Author Topic: Swinging gate and the new formation rule  (Read 4014 times)

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Offline NVFOA_Ump

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #25 on: July 14, 2019, 07:27:36 PM »
An end is never NOT eligible, unless he is wearing an ineligible number.

You might have an illegal formation or illegal numbering but if he's wearing 1-49 or 80-99 and he's and end or a back, he is an eligible
receiver, always.

Actually, according to our pre-season meeting we had a clear consensus that that is not correct since the numbering exception REQUIRES that there be 5 ineligible linemen "INSIDE THE ENDS".  The change to requiring only 5 linemen on scrimmage downs has created some conflict with the numbering exception rules.  Not sure where this goes but in the opinion of our group there needs to be some clarification here.  The intent of the rules is very clear in that we and more importantly the defense know who is eligible and right now that's an open question.
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Offline HLinNC

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #26 on: July 14, 2019, 07:57:02 PM »
Sorry but whatever consensus was reached doesn't supersede definitions in Rule 2.  Sounds like overthinking on your group's part. 

Offline NVFOA_Ump

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #27 on: July 14, 2019, 08:05:47 PM »
Sorry but whatever consensus was reached doesn't supersede definitions in Rule 2.  Sounds like overthinking on your group's part.

Except there is now a direct conflict in the rules with the 2018 change for the 5 lineman requirement.  The scrimmage kick formation requires that there be 5 ineligible linemen on the LOS.  Since the 7 lineman requirement is gone and the 2 "ends" are not there we are left with the required minimum 5 linemen who by the scrimmage kick exception rule must be ineligible. No overthinking, that is what the rule states.  We'll see what further guidance we get from our rules interpreter in our next meeting.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2019, 08:08:33 PM by NVFOA_Ump »
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Offline Magician

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #28 on: July 14, 2019, 09:34:39 PM »
Except there is now a direct conflict in the rules with the 2018 change for the 5 lineman requirement.  The scrimmage kick formation requires that there be 5 ineligible linemen on the LOS.  Since the 7 lineman requirement is gone and the 2 "ends" are not there we are left with the required minimum 5 linemen who by the scrimmage kick exception rule must be ineligible. No overthinking, that is what the rule states.  We'll see what further guidance we get from our rules interpreter in our next meeting.

HLinNC is correct. You are overthinking it. If this is the formation in scrimmage kick:

42 53 57 82(snapper) 65 37

with two wing backs a holder and a kicker they are legal since there are no more than 4 in the backfield. 82 is a numbering exception and 42 and 37 are eligible receivers if they run a fake or fire drill. Trying to make this illegal means you aren't looking at the intent of the rules. As is often stated, officiate WITH the rules and not BY the rules.

Offline NVFOA_Ump

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #29 on: July 15, 2019, 06:38:03 AM »
HLinNC is correct. You are overthinking it. If this is the formation in scrimmage kick:

42 53 57 82(snapper) 65 37

with two wing backs a holder and a kicker they are legal since there are no more than 4 in the backfield. 82 is a numbering exception and 42 and 37 are eligible receivers if they run a fake or fire drill. Trying to make this illegal means you aren't looking at the intent of the rules. As is often stated, officiate WITH the rules and not BY the rules.
So who are the 5 "interior" lineman required by this years rule change?  And if 42 and 37 are both eligible receivers that conflicts with that same rule change and also conflicts with the numbering exception requirements.  So we're saying we let both 42 and 37 go out for a pass but flag for only an illegal formation?
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Online CalhounLJ

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #30 on: July 15, 2019, 06:46:37 AM »
HLinNC is correct. You are overthinking it. If this is the formation in scrimmage kick:

42 53 57 82(snapper) 65 37

with two wing backs a holder and a kicker they are legal since there are no more than 4 in the backfield. 82 is a numbering exception and 42 and 37 are eligible receivers if they run a fake or fire drill. Trying to make this illegal means you aren't looking at the intent of the rules. As is often stated, officiate WITH the rules and not BY the rules.

Heres the problem with the illustration you present:

If Team A has the snapper in the game under this exception, Team A shall have four players wearing numbers 50-79 on its line of scrimmage.

