Out of necessity, the league decided in 1943 to let teams substitute players at will, Pro Football Hall of Fame historian Joe Horrigan said. If there is a personal foul or unsportsmanlike conduct foul by the offense prior to an interception of a forward pass thrown from behind the line, enforcement is from the dead-ball spot. For preseason, regular season, or postseason games, the two competing teams may wear jerseys in their official colors (non-white), provided the Commissioner determines that such colors are of sufficient contrast. A1 chops a defensive player while the defensive player is physically engaged above the waist by the blocking attempt of A2. If an opponent uses his hands to ward off a block creating contact below the waist, it is not a block below the waist. When the spot of enforcement is not governed by a general or specific rule, it is the spot of the foul. Throughout the period on game-day that a player is visible to the stadium and television audience (including in pregame warm-ups, in the bench area, and during postgame interviews in the locker room or on the field), players are prohibited from wearing, displaying, or orally promoting equipment, apparel, or other items that carry commercial names or logos/identifications of companies, unless such commercial identification has been approved in advance by the League office. No part of the pants may be cut away unless an appropriate gusset or other device is used to replace the removed material. Consistent with the equipment and uniform rules, players must otherwise present a professional and appropriate appearance while before the public on game-day. Inadvertent tangling of feet when both players are playing the ball or neither player is playing the ball. After a valid fair-catch signal, the opportunity to catch a kick does not end if the ball is muffed. Tackling is an attempt by a defensive player to hold a runner to halt his advance or bring him to the ground. If the offense commits a foul in its end zone that is accepted, it is a safety. If the ball is declared dead while in the simultaneous possession of two opposing players, the ball is awarded to the receiving team. Item 3. It is not a block in the back: A Block Below the Waist is when the initial contact with any part of the blocker’s body is below the waist of an opponent, other than the runner, who has one or both feet on the ground. quarterbacks, punters, and placekickers: 1–19; running backs and defensive backs: 20–49; participates in at least one play (including a play negated by penalty prior to the snap or during the play). Using any object as a prop, or possessing any foreign or extraneous object(s) that are not part of the uniform on the field or the sideline during the game, other than the football after a scoring play or change of possession. If he does not come to a complete stop prior to the snap, it is a False Start. If a fair-catch is signaled and made, the receivers may choose to extend the period by a fair-catch kick down (, If a fair catch is signaled and the kickers interfere with a receiver’s opportunity to catch a kick, the receiving team may extend the period by either a down from scrimmage or a fair-catch kick (. But this rule wasn’t put in just for him. Penalty: For a kickoff out of bounds: The receiving team may elect to take possession of the ball 25 yards from the spot of the kick or at the out-of-bounds spot. As with every other rules change in its history, the NFL must carefully weigh all of those factors and more before making a change. If the ball, whether in player possession or loose, crosses the line of scrimmage, a forward pass is not permissible, regardless of whether the ball returns behind the line of scrimmage before the pass is thrown. The Patriots actually lost a game to the Jets in 2013 because they made contact with a long snapper on a missed field goal. The player may be disqualified if the action is flagrant. If it is not caught, the ball is dead when it hits the ground. In 2009, the owners approved a committee proposal to ban return-team players from linking up in this formation. If the offense snaps the ball before the defense has had an opportunity to complete its substitutions, and a defensive foul for too many players on the field results, no penalties will be enforced, except for personal fouls and unsportsmanlike conduct fouls, and the down will be replayed. A Chop Block is a high/low double-team block by the offense in which one offensive player (designated as A1 for purposes of this rule) blocks a defensive player in the area of the thigh or lower while another offensive player (A2) engages that same defensive player above the waist. The officials’ jurisdiction begins 100 minutes before the scheduled kickoff and ends when the Referee declares the final score. A player becomes a substitute when he is withdrawn from the game and does not participate in at least one play. Coaches’ challenges will not be allowed. first touches or is caught by an eligible receiver who has gone out of bounds, either of his own volition or by being legally forced out of bounds, and has re-established himself inbounds. In addition, Team A may have the penalty enforced half the distance from the other Try spot. See 11-5-1-Exc. Field goals accounted for 23% of the scoring that season, compared to 15% in 1969, the NFL… the defense fouls in advance of the Basic Spot; the defense fouls behind the Basic Spot; or. The ball must leave or be taken from his hands during this motion. Exception: A forward pass in flight may be tipped, batted, or deflected