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In
gridiron football Gridiron football,bicycle_helmet.html" ;"title="Jérémy Leveau wearing a bicycle helmet">Jérémy Leveau wearing a bicycle helmet A helmet is a form of protective gear worn to protect the Human head, he ... and shoulder pads Shoulder pads a ...
, defensive backs (DBs), also called the secondary, are the players on the defensive side of the ball who play farthest back from the line of scrimmage. They are distinguished from the other two sets of defensive players, the
defensive linemen In gridiron football, a lineman is a player who specializes in play at the line of scrimmage. The linemen of the team currently in possession of the ball are the offensive line, while linemen on the opposing team are the defensive line. A numbe ...
who play directly on the line of scrimmage, and the
linebackers A linebacker (LB or backer) is a playing position in gridiron football Gridiron football,
, who play in the middle of the defense, between the defensive line and the defensive backs. Among the defensive backs, there are two main types,
cornerback A cornerback (CB) is a members of the defensive back In gridiron football, defensive backs (DBs), also called the secondary, are the players on the defensive side of the ball who play farthest back from the line of scrimmage. They are distin ...

cornerback
s, which play nearer the line of scrimmage and the sideline, whose main role is to cover the opposing team's
wide receiver A wide receiver (WR), also referred to as a wideout, historically a split end, is an eligible receiver in gridiron football. A key skill position of the offense (American football), offense, WR gets its name from the player being split out "wi ...

wide receiver
s, and the safeties, who play further back near the center of the field, and who act as the last line of defense. American defensive formations usually includes two of each, a left and right cornerback, as well as a
strong safety Safety, historically known as a safetyman, is a position in gridiron football Gridiron football,
and a
free safety Safety, historically known as a safetyman, is a position in gridiron football Gridiron football,
, with the free safety tending to play further back than the strong safety. In
Canadian football Canadian football () is a sport Sport pertains to any form of competitive Competition is a rivalry A rivalry is the state of two people or groups engaging in a lasting competitive relationship. Rivalry is the "against each other ...

Canadian football
, which has twelve players on the field compared to the eleven of American football, there is an additional position called Halfback (Canadian football), defensive halfback, which plays like a hybrid between a linebacker and cornerback. Canadian formations include two cornerbacks, two halfbacks and one safety, for a total of five defensive backs. Besides the standard set of defensive backs, teams may also remove a defensive lineman or a linebacker and replace them with an additional defensive back. The fifth defensive back is commonly called the Nickelback (American football), nickelback (so named because a five-cent coin in the U.S. and Canada is called a Nickel (United States coin), nickel). By extension, a sixth defensive back is called a dimeback (because the next value coin in the U.S. and Canada is called a Dime (United States coin), dime). Rarely, teams may employ seven or even eight defensive backs. Historic notable defensive backs include Hall-of-Famers Night Train Lane, Dick "Night Trane" Lane, Mike Haynes (cornerback), Mike Haynes, Ronnie Lott, and Troy Polamalu, Deion Sanders (aka "Primetime"), and Ed Reed, among others. In 2019, the National Football League released its all-time team in honor of the league's 100th anniversary, in which the top defensive backs in its history were noted and honored. Longtime National Football League executive and renowned former general manager of the Dallas Cowboys, Gil Brandt released a list of the top cornerbacks of all time.


See also

* Defensive Specialist (arena football) * American football positions


References

{{Authority control American football positions