Do NFL teams have captains?
A quarterback is often seen as a football team's leader, so it’s easy to assume he is also the team captain. But in the NFL, someone else may take on this role.
The quarterback is considered the leader of a football team because he spearheads the offense and frequently calls the plays in the huddle. But he does not always take on the role of a team captain.
In the NFL, this player is often appointed by the squad members by means of voting, although other times they are chosen by the head coach.
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The NFL Captains Program
The league created the Captains Program in coordination with the NFL Players Association in 2007, where teams were allowed to appoint up to six players as their captains.
Team captains are usually popular players who are favorites among fans. It is common for the quarterback to be chosen, but any player can be designated to the post. Although being solid on the field is an important consideration, leadership qualities are also taken into account when making the choice. It is a point of pride for many schools that their alums are chosen for the position.
Captains are considered leaders both on and off the field. They act as the team representative during the coin toss, when dealing with other teams and game officials, and when making choices as the team faces penalty options.
The "C" patch
For those squads who have joined the captaincy program, the chosen ones get to wear a “C” patch on their jerseys, with gold stars under the letter denoting how many years that player has been in that role. And if he has served for longer than four years, the “C” itself becomes gold. Some teams choose to replace the gold with their team colors.
These patches are not mandatory, though. The Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, and Baltimore Ravens have never worn the patch thus far, although they do appoint captains.
Among the 32 teams in the NFL, 26 have chosen players to act as captains for the whole season, while the other squads select their leaders on a weekly basis. Those that have no regular captain have also done away with the patch.
With a patch or without, the best of these leaders serve as role models, bring the players together, and ultimately contribute to the team's success.