in any direction by any eligible player at any time. A change in jersey numeral is not required if the change is from an ineligible position to another ineligible position, or from an eligible position to another eligible position, provided that the player has participated at least one season at his position prior to the change. Recovery and Advance. Item 2. Players generally must present an appearance that is appropriate to representing their individual clubs and the National Football League. Care must be exercised in any end-zone marking or decoration or club identification at the 50-yard line that said marking or decorations do not in any way cause confusion as to delineation of goal lines, sidelines, and end lines. The league wanted to boost offenses by widening the short side of the field, where defenses used the sideline as an extra defender. Second and each subsequent team timeout after the two-minute warning 4-5-4, exceeding 40/25 seconds in putting ball in play 4-6-1, 2, repeatedly snapping ball before Referee can assume normal position 4-6-5, runner remaining on ball or opponent remaining on runner to consume time 4-6-5, undue delay in assembling after a timeout 4-6-5, defensive abrupt non-football movements 4-6-5, spiking or throwing the ball in the field of play 4-6-5, taking the ball from a downed runner causing delay 4-6-5, substitute entering during play, withdrawn player on field at snap or free kick (unless interference) or withdrawing on opponent’s side or across end line 5-2-8, Illegal kick at free kick (ball remains dead and replay) 6-1-1. It is pass interference by either team when any act by a player more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage significantly hinders an eligible player’s opportunity to catch the ball. (See 5-3-3-Item 6, “Stockings,” below.) It is a foul if a defensive player thrusts his hands or arms forward above the frame of an opponent to forcibly contact him on the neck, face, or head. The NFL affirms the position that in most circumstances all regular-season and postseason games should be played to their conclusion. If the foul is by Team A before possession changes during a scrimmage down: Loss of down and loss of 10 yards except for a foul by Team A beyond the line of scrimmage during a scrimmage kick, in which case there is no loss of down. According to game accounts, he dropkicked a 17-yard field goal in the Detroit Lions 16-7 victory over the Chicago Cardinals on September 19, 1937. If a touchdown is made on the last play of a period, the Try attempt shall be made (except during a sudden-death period, or if a touchdown is scored during a down in which time in the fourth period expires, and a successful Try would not affect the outcome of the game). A blocker who makes contact above the waist and then slides below the waist has not blocked below the waist. If the primary defensive user subsequently re-enters the game wearing a helmet with a speaker, he must report to the Umpire. Under no circumstance is a player allowed to shove, push, or strike an official in an offensive, disrespectful, or unsportsmanlike manner. Players may not wear undergarments with an exposed hood hanging outside the collar of the jersey. First touching does not offset a foul by the receivers; if there is a live-ball foul by the receivers that is enforced, either before or after the first touching violation, the violation is disregarded, and the penalty is enforced as customary. Copyright © 2020 by the National Football League. However, it is a False Start, if the action is quick and abrupt. Unless otherwise provided by individual team policy, it is the players’ responsibility and decision whether to follow this recommendation and use such pads. A field goal is scored when all of the following conditions are met: Note: See 9-1-3 for restriction applicable to Team B formation at the snap. Competition Committee member John Mara said this 2012 play — in which Cleveland’s Trent Richardson knocked the helmet off Philadelphia’s Kurt Coleman. Such towels also must be attached to or tucked into the front waist of the pants, and must be no longer than 6 by 8 inches (slightly larger size may be issued to quarterbacks, or may be folded to these limits for wearing in games). The controversy contributed to the NFL’s 1933 decision to allow passes from anywhere behind the line — a rules change that legendary Bears owner-coach George Halas said he proposed. the blocker is moving toward his own end line; and. All kicking team players must be inbounds and behind the ball when it is kicked, except: the kicker may be beyond the line, provided that his kicking foot is not beyond the line. Scoring12. If a player of the kicking team illegally catches or recovers a scrimmage kick, other than a field-goal attempt from beyond the 20-yard line, and touches the goal line with any part of his body while in possession of the ball, the ball is dead, and the result of the play is a touchback. A foul that occurs at the snap is enforced from the previous spot, and the down is repeated, unless enforcement of the foul results in a first down. It is a delay of the game if the ball is not put in play by a snap within 40 seconds after the start of the play clock. If the foul is in the end zone, the ball will be placed on the defense’s one- yard line, or half the distance to the goal, whichever is more advantageous to Team A. Note: During a placekick on a kickoff, the kicking team may use a manufactured tee that is one inch in height and approved by the League. Down by Contact. Penalties for