In team sports, there are always positions that draw adoration from fans, and it’s usually in the spots that score the points or goals. To allow the scoring players the chance to shine, there’s often a few underrated positions that go unnoticed. We decided it’s time to give the superstars a break and celebrate the most underrated positions in professional sports.
Goalkeeper – Soccer
The majority of a soccer game is players outside of both boxes, so the goalkeepers don’t tend to get too much attention on them. The only time anyone really cares about a goalkeeper is when a goal is scored, or the keeper prevents one going into their net.
Most people who play soccer don’t play in goal, so it’s very hard for them to appreciate how good goalkeepers have to be to stop the ball going in. Even when it’s the goalkeeper’s time to shine, during a penalty kick, the attention is on the taker, not the keeper.
If a player doesn’t score a penalty people say they’ve missed, when in actual fact, the goalkeeper has saved the shot or forced the player into missing the goal. Many positions on the soccer fields are celebrated, but without goalkeepers, the score lines would be huge.
Center – Basketball
There aren’t that many positions in basketball, so it’s hard to pick one that’s the most underrated, but we feel that centers often don’t get the attention they deserve. They are often the last line of defense against some of the heaviest scoring forwards in the league and are given the impossible task of stopping them.
Not only are they the most critical part of their defense, but the best ones can also end up being some of the highest-scoring players on the court. Their physical size makes them perfect for unlocking tight defenses just by being large and under the basket. If they aren’t scoring, they are providing enough of a distraction to allow the other players to make baskets.
Center – Football
Centers in football rally struggle for the recognition they deserve and they don’t often make the best-paid players lists. The center has to remain focused every time they are on the field because they have to hold off any blitzes that are heading their way.
The rest of the offensive line is focused on stopping their quarterback getting sacked, but the center has to stay focused in case they all rush up the middle. Having a good center on your team will discourage opposing coaches from even contemplating setting up a blitz defense, and they need more acknowledgment.
Stay-at-home-defenseman – Hockey
When hockey players are young, they all want to be someone like Wayne Gretzky, who glides across the ice scoring and being involved in the plays. No-one really grows up wanting to be a defenseman, but it is often one of the most important positions on the ice. In hockey, the defense is generally underrated, but the stay-at-home-defenseman doesn’t get to have any of the fun their teammates do.
It’s their job to focus on defense first, second, and third as they must protect their goal no matter what. We all love to see attacking plays, but just like in many spots, if you haven’t got a good defense then you aren’t going to win anything. Having a good stay-at-home defenseman on your team can be the difference between winning and losing more often than not.
Catcher – Baseball
The catcher is involved in so much when it comes to a baseball game, but most of the attention tends to be on the pitcher or batter. There is real pressure on the catcher’s body because they spend the majority of the game hunched over, ready to receive the ball in their mitt. Then there are the bruises, which are almost inevitable as the baseballs are hurled toward them, sometimes over 100 mph.
They put themselves in danger, all for the good of the team. Not only are they stuck in one position, but they coordinate most of the plays with the pitcher. Then, of course, they have to actually catch the ball when it comes their way while staying switched on in case they can get someone out. If they want to retain their spot as a catcher, they also have to have a high batting average to stay in the team in the first place.
Punters – Football
The punter is a specialist position on the football field, and few truly recognize what a great job some of them do. There is a serious lack of kickers in the Hall of Fame, and whenever a punter does well on the field, they barely get a mention.
Sure a commentator might say it was a good kick, but it’s unlikely to make the highlight reel at the end of the game. Without good punters, teams can be under increasing pressure from the opposition as they get penned into their own half with no escape. People don’t appreciate having a good punter on their team until they no longer have one.
These sports are team games and require everyone to work together for success, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be individual heroes. Some positions are celebrated in sports, and others that are not. These are our most underrated positions in professional sports.