Your formation only has 3 linemen numbered 50-79. 


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Online CalhounLJ

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #31 on: July 15, 2019, 06:51:21 AM »
The question I posted is a bit different. I was using the try or 4th down exception that allows any or all 50-79 players to be replaced. The basic question is whether the new requirement for 5  numbered 50-79 means that there must be 5 ineligibles inside the ends when using that exception. If there are only 4 is that a foul?


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Offline NVFOA_Ump

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #32 on: July 15, 2019, 07:08:43 AM »
The question I posted is a bit different. I was using the try or 4th down exception that allows any or all 50-79 players to be replaced. The basic question is whether the new requirement for 5  numbered 50-79 means that there must be 5 ineligibles inside the ends when using that exception. If there are only 4 is that a foul?
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That is exactly the question.  The current rules as printed do not reconcile with regards to the scrimmage kick numbering exception when all players have eligible numbers and there are not 11 players on the field with at least 7 on the line of scrimmage.  The numbering exception in that case REQUIRES the line to look something like:

80  81  82  83  84  85  86 where the 5 "interior" players are ineligible by rule.  anything less then 7 in the case of a scrimmage kick numbering exception play leaves a question as to who are the 5 ineligible linemen "between the ends" and therefore must as a minimum be an illegal formation foul.
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Offline Magician

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #33 on: July 15, 2019, 07:58:28 AM »
So who are the 5 "interior" lineman required by this years rule change?  And if 42 and 37 are both eligible receivers that conflicts with that same rule change and also conflicts with the numbering exception requirements.  So we're saying we let both 42 and 37 go out for a pass but flag for only an illegal formation?

You are being confused by the extra statement they unnecessarily included in the updated rule. There was no need to address the minimum number of linemen in the new rule because that was already covered by the number rule (which happens to be the next rule in the book!). They had good intentions but it's created confusion.

Why is there a numbering rule to begin with? It's to make it easier for the defense (and ultimately us as well) to determine who may be eligible once the play develops. Since there are generally going to be 5 interior linemen assuming the team has 11 players and no more than 4 in the backfield, then it's logical there would be 5 ineligible players. Requiring them to be 50-79 then is logical. Rulesmakers also recognize on scrimmage kick plays there is good reason to allow normally eligible numbers to occupy those positions, thus we have the numbering exception. An enterprising and annoying coach found a loophole a few years ago to use the numbering exception on every play to try to confuse the defense so we had a rule change to address that. They over engineered the rule but in general it accomplishes what it needs to accomplish.

This year's rule change allows a team to snap the ball legally with 10 players and only 6 on the line. For normal scrimmage plays if the missing player is an interior lineman you will violate the minimum of 5 ineligible numbers on the line. I understand we should flag that, but I would be fine if we let that go by philosophy. The numbering exception on scrimmage kicks gives us more flexibility though because we no longer need 5 ineligible numbers on the line. I would definitely stay away from flagging an ineligible formation in this situation. They aren't gaining any advantage in fact they have put themselves in a disadvantage. If you are going to be that technical you are missing the intent of the rule and being too much of a rule book official.f If you assigner/supervisor/grader tells you to be that technical then definitely be that technical. It's no very likely to happen often anyway.

Even if you are going to call this an illegal formation, the ends are still eligible because they have an eligible number and they are on the end of the line. That's all that's required for eligibility. It doesn't say anything about being in a legal formation as well.

You aren't gaining an advantage if you are short a player and that player is

Offline toma

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #34 on: July 15, 2019, 08:57:55 AM »
I would hope during the pre-game meeting with the HC you've asked "Coach do you have anything unusual"?.  We went to be prepare to rule properly. He explains it we see issues,  ^flag ^flag. address it then, not during the game.

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #35 on: July 15, 2019, 09:00:05 AM »
I agree with the philosophy of advantage/disadvantage, intent of the rule and all that. However, I do think we can take that principle to the extreme. There are some situations in which a foul should be called just because it's a clear violation of the written rule. For example, the "less than five in the backfield rule." I'm assuming (and have read on this forum) that the basic philosophy behind the intent of this rule is to prevent A from manipulating the number of eligible receivers they can have on any given play. If this is true, then the only advantage they would create in having 5 in the backfield would be on a pass play. To strictly apply advantage/disadvantage and intent would create a situation in which we only throw a flag if A throws a pass. I think we all disagree on that.

