ITP Glossary: i-Formation

Football is littered with specialized terminology. From bird dogging to sugaring the A Gap, commentators rarely get to explain everything you need to know before the next play. Inside The Pylon’s glossary was developed to give fans a deeper understanding of the game through clear explanations, as well as image and video examples. Please contact us with any terms or phrases you’d like to know more about.


The i-Formation typically employs 21 personnel, with fullback and running back positioned in the backfield in a straight line behind the quarterback.  Employed as power running formation, but can also be used for play-action passes to keep a defense off-balance. The tailback is the dot of the “i”. 

The LSU Tigers deploy 21 offensive personnel with quarterback Brandon Harris under center. The fullback  John David Moore is in a three-point stance directly behind the QB, with tailback Leonard Fournette in a two-point stance behind him:CFBReview4LSUPlay1Still1

Here, the Stanford Cardinal use 22 offensive personnel and David Bright (#64) -€’ normally a guard -€’ as a tight end. The offense has a slot formation on the left with Bright in a wing alignment, and i-formation in the backfield with Christian McCaffrey the deep back:CFBReview4StanfordPlay2Still1

The i-formation can also be used “offset”, with the fullback left or right of the QB/RB. Here, the St. Louis Rams employ  11 offensive personnel and set up a tight end, Jared Cook, as a fullback in the offset i-formation, staggered behind the left B Gap:NFLReview4RamsPlay2Still1

Here is Michigan State using 21 offensive personnel and an offset i-formation to the weak side:CFBReview4MSUPlay1Still1

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Mark Schofield wrote this entry. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkSchofield.

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