• Iron Man (superhero)

What does it mean to play 'iron-man' in American football?

User Avatar

Wiki User

βˆ™ 2010-02-02 14:08:29

Best Answer

"Playing Iron-man" means playing as an offensive player and a defensive player, as well, perhaps, as a special teams player all within the same game. It generally involves mastering both offensive and defensive playbooks, being sufficiently competent at multiple positions to merit a starting position in two or more, keeping up with the training regime of both offensive and defensive units, and having the discipline and stamina to voluntarily play in all or nearly all plays in any given game.

As such, across all levels of American football, players "playing Iron-man" range in rarity from perhaps a handful a decade to unheard of in over a half century.

An example would be a player playing Center on offense and Nose Tackle on defense in the same game, only coming off the field for special teams plays.

The term "Iron-man football" is the popular name for the "one-platoon system," wherein player substitution is strictly limited and nearly all players have defensive, offensive and special teams roles and the vast majority of players play nearly complete games. Until the 1940's this was the only system by which American football was played. The University of Michigan adopted the "two-platoon system" (often simply referred to as "the platoon system") in 1945, creating specialist offensive and defensive units. This system became the standard until the final abolition of Iron-man or one-platoon football by the NCAA in 1965.

Players and teams, during the transition period of 1945-1965 and the rare few players since 1965, who continued to play in multiple roles were referred to as Iron-men. It is sometimes said in praise of Iron-men that "the only people who spend more time on the field are the refs."

Since the system is now long out of use and very few players have played both sides of the ball in decades, the term nowadays is sometimes applied to players who lay it on the line every play or who display incredible endurance, toughness and leadership. This usage is not without controversy, as, as late as 2006, traditional Iron-men have continued to exist, at least in the NCAA, albeit in very small numbers. Traditional Iron-men and football purists often consider the wider application of the term a cheapening of it, and in those circles it is frowned upon to apply it to anyone who does not actually play in multiple roles and in the vast majority of plays in any game in which they appear.

The most prominent example of a player who plays in only one role being referred to as an Iron-man is Brett Favre, who was given the nickname "Iron Man" by the Pro-Football Hall of Fame. He is known as such because he holds the record for career starts, having never once missed a start in his 19 year career. Note that this usage is not controversial and few if any of those critical of the wider application of the term consider Favre undeserving of his nickname.

Regardless of whether the original or wider definition is being applied, few players today are ever referred to as an "Iron-man" and being known as one is likely to be the greatest compliment a player will ever receive.

2010-02-02 14:08:29
This answer is:
User Avatar

Add your answer:

Earn +5 pts
Q: What does it mean to play 'iron-man' in American football?
Write your answer...

Related Questions

Which game was not play by women?

Football (I mean American football)

Do New Zealanders play football?

If football you mean American Football? Then yes. If football, you mean Soccer? Then yes also!

What kind of football do they play in Australia and Africa?

I wasn't aware there are different kinds? But if you mean American/English football they play English football.

What does non-jock mean?

It is somebody who does not play American Football.

Can Muslims play American football?

Anyone can play American football if their heart in it.

Do they play American Football in Spanish speaking countries?

They do play American Football in Ireland.

What does it mean to play football today?

It means to play football TODAY - simple! Or as American people say it, they say "SOCCER" which means the same thing as football but with a different name.

Do the top two teams in college football play for the national championship?

college football?. Don't you mean American college football,or the real thing?

What is the connection between American football and the us?

American Football is what we play in the U.S.A. a.k.a. football or the NFL.

Who is the first african american to play football?

The first known African-American to play pro football was Charles Follis

Where do the American football dolphins play?

The American football team the Miami Dolphins play their home games in Miami, Florida.

They play football in Jamaica?

Yes, in Jamaica they play football (soccer). It is likely that some Jamaicans even play American football.

Who is the Denmark football team?

Denmark doesn't play American football, but they do play soccer.

What is the difference between American football to English football?

American football is basically rugby, English football is a lot better and you play.

How do you you say play American football in french?

football américain.

What do you do in American football?

play with the ball

Do women play American football?

they play a little thing called power puff football

What other countries play professional football?

If it is American football it is Canada.

What sport did OJsimpson play?

Football (American)

What is the cost to play American football?

a lot

Can I play American Football in Michigan?


Did Portugal play American football?


American football culture?

it is a fun sport to play and its an American pasttime

Do American football athletes get paid?

yes because they play football b****

You like to play football in German?

Do you mean 'I like to play football'? That would be 'Ich spiele gern FuBball" If you do actually mean 'you like to play football' that would be "du spielst gern FuBball" If you mean "Do you like to play football?" that would be "Spielst du gern FuBball?"