fouls committed by non-players shall be enforced as provided for in Rule 13. Member clubs of the League may amend the rules from time to time, pursuant to the applicable voting procedures of the NFL Constitution and Bylaws. A Double Foul is a foul by either team during the same down during which both teams commit at least one foul, including dead ball fouls. Whether a player’s momentum spot was in the field of play or in the end zone (Rule 11-5-1-b, exc. When a fumble goes out of bounds between the goal lines, the following shall apply: Item 4. (See, when any legal or illegal kick touches the receivers’ goal posts or crossbar, unless it scores a field goal. The hash marks’ new location also helped pass defenses by creating visual markers on the field for the five underneath zones some teams liked to play at the time. Penalty: For tripping by either team: Loss of 10 yards. Photographers and other personnel accredited for field-level work must not be permitted in the end zones or any other part of the official playing field while play is in progress. For fair catch exception, see 10-2. The proposal that was eventually set forth by the competition committee -- … Dead Ball Foul by Team A. To gain possession of a loose ball that has been caught, intercepted, or recovered, a player (a) must have complete control of the ball with his hands or arms and (b) have both feet or any other part of his body, other than his hands, completely on the ground inbounds, and, after (a) and (b) have been fulfilled, perform any act common to the game (e.g., tuck the ball away, extend it forward, take an additional step, turn upfield, or avoid or ward off an opponent). When a team provides the impetus (3-17) that sends a loose ball behind its opponent’s goal line, it is a touchback: After a touchback, the team that has been awarded the touchback next snaps the ball at its 20-yard line from any point on or between the inbound lines, unless the touchback results from a free kick, in which case the ball shall be placed at the team’s 25-yard line. Field goals regularly account for more than 20 percent of all scoring in a season. In line with the Inbound Lines there shall be marks at 1-yard intervals between each distance of 5 yards for the full length of the field. Note: An offensive player wearing the number of an eligible pass receiver who reports as ineligible must line up within the normal five-player core formed by ineligible players. A foul against an official is not part of a Multiple Foul and will be enforced in addition to any other foul. Penalty: For illegal clipping: Loss of 15 yards. If the foul is by the defense, it is also an automatic first down. A kickoff or punt returner attempting to field a kick in the air, A kicker/punter during the kick or during the return (Also see, A quarterback at any time after a change of possession (Also see. A Penalty is imposed upon a team that has committed a foul and may result in loss of down, loss of yardage, an automatic first down, a charged timeout, a loss of playing time, withdrawal or disqualification of a player, extension of a period, the award of a score, or a combination of the preceding. 2020 Rules Changes and Points of Emphasis. An official shall declare the ball dead and the down ended: Note: The game clock will not stop when this occurs, and the play clock will be reset to 40 seconds. Passer re-cocks his arm. (See 7-4-2-Item 6 for such a foul after the two-minute warning of either half.). Unless expressly prohibited, the penalty for any foul may be declined by the offended team, and play proceeds as though no foul had been committed. A play negated by penalty prior to the snap or during the play counts as a missed play. If Team A fouls before the first change of possession, the Try shall be deemed to have failed. The snap must be received by a player who is not on the line at the snap, unless the ball first strikes the ground. Wristbands, provided they are white or black only. Except where permitted by rule, handing the ball forward to a teammate is illegal. (See 12-1-5-d-exc. Team possession, the number of the succeeding down, the relative position of the ball on the field of play, and the line to gain remain the same. A down that starts with a free kick is a Free Kick Down (6-1-1). Close-Line Play is contact that occurs in an area extending between the outside edges of the normal tackle positions and three yards on either side of the line of scrimmage. Forward Pass or Fumble. Two weeks after colleges approved the change, the NFL voted to do the same. A Team B player in a two-point stance is considered to be on the line if any part of his body is breaking the vertical plane that passes through the feet of the deepest down lineman. Receiver Out of Bounds. A team will be permitted a third challenge if it is successful on both of its challenges. White shirts are to be worn by members of the chain crew. See. They remain Team A and Team B until a down ends, even though there may be one or more changes of possession during the down. For a player to be on the field, both feet or a body part must touch the ground in the field of play. On a touchdown, the penalty, whether a live-ball or dead-ball foul or a foul between downs, can be enforced on the succeeding kickoff or Try. The following is prohibited against a player who is the recipient of a Crackback Block: Note: A player who initiates contact against such an opponent is responsible for avoiding an illegal act. the offense commits a foul after the ball is made ready for play, and causes the clock to stop before a