How Many Players Are On A Football Team?

It is a no-brainer that American Football is the major traditional sport in the United States. Despite the popularity of the game in the United States, and the rising popularity of the National Football League around the world, some folks would think that the number of football players in the league is unlimited. 

However, this is not the case and every fan of American Football should know that football teams are allowed to play a specific number of players per game. 

Meanwhile, questions about how many players are on a football team continue to persist and this article will throw more light on the answer. 


In the NFL, football teams are allowed 53 players at most on their roster at any specified time, but only 47 players can dress on the game day. Each team also has 12 players on their practice squad and rules that govern how the players listed on the active roster are promoted.

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How Many Players Are On The Field In Football?

It should be known that the 53 players on the active roster do not get to play. A good number of these players are on the field for a few plays per game and it is the coach that has the final decision on who to play and when they play.


On the field of play, each team can only feature a maximum of 11 players at a specified time, thereby ensuring that only 22 players in total can be on the field at once. 

A team is not hit with any penalties for having less than 11 players on the field but will be penalized if they have more than 11 players on the field of play.

When the team is on offense, the 11 players comprise one quarterback, five offensive linemen, a fullback, two wide receivers, a running back, and one tight end, and this can be altered in the course of the game.  


On defense, the 11 players for a team consist of four defensive linemen, two cornerbacks, three linebackers, and two safeties.

How Many Players Are On An NFL Team?

Every team in the NFL is allowed a maximum of 53 players on their active roster. These players can kit up at any time in a season but the coach is only permitted to have a maximum of 47 players available per game, ensuring that a minimum of 6 players won’t take any part in the game. 

Meanwhile, after the new CBA agreement was signed in 2020, some NFL teams can choose to dress 48 players if they also choose to go with dressing a minimum of 8 offensive linemen. 


The introduction of this new role was due to how the defensive linemen are rotated throughout a game although they normally cannot be rested. There is also a practice squad of 12 players apart from the other 53 players and they are all under contract. 

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These players can practice with the team but have no place on the active roster. Therefore, an NFL team typically comprises 65 players in total with the exclusion of the players that are on the injured reserve or PUP (physically unable to perform) list.


How Many Players Are in the NFL?

The National Football League consists of 32 teams and each of the teams has 65 to 70 players at once. There are about 1,696 active players in the NFL on game days, 1,504 are on the active roster and 384 players are on the practice squads. The number only comprises the players that are contracted with a team.

How Many Players Are on A High School Football Team?

In a high school football team, there are no limits to the roster side according to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). 

It should be known that 48 states in the US comply with this rule. Regardless, there is a rule that limits high school football teams from having two players on the field with the same number on their jersey at a specific time.


Players can only have numbers 0 to 99 on their jerseys, therefore, coaches must be careful when subbing players in or off if they have more than 100 players on their roster. Meanwhile, most high schools do not have close to 100 or even more on their teams.

How Many Players Are On A College Football Team?

In college football, there are no specified limitations on how many players can be on a team and there are no practice squads too. 

A significant number of college teams have about 100 or more players on their roster at a specific time while some have up to 125 players and this is a far cry from what is attainable in the professional NFL with regard to the number of players.


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Meanwhile, there are limits to numbers at the division or conference level. Let’s consider the NCAA’s Division 1 FBS where only 85 players are allowed on scholarship each year. They are permitted to have more players but do not have access to any athletically-based aid. 

For Division I-AA teams, a total of 63 players are allowed on scholarships while Division II teams can have a maximum of 36 players on scholarships. Regardless, once the game kicks off, only 11 players are allowed on the field per team just like the NFL.


Final Words

This article serves to answer the question of how many players are in an American Football team and has done so with details at the notable levels of the sport. Do well to leverage the information in your quest to be thoroughly knowledgeable in the sport.