National Football League team captains
In the National Football League, the team captain designation is a team-appointed position that designates certain players as leaders on and off the field. The captains program was implemented by the NFL Player Advisory Council established by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in conjunction with the NFL Players Association. Starting in 2007, the league began permitting teams to name up to six players as captains.
Players who have been named a team captain typically have a "C" patch on their jerseys. There is a standard design used by all teams participating in the captaincy program. The patches are in team colors and are worn on the front left or right breast (depending on other patches, etc. worn by the specific team). The number of stars filled in on the patch represents the number of consecutive years that player has been named captain by that team. If they've been named captain for longer than four years, the "C" on the patch is gold. Some teams (e.g. Pittsburgh and New England) do not have this patch on their jerseys but still designate captains. In the case of the Green Bay Packers, they would use weekly captains during the regular season, but would switch to assigning captains whenever they qualify for the playoffs.
The New York Jets suspended designated team captains after an incident involving Santonio Holmes in a 2011 game. In the 4th quarter of the final game of the 2011 season against the Miami Dolphins, Holmes appeared to get into an argument with Jets offensive tackle Wayne Hunter while the team was huddling. As a result of the argument, Holmes was benched for the remainder of the game, and the Jets ended up losing the game, which resulted in the Jets missing the postseason for the first time in three years. His leadership qualities and credibility as a captain have since been questioned. In 2015, under new head coach Todd Bowles, the Jets resumed appointing captains weekly.
Because of the nature of the game, most teams include their starting quarterbacks as an offensive captain. While the starting quarterback has no other responsibility or authority, he may, depending on the league or individual team, have various informal duties, such as participation in pre-game ceremonies, the coin toss, or other events outside the game. Often compared to captains of other team sports, the starting quarterback is usually the de facto team leader and a well-respected player on and off the field, even before the NFL implemented the team captain's patch in 2007.
NFL rule 18 details the guidelines for team captains. Within Rule 18, there are four articles that pertain to:
- Number of Team Captains
- Coin Toss Procedures
- Choice on Penalty Option
- Change of [Team] Captains
Coin Toss Procedures – Each team can send as many as 6 team captains to the center of the field. On each team, one captain is designated the "speaking captain" of the delegation. The visiting team or the team designated "visitor" by the referee (if no team is declared 'visitor') shall choose "heads or tails" or in the case of a special ceremony coin, the options on the face and rear of that coin.
The winner of the coin toss have 3 options, 1. Defer the choice to the second half, 2. Receive/kick the ball, 3. Choose an end zone to defend. There is strategy in employing your election. It could depend on such conditions as weather, or making an aggressive statement at the beginning of the game, or something simple as coming out of the locker room in the second half receiving the ball.
After the winning captain makes their choice, the opposing team captain chooses from the remaining 2 options.
Choice on Penalty Option(s) – The offended team captain has a choice of accepting a penalty enforcement or declining, except where said penalty is automatically "enforced by rule." In some circumstances, a team captain may elect to "decline" the penalty. This typically happens in a situation in which declining the penalty may mean that the next down should occur (3rd or 4th). A good example would be on an "offensive holding" enforcement, the defensive team might elect a "4th down and 5 yards to gain" v. a "3rd down and 15 yards to gain."
Players listed in bold currently wear the 5+ star all gold captain patches.
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- Duke Robber, Green Bay Packers captains, October 21, 2016
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- , twitter.com, September 6, 2013
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- "Team Captains Announced", September 13, 2015
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- Behindthesteelcurtain.com http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/nfl-pittsburgh-steelers-news/2015/9/6/9269111/pittsburgh-steelers-name-captains-for-2015-season September 6, 2015
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