snap, during the fourth quarter or overtime; the timeout causes the clock to stop or delays the clock from starting on the ready-for-play signal, , or during which the period had been extended pursuant to this Article, is a double foul with a change of possession (“clean hands” rule, see, Players, Substitutes, Equipment, General Rules, does not go beyond the line of scrimmage, or, and goes beyond the line of scrimmage, and until the kick ends (either team secures possession of the ball, or the ball is dead by rule), If the foul occurs in the end zone, it is deemed to have occurred at the 20-yard line. For 12 or more players in the offensive huddle (whistle blown immediately and ball remains dead): Loss of five yards from the succeeding spot. Consecutive Team Timeouts. The snap must start with the ball on the ground, with its long axis at right angles to the line. Each challenge requires an available team timeout. If there is a personal foul or unsportsmanlike conduct foul by the defense prior to the completion of a forward pass thrown from behind the line, enforcement is from the previous spot or the dead-ball spot, whichever is more beneficial to the offense. The helmet and mandatory padding referenced in Article 3 below are intended to provide reasonable protection to a player while reasonably avoiding risk of injury to other players. How would the game change if the league narrowed the goal posts or moved the hash marks so they don’t line up with the goal posts? Penalty: For illegal touching of a free kick by the kicking team: Loss of five yards. Note: A foul for running into or roughing the kicker or holder can be removed if the kicked ball was touched before the contact. Item 2. Player Out of Bounds on Scrimmage Kick. A passer, after delaying his passing action for strategic purposes, is prohibited from throwing the ball to the ground in front of him, even though he is under no pressure from defensive rusher(s). A1 blocks a defensive player in the area of the thigh or lower, and A2, simultaneously or immediately after the block by A1, engages the defensive player high (“reverse chop”). If the receiving team touches the ball beyond the line, a subsequent catch or recovery by the kicking team is legal, but the ball is dead. If there is a live-ball foul by the defensive team that is accepted, the offensive team may choose to extend the period by an untimed down after enforcement of the penalty. Part of a broad package designed to rev up the game, the change was made to produce more exciting returns. On a successful Try kick, the scoring team has the option to replay the down following enforcement of the penalty from the previous spot or the other Try spot. In the league’s early days, the rules-change process evolved slowly. Size and location of logos and names on shoes must be approved by the League office. A Free Kick Play begins with a legal or illegal free kick and ends when a player of either team establishes possession of the ball, or when the ball is dead by rule. If spectators enter the field and/or interfere with the progress of the game in such a manner that in the opinion of the Referee the game cannot continue, the Referee shall declare timeout. The Line of Scrimmage is the vertical plane of the yard line that passes through the forward point of the ball after it has been made ready for play. A free kick is a kickoff or safety kick that puts the ball in play to start a free kick down. A rushing defender is prohibited from forcibly hitting in the knee area or below a passer who has one or both feet on the ground, even if the initial contact is above the knee. The Referee is to have general oversight and control of the game. It is also first-and-10 after enforcement for a Dead Ball Foul (Section 4, Article 9) by Team A at the end of a play from scrimmage when there has not been a change of possession. Whether a pass was complete or incomplete. Both teams must be on the field to kick off at the scheduled time for the start of each half. Intercepted Illegal Pass. If communications are restored during the review, the League office will review the play as normal. In instances under these emergency procedures which require the Commissioner to reschedule a regular-season game, the Commissioner will make every effort to set the game for no later than two days after its originally scheduled date, and will attempt to schedule the game at its original site. The kick must be a placekick or dropkick made by the offense from on or behind the line of scrimmage or from the spot of a fair catch (fair-catch kick). It is a foul for running into the kicker if a defensive player: For roughing the kicker: Loss of 15 yards from the previous spot (personal foul) and an automatic first down. Fair-catch interference, interference with the opportunity to make a catch, an invalid fair-catch signal, or a personal foul (blocking) after a fair-catch signal are enforced from the spot of the foul. That’s been true from the league’s earliest days. if a scrimmage kick has not been touched by a player of the receiving team beyond the line of scrimmage, and the ball: if any legal or illegal kick touches the receivers’ goal posts, crossbar, or uprights, other than one which scores a field goal, if the kickers interfere with the opportunity to catch an airborne kick or with a fair catch behind the receivers’ goal line (, if a player of the kicking team illegally catches or recovers a scrimmage kick in the field of play, and carries the ball across the goal line, or touches the goal line with any part of his body while in