January 29, 2018 Chris Wilson
21 Personnel Package
The 21 personnel package is an offensive set with two running backs, one tight end and two wide receivers in the offensive formation. As 21 personnel usually includes both a halfback and a fullback, when NFL teams utilize 21 personnel, they run the ball approximately 60 percent of the time.
Here is an example of the San Francisco 49ers lined up in 21 personnel in a balanced I-Formation with both wide receivers lined up inside the numbers, in reduced splits:
Per Warren Sharp — who does fantastic work on the personnel grouping frequency of NFL teams — of Sharp Football Stats, NFL offenses utilized 21 personnel in 7 percent of all offensive plays in 2017, as well as 7 percent of all offensive plays in 2016.
Identifying Offensive Personnel Packages
In football, offensive personnel packages — also known as offensive personnel groupings — are commonly denoted using a two-digit numerical system that identifies the type of offensive personnel, and the number of each type of personnel.
Every common offensive personnel package has five offensive linemen and one quarterback, which leaves the offense with five players from the following three position groups: running back, tight end and wide receiver.
The first digit identifies the offense’s number of running backs on the field, and the second digit identifies the number of tight ends on the field. Instead of using a third digit, the number of wide receivers on the field is implied; simply subtract the total number of running backs and tight ends from the five remaining players.
Check out Insidethe49’s Football 101 series titled Offensive Personnel Packages Common in the NFL for explanations and examples of the following football offensive personnel packages— or offensive personnel groupings — that are common in the NFL: 23 personnel, 22 personnel, 21 personnel, 20 personnel, 13 personnel, 12 personnel, 11 personnel, 10 personnel, 02 personnel, 01 personnel and 00 personnel.