Naming Standards/Conventions for FBPRO Plays


Preface – For all you old hands at FBPro, I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t already know. I don’t claim to be much of an expert (my record will back me up there, eeech!), but the standardization of play names has made a difference in how I am approaching the weekly preparation of the PPPs, so please bare with me.

General - As a new coach/owner in a long established FBPro98 league taking over a team in mid season, one of my first tasks was the creation of many custom plays.  You know.  Those are the ones that were going to lift my team to victory after victory! 

Did you notice that I used “were going to”? Well, let’s just say that the performance of the coaching staff and some of the players has been less than expected, and leave it at that.  One thing that I did notice as I was weeding out the plays that obviously didn’t work was that I could not tell what a play did (what area did it attack, who was the primary receiver, etc.). 

Every week, I had a better idea how to name a particular play, so I couldn’t even follow it from week to week.  It was even taking me extra time to figure out what it did by looking at it in the play editor.  Time is already precious, so taking extra time for this was a bad thing!

To help with reclaiming some of that wasted time, I tried different things.  One that really makes my life easier is using a standard way of naming plays

Why will a standard way of naming plays help? - Several ways actually.  One of the first ways standard naming helps is it saves time.  I can now look at a play name, and know whether it is an offensive or defensive play, know whether it is a run, a pass, or special type play. I don’t need to pull it up in the play editor to tell these things.  I could even tell you who the intended runner or primary receiver is, as well as where the play is designed to go.  If you have plays named “bronco”, “clydeup”, “beowolfe”, or maybe “pull”, you’d better have a great memory to remember each play individually. I’m getting senile, so I need the memory help!

Additionally, depending on the naming system you use, your plays will be organized by type, area attacked (left, right, middle), depth, and even primary ball carrier or receiver.

Using a standard (regardless of the one you chose) will also provide a consistency which will allow you to compare or catalog files through the seasons.

How do I create a standard for naming plays? – One of the prerequisites for a standard play naming convention is a standard way of referring to the various positions in each formation.  Notice here that I am not referring to the assigned roster positions (QB1, WR4, LB2, etc.), but rather to the individual formation’s positions (QB, WR not on TE side, Wide/Split Out on TE side, etc.).  Once you have a system for designating these, which roster position that actually fills that position or job in a particular formation is immaterial.  Due to the limitation on characters in the FBPro Play Names, I suggest using a single character for each position.  For example, The chart below is JUST ONE POSIBILITY for designating your key players on both offense and defense.  There are many different ones, so be creative.









Running Back=



Strong Side Safety=


Blocking Back=



Weak Side (Free) Safety


Second Blocking Back=



Cover Cornerback (Primary)





Weak Side Cornerback







Split Receiver (not on TE Side or right side if no TE)=



Middle Linebacker


Tight End=



Primary Inside Linebacker


Split Receiver (on TE Side or left side if no TE)=



Second Inside Linebacker


Second Tight End=



Primary Outside Linebacker


Second Split Receiver (not on TE Side or right side if no TE)=



Second Outside Linebacker


Second Split Receiver (on TE Side or left side if no TE)=



Nickel Back





Dime Back



Now that I have these designations, what’s next? – Well, you’ve already done most of the hard work.  What you need to ask yourself now is: “what information about a play do I want to get from its name?”.  Keep in mind that you are only going to be working with eight characters, so be reasonable here. Here are some of the possibilities:

            Is this an Offensive or Defensive play?

            Is it a pass, a run, or a special play?

            What part of the opponent do we attack (right side, middle, or left side)?

            What is the depth of our attack (short, medium, or long)?

            Who is the primary receiver (if it is a pass play)?

            Who is going to carry the ball (if it is a running play)?

            Is there a blitz on this play (defense naturally)?

            What hole is the running play designed to use (off tackle, off guard, etc.)?

            Who is the secondary receiver (if it is a pass play)?

We can’t find out ALL of these things for every play, but we can determine most of it if we plan our naming conventions, and then stick to them!  Below is but one example:



























From this example, this play would be an OFFENSIVE PASS play attacking the LEFT and LONG areas of the field.  It is the first (01) of this sequence.  The “X” receiver (Wide out on the side opposite from the tight end) is the primary receiver, and the “Z” receiver (Wide out on the same side as the tight end) is the secondary receiver.

That’s a good deal of information from just eight characters!


Variations – When you choose a scheme, remember that the order of the characters used in the play name will affect the ordering (alphabetical) of the plays when viewed in the play/plan editor and when manipulated in the Windows Explorer or what ever file utility you use. 

And…….  Remember to be consistent in your naming conventions! 

I hope this was of some benefit to at least some of you FBPro coaches (both new and old).  Again, I am no expert, and this system hasn’t won a game for me….yet.  It has helped me with the amount of time I need working with plays outside of the play/plan editor.  Enjoy your FBPro seasons!

Frenchy LeFavor