role.
Since the quarterback will sometimes send the ball to them, a fullback needs a good amount of weight to run fast and survive tackle attempts.
Since they can pass the ball as well, they also need to have enough power to throw balls to receivers.
Football players are big when they’re fullback because it helps them perform the various tasks of their job better.
There are several different positions on a football team where being big helps you play better.
Each position above needs big players to better see the ball, control the ball, and either tackle or defend against tackles from rival players.
Smaller or shorter players may have advantages in some positions, but the NFL tends to prefer larger players.