possession of the ball. Note: It is the responsibility of the home team to furnish playable balls at all times by attendants from either side of the playing field. The lines at each end of the field are termed End Lines. A player is Offside when any part of his body or his person is in the Neutral Zone, or is beyond his free kick line, or fair catch kick line when the ball is put in play, unless he is a holder of a placekick for a free kick (6-1-3-b-1) or fair catch kick (11-4-3), or a kicker (6-1-3-b-2). There is not an automatic first down. Any such circumstances must be reported to the Commissioner. Note: When both benches are so located, the chain crew and linespersons are to operate during the entire game on the opposite side to the benches. (See. If such color is worn, it must be broken by stripes or other patterns of sharply contrasting color or colors. The area bounded by goal lines and sidelines is known as the Field of Play. If the kickers catch or recover the ball in the end zone after the receivers first touch the ball in the field of play or the end zone, it is a touchdown for the kickers. The impetus for a rules change can come from almost anywhere — controversies over plays or players, unusual circumstances and trends in scoring, injuries and penalties. All jerseys must carry a small NFL Shield logo at the middle of the yoke of the neck on the front of the garment. See 19-1-3. Enforcement is from: Note: Violations which occur before or during the game may result in disqualification in addition to the yardage penalty. A change of possession occurs when a player of the defensive team secures possession of a ball that has been kicked, passed, or fumbled by a player of the offensive team, or when the ball is awarded to the opposing team by rule. Such a movement is a pass even if the ball does not leave his hand or hands, provided a teammate takes it (hand-to-hand pass). A challenge is considered successful if any reviewable aspect of the play is changed. The ball may be advanced by any opponent. Whether a field goal or Try attempt crossed above the crossbar and inside the uprights is reviewable, but only if the ball crosses the plane of the goal post below the top of the uprights, or if the ball touches anything. (See Section 2, Article 1, Item 2-b.). Only one captain is permitted to indicate the team’s penalty option. Illegal Passes. Items to celebrate anniversaries or memorable events, or to honor or commemorate individuals, such as helmet decals, and arm bands and jersey patches on players’ uniforms, are prohibited unless approved in advance by the League office. Using abusive, threatening, or insulting language or gestures to opponents, teammates, officials, or representatives of the League. Item 2. See also 12-2-8-h for personal fouls against the kicker. If the enforcement of a distance penalty would move the ball more than half the distance from the spot of enforcement to the offender’s goal line, the penalty shall be half the distance from the spot of enforcement to its goal line. Players are not permitted to wear bandannas, stockings, or other unapproved headwear anywhere on the field during the pregame, game, or postgame periods, even if such items are worn under their helmets. See Rule. For clubs with a third official uniform color, player (non-interior linemen) gloves may also incorporate a third official uniform color as an accent only. If it is impossible to schedule the game within two days after its original date, the Commissioner will attempt to schedule it on the Tuesday of the next calendar week in which the two involved clubs play other clubs (or each other). Tear-away jerseys are prohibited. Tinted eye shields may be worn only after the League office is supplied with appropriate medical documentation and approval is subsequently granted. he moves more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage without contacting an opponent, after losing contact with an opponent within one yard of the line of scrimmage, he advances more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage. Item 3. The ball is not dead because it touches an official who is inbounds, or because of a signal by an official other than a whistle. At the end of the first and third periods, the teams must change goals. The Umpire will stand over the ball until the Referee deems that the defense has had a reasonable time to complete its substitutions. While in the process of a substitution (or simulated substitution), the offense is prohibited from rushing quickly to the line of scrimmage and snapping the ball in an obvious attempt to cause a defensive foul (i.e., too many men on the field). Incidental contact is not a foul. It is a Touchdown if any part of the ball is on, above, or behind the opponent’s goal line while legally in possession of an inbounds player, provided it is not a touchback. “One thing hasn’t changed: the pressure. A blocker may use his arms, or open or closed hands, to contact an opponent on or outside the opponent’s frame (the body of an opponent below the neck that is presented to the blocker), provided that he does not materially restrict him. A safety kick is made if requested by the receivers. The areas bounded by goal lines and lines parallel to, and 70 feet 9 inches inbounds, from each sideline, are known as the Side Zones. Intentional grounding should not be called if: Item 3. NFL Football Operations’ mission is to establish a culture of clarity, consistency and credibility in all aspects of the greatest game. 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