IMHO, this discussion we are having is the same way. It either is an illegal formation or not; it is either illegal numbering or not. The rulemakers need to clarify this confusion. We can't justify it away or explain it in a way that will fix the problem.

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #36 on: July 15, 2019, 09:03:38 AM »
I would hope during the pre-game meeting with the HC you've asked "Coach do you have anything unusual"?.  We went to be prepare to rule properly. He explains it we see issues,  ^flag ^flag. address it then, not during the game.
This is not an issue that would normally be addressed in pregame. This is more of an issue of not having enough players in the game at a given time. We wouldn't say something like, "Coach, in the event you or your team make the mistake of only sending 10 out on a punt, you need to make sure there are at least 5 properly numbered."

Offline Magician

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #37 on: July 15, 2019, 02:32:43 PM »
I agree with the philosophy of advantage/disadvantage, intent of the rule and all that. However, I do think we can take that principle to the extreme. There are some situations in which a foul should be called just because it's a clear violation of the written rule. For example, the "less than five in the backfield rule." I'm assuming (and have read on this forum) that the basic philosophy behind the intent of this rule is to prevent A from manipulating the number of eligible receivers they can have on any given play. If this is true, then the only advantage they would create in having 5 in the backfield would be on a pass play. To strictly apply advantage/disadvantage and intent would create a situation in which we only throw a flag if A throws a pass. I think we all disagree on that.

IMHO, this discussion we are having is the same way. It either is an illegal formation or not; it is either illegal numbering or not. The rulemakers need to clarify this confusion. We can't justify it away or explain it in a way that will fix the problem.

There is an advantage if you have 5 backs because you have a tackle that is too far into the backfield or a receiver who should be an end but gets a little more space to get a release from a pressed DB. That's a huge disadvantage for the defense. That's why it's always a foul. It could apply in both a run or pass situation. The deep tackle or guard could be pulling on a run so if they set up back a little it gives them more space to get started. Yes, there are other procedural fouls that are not advantage/disadvantage type fouls, but I wouldn't get too technical if it's caused because A is playing with TOO FEW players. They are already at a disadvantage.

If you start a justification with "technically it's a foul" you should probably stay away from flagging it. Technically a player lined up in no-man's land is a foul, but by philosophy we don't call it. You could use the same argument for that play you are using here. Is it a foul or isn't it? Why don't the rulemakers clarify it? If you want to call that go ahead. It would be very career limiting for me to do that however.

Offline ucanfindmj

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #38 on: July 15, 2019, 03:11:00 PM »
This came up at our meeting last night:

In a swinging gate formation for a try, A sends 10 players out, all with receiver's numbers, lined up like this:

         A1   A2   A3   A4   A5   A6(SNAPPER)
      A7                                     A8

                                            A9
                                            A10



The question is, using the numbering exception, can this be a legal formation? The assumption is that the only way A can line up with less than 5 linemen numbered 50-79, they must use the numbering exception, and if a player is in under the numbering exception, he/she must take an initial position BETWEEN the ends, and remains an ineligible receiver. While it is now legal to have 6 on the line, it is impossible for there to be 5 players legally using the numbering exception on this particular formation. If only 4 are using the exception, doesn't there have to be at least 1 player numbered 50-79? Plus, if there are 5 in under the exception, at least one of the otherwise eligible receivers (A1 and A6) must be declared ineligible because of being in under the exception. If that's the case, which one is declared? Any and all help appreciated.

The receiver must be eligible by both position and number.  The snapper in this formation, by the exception 7-2-5b would be in an illegal formation if on 1st 2nd or 3rd down, as he is not between the ends.  If he is wearing 50-79 then he is fine to snap from the end, but remains ineligible by number.

For a kick try, we simply do not know if this player is under the numbering exception as he may be an end who is snapping for the try from the end and not part of the numbering exception. 

