Author Topic: Is this play legal?  (Read 1504 times)

Offline dch

  • *
  • Posts: 68
  • FAN REACTION: +0/-0
Is this play legal?
« on: September 04, 2017, 08:16:49 PM »
Is this play legal?
This came to my attention because a team in our area ran an interesting variation of the “hook and lateral” play.
A wider receiver (A82) runs a 12 yard button hook.  The left tackle (A76) side stepped on the line so as to avoid contact -- then ran downfield to the outside and caught a short backward pass from A82.  He managed to gain another 15 yards up the sideline.  A76 was 2 or 3 yards beyond the line of scrimmage when the forward pass from the quarterback to A82 was released.   

Rule 7.12 states “….. An ineligible is not illegally downfield if, at the snap, he immediately contacts a B lineman and the contact does not continue beyond the expanded neutral zone.”

Therefore, it is clear to me that an ineligible who does not contact a B lineman is illegally downfield if he is 2 steps beyond the line of scrimmage when the pass is thrown.  By rule, the expanded neutral zone can exist for some ineligible players and not for others during the same play.

The play described above should have drawn a flag.

Offline VA Official

  • *
  • Posts: 157
  • FAN REACTION: +4/-5
  • Without officials... it is only recess.
Re: Is this play legal?
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2017, 09:03:30 PM »
7-5-12 is pretty clear. If the ineligible receiver is more than 2 yards beyond the defensive LOS before the legal forward pass is thrown and it crosses the NZ,  ^flag
« Last Edit: September 04, 2017, 09:07:54 PM by VA Official »

Offline Jackhammer

  • *
  • Posts: 239
  • FAN REACTION: +13/-5
Re: Is this play legal?
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2017, 10:27:52 PM »
By rule, the expanded neutral zone can exist for some ineligible players and not for others during the same play.


I'm not sure what you mean by the above statement.  This is not my understanding of 7-5-12.  VA has correctly referenced, the expanded neutral zone is 2 yards.

You note, "A76 was 2 or 3 yards beyond the LOS at release of the pass."  If he was 2 yards, legal.  If he was 3 yards, he's ineligibly downfield.
"The only whistle that kills a play is an inadvertent one"

"The only thing black and white in officiating is the uniform"

Offline NVFOA_Ump

  • *
  • Posts: 2840
  • FAN REACTION: +71/-101
  • High School (MA)
    • Massachusetts Independent Football Officials Association
Re: Is this play legal?
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2017, 06:41:48 AM »
I'm not sure what you mean by the above statement.  This is not my understanding of 7-5-12.  VA has correctly referenced, the expanded neutral zone is 2 yards.

You note, "A76 was 2 or 3 yards beyond the LOS at release of the pass."  If he was 2 yards, legal.  If he was 3 yards, he's ineligibly downfield.

The expanded NZ only applies if the A lineman was engaged blocking immediately at the snap and was still engaged while beyond the NZ.  He cannot simply avoid contact and be beyond the NZ when the pass is thrown.  On this play as described there is no expanded NZ for A76 since he was never in contact with a defensive player. If he was engaged blocking "2-3 yards" beyond the NZ on this play IMHO he's not getting my flag.
It's easy to get the players, getting 'em to play together, that's the hard part. - Casey Stengel

Offline KDJBBBJ

  • *
  • Posts: 51
  • FAN REACTION: +1/-1
Re: Is this play legal?
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2017, 05:16:56 PM »
7-5-ART. 12 . . . Ineligible A players may not advance beyond the expanded neutral zone on a legal forward pass play before a legal forward pass that crosses the neutral zone is in flight. If B touches the pass in or behind the neutral zone, this restriction is terminated. An ineligible is not illegally downfield if, at the snap, he immediately contacts a B lineman and the contact does not continue beyond the expanded neutral zone.

IMHO  First sentence says that they can be in the 2 yard expanded neutral zone.  If they contact a B player in the zone not immediately he is illegally downfield and if he continues any contact beyond the expanded zone he is the guilty of OPI     

That's the way I read it, I was taught and understand it.


Offline Jackhammer

  • *
  • Posts: 239
  • FAN REACTION: +13/-5
Re: Is this play legal?
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2017, 04:37:41 PM »
The expanded NZ only applies if the A lineman was engaged blocking immediately at the snap and was still engaged while beyond the NZ.  He cannot simply avoid contact and be beyond the NZ when the pass is thrown.  On this play as described there is no expanded NZ for A76 since he was never in contact with a defensive player. If he was engaged blocking "2-3 yards" beyond the NZ on this play IMHO he's not getting my flag.

I don't understand it this way. 

As KDJBBJ points out this is my understanding. 

The final sentence of 7-5-12 is superfluous, it does NOT contradict the first sentence of the rule, but I do believe it creates confusion in the interpretation of this rule.
"The only whistle that kills a play is an inadvertent one"

"The only thing black and white in officiating is the uniform"

Offline NVFOA_Ump

  • *
  • Posts: 2840
  • FAN REACTION: +71/-101
  • High School (MA)
    • Massachusetts Independent Football Officials Association
Re: Is this play legal?
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2017, 08:39:07 AM »
The final sentence of 7-5-12 is superfluous, it does NOT contradict the first sentence of the rule, but I do believe it creates confusion in the interpretation of this rule.

I don't agree that a clearly worded, not withstanding the multiple negatives, sentence in the rules is "superfluous".  That last sentence without any ambiguity defines what the team A linemen must do to gain the advantage of the expanded neutral zone.  If he's not blocking, then he is restricted to the original NZ and does not get the benefit of the expanded NZ.

I would agree that we could use better English in that last sentence:

From the original negative text:  "An ineligible is not illegally downfield if, at the snap, he immediately contacts a B lineman and the contact does not continue beyond the expanded neutral zone".

To an improved (IMO) positive text: "An ineligible within the expanded neutral zone is illegally downfield if he is not blocking a B lineman."

Or maybe some other thoughts on how to best reword the intent of the rule here?
It's easy to get the players, getting 'em to play together, that's the hard part. - Casey Stengel

Offline Jackhammer

  • *
  • Posts: 239
  • FAN REACTION: +13/-5
Re: Is this play legal?
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2017, 10:04:39 PM »
NVFOA,
How do you overcome the clearly worded first sentence?  It states a lineman gets the expanded neutral zone. 

The last sentence describes more of what a lineman can do, hence my claim it's superfluous.  My suggestion for an edit would be to simply delete the final sentence.

I don't think you can read both sentences of this rule and interpret it to mean a lineman MUST be engaged to be ineligibly downfield.

At least this is my understanding of the rule.
"The only whistle that kills a play is an inadvertent one"

"The only thing black and white in officiating is the uniform"

Offline NVFOA_Ump

  • *
  • Posts: 2840
  • FAN REACTION: +71/-101
  • High School (MA)
    • Massachusetts Independent Football Officials Association
Re: Is this play legal?
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2017, 06:07:55 AM »
Well we can certainly agree that the wording could be better, but the 2nd sentence is there and I don't believe that it has no real meaning or that it doesn't clarify the intent of the expanded NZ on pass plays.

We've watched some "we didn't get it right" videos where there was a screen set up with one or more linemen 2-3 yards downfield waiting to block for a RB on a screen, when the QB can't find the RB and passes downfield toward a WR.  We've been instructed that this has to get a flag for ineligible downfield.  The explanation from our rules interpreter has consistently been that the linemen do not get the expanded NZ unless they are actually blocking a B player.
It's easy to get the players, getting 'em to play together, that's the hard part. - Casey Stengel