Best handled by pregame conference with head coaches when asked "do you run any unusual plays or formations"
« Last Edit: July 15, 2019, 03:15:56 PM by ucanfindmj »

Online CalhounLJ

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #39 on: July 15, 2019, 03:19:06 PM »
The receiver must be eligible by both position and number.  The snapper in this formation, by the exception 7-2-5b would be in an illegal formation if on 1st 2nd or 3rd down, as he is not between the ends.  If he is wearing 50-79 then he is fine to snap from the end, but remains ineligible by number.

For a kick try, we simply do not know if this player is under the numbering exception as he may be an end who is snapping for the try from the end and not part of the numbering exception. 

Thanks, but that's really not the issue. The issue is with the number of ineligibles "inside the ends." Reread the entire thread and I think you will get the picture. ( if you have the proper interpretation  :thumbup)

Best handled by pregame conference with head coaches when asked "do you run any unusual plays or formations"

Offline NVFOA_Ump

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #40 on: July 16, 2019, 07:04:12 AM »
If you start a justification with "technically it's a foul" you should probably stay away from flagging it. Technically a player lined up in no-man's land is a foul, but by philosophy we don't call it. You could use the same argument for that play you are using here. Is it a foul or isn't it? Why don't the rulemakers clarify it? If you want to call that go ahead. It would be very career limiting for me to do that however.

I would offer that it would far more "career limiting" if the snapper here on the end of a 6 man line of all eligible numbers caught the winning TD pass on a fake kick play.  That's without debate an illegal formation per the numbering exception rules and I don't want my supervisor passing the video around asking how did we miss a clear and flagrant formation violation.  Or alternately,  are we going to throw a late flag after the TD and offer that the nit just changed to a foul because of the significance of the play?

I would also offer that where any form of trick play is on the table that we should be vigilant about not allowing a team to stretch the rules to gain an advantage.  It's not our place to determine whether or not the "missing" 7th lineman was an oversight by number 81 resting on the bench.  This is simply an illegal formation foul. 
« Last Edit: July 16, 2019, 07:22:19 AM by NVFOA_Ump »
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Offline Magician

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #41 on: July 16, 2019, 10:58:32 AM »
I would offer that it would far more "career limiting" if the snapper here on the end of a 6 man line of all eligible numbers caught the winning TD pass on a fake kick play.  That's without debate an illegal formation per the numbering exception rules and I don't want my supervisor passing the video around asking how did we miss a clear and flagrant formation violation.  Or alternately,  are we going to throw a late flag after the TD and offer that the nit just changed to a foul because of the significance of the play?

I would also offer that where any form of trick play is on the table that we should be vigilant about not allowing a team to stretch the rules to gain an advantage.  It's not our place to determine whether or not the "missing" 7th lineman was an oversight by number 81 resting on the bench.  This is simply an illegal formation foul. 

If it's going to be called it's illegal numbering and not illegal formation, a difference without significance because it's the same signal and same penalty.

Do you agree the intent of the numbering exception is to allow the offense to have fewer than 5 ineligible numbers on the line? Do you agree the intent of the rule change was to allow a team to legally line up with only 6 linemen if they are have 10 players on the field?

You can be uber technical now and say in a scrimmage kick formation you need to have 7 on the line so you can have up to 5 interior linemen as exceptions, but that's not what the rule is trying to accomplish. To make this an illegal formation or illegal numbering is trying to be way too technical and the "gotcha" official. Nobody wants to work with that official which is why it would be career limiting in my area. Maybe your area likes the gotcha official who only calls things black and white. I can guarantee if you have any interest in moving up to college you will be dropped from consideration immediately. If that's not an ambition than it's only a matter of how your local high school associations operate. Do you flag the slot guy in no-man's land as an illegal formation? That's the same level of technicality you are trying to apply here.

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #42 on: July 16, 2019, 11:33:21 AM »
I have to disagree that those who want clarification on this rule are being too technical. Some of the illustrations you give in your argument go against both the rule book AND the accompanied casebook examples. At the High School level we are constantly encouraged to follow both the intent and the writing of the rule. When those two collide (as they have here) the solution is not to ignore the clear writing of the rule, but to rewrite the rule so that it lines up better with the intent. I appreciate the fact that intent is pushed intensely at the college level, but that's the college game. Not every philosophy at that level works at the high school level. On the other hand, I have watched college games in which the letter of the rule superceded the common sense intent of the rule. For example, I watched a game in which two players on offense wore the same number. They both went in at different times during the same series and it was flagged. I'm not sure, but I suspect the intent of this rule is to keep A from deceiving B by confusing the personnel. Only problem with that is that one of the players was like 5'11", 180, and the other was 6'2" 245. There was no way B could get the two mixed up. Should have been "no harm, no foul," but because the RULE said it was a foul, the officials threw the flag. there are certain situations in which the clear, written rule is called simply because it's a rule. We can argue intent all day long, but the clearly written rule here says that there has to be 5 ineligible numbers on the line unless the numbering exception is being used, and then if it's 1, 2, or 3rd down, there has to be 4.

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #43 on: July 16, 2019, 11:37:34 AM »
Another example of rule over intent is the playoff rules question on this page. With the rule change, R can take K's penalty at the succeeding spot. The intent of that rule is to keep from having to rekick as much as possible. The problem with the first touching scenario is that pesky rule that states first touching goes away if a penalty is accepted. In keeping with the philosophy of reducing rekicks, we could use the intent excuse, ignore the rule and enforce from the first-touching spot, because technically it's the succeeding spot. But my tenure as a WH would be in jeopardy if I did that.

Offline NVFOA_Ump

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #44 on: July 16, 2019, 02:46:29 PM »
The problem with the first touching scenario is that pesky rule that states first touching goes away if a penalty is accepted.

Rule reference please?
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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #45 on: July 16, 2019, 02:52:05 PM »
6-1-7:
ART. 7 . . . If any K player touches a free kick before it crosses R's free-kick line and before it is touched there by any R player, it is referred to as "first touching of the kick." R may take the ball at the spot of first touching, or any spot if there is more than one spot of first touching, or they may choose to have the ball put in play as determined by the action which follows first touching. Such touching is ignored if it is caused by R pushing or blocking K into contact with the ball. The right of R to take the ball at the spot of first touching by K is canceled if R touches the kick and thereafter during the down commits a foul or if the penalty is accepted for any foul committed during the down.

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #46 on: July 16, 2019, 02:57:28 PM »
6-2-5:
ART. 5 . . . When any K player touches a scrimmage kick beyond the expanded neutral zone to R's goal line before it is touched beyond the neutral zone by R and before the ball has come to rest, it is referred to as "first touching of the kick" and the place is the "spot of first touching." Such touching is ignored if it is caused by R pushing or blocking K into contact with the ball.

If any K player touches a scrimmage kick in this manner, R may take the ball at the spot of first touching, or any spot if there is more than one spot of first touching, or they may choose to have the ball put in play as determined by the action which follows first touching. The right of R to take the ball at spot of first touching by K is canceled if R touches the kick and thereafter during the down commits a foul or if the penalty is accepted for any foul committed during the down.

Offline NVFOA_Ump

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #47 on: July 16, 2019, 03:13:51 PM »
My read of 6-2-5 last sentence:

The right of R to take the ball at spot of first touching by K is canceled if R touches the kick and:

1.  thereafter during the down commits a foul or
2.  if the penalty is accepted for any foul committed during the down.


So a more correct wording would actually be:

The right of R to take the ball at spot of first touching by K is canceled if either R touches the kick and thereafter during the down commits a foul or if the penalty is accepted for any foul committed during the down.
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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #48 on: July 16, 2019, 03:49:15 PM »
Actually, the colon is in the wrong place. Look at it like this:
The right of R to take the ball at spot of first touching by K is cancelled if:
     1. R touches the kick and thereafter during the down commits a foul.
     2. OR, the penalty is accepted for any foul committed during the down.

Two conditions independent from each other.

Offline HLinNC

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #49 on: July 16, 2019, 04:00:04 PM »
So who are the 5 "interior" lineman required by this years rule change? 
  It's the try, the exception is in effect, they don't need the 5 #50-79. Maybe this is where your group discussion might be going off track.