Author Topic: Swinging gate and the new formation rule  (Read 4206 times)

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Offline CalhounLJ

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Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« on: June 13, 2019, 08:26:40 AM »
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.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2019, 08:30:19 AM by CalhounLJ »

Offline bossman72

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2019, 09:27:36 AM »
I wouldn't get super technical here.  Let em play. 

Offline CalhounLJ

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2019, 09:36:51 AM »
Thanks, but the study of the rules is by nature technical. This is way less technical than some discussions I have seen on this board..

Offline BIG UMP

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2019, 09:41:36 AM »
I don't have an official answer but if a kick takes place, let it slide.  If a fake, then you have to look and think about who went out and who stayed.
Big Ump
aka Shawn

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Offline HLinNC

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2019, 09:44:03 AM »
Ends are always eligible, unless ineligible by number.  The exception allows A/K to replace  any 50-79 player with a non 50-79 player on 4th down or try.    Under the new rule, its legal.

Offline CalhounLJ

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2019, 10:08:32 AM »
Ok I'll buy that. Now replace A2, A3, A4, A5 with A50, A51, A52, A54. Would that be a legal formation?

Offline Curious

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2019, 10:46:37 AM »
If I read the position of A8 in your diagram as NOT in position to take a hand-to hand snap, then the team is in a scrimmage kick formation; so, by itself, the formation would be legal. 

However, if this is not a try, and if the down is less than 4th, then the exception would not be in play.  On downs 1-3, even after the new rule, the team must still have 5 players numbered between 50-79 on the LOS. At least I haven't read anything that tells me differently...

Also, there is no requirement that a kick must actually be made.


Offline HLinNC

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2019, 11:09:21 AM »
There's no exception being used in that case, illegal numbering.

I know, it seems incongruous on the try but its not the first time the Fed changed a rule and didn't fully flesh it out.  Remember the premise behind changing to >4 in the backfield vs  7 on the line is to not punish A further for playing short.

Offline CalhounLJ

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2019, 11:11:45 AM »
Yes, that's the intent. I should have drawn it up better, but A8 is NOT in position. This is a try down, presumably using the numbering exception. in RE: to the 1-3 down scenario, this would not be a legal formation because there has to be at least 4 linemen properly numbered, plus the snapper must be between the ends, if he's using the numbering exception. But, that raises another question: If this formation was a field goal attempt, and there were only 4 linemen numbered 50-79, would the snapper have to be between the ends just because he's wearing a receiver number? In other words, can we assume the 11th player could have been the other lineman properly numbered?

Offline Magician

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2019, 11:40:57 AM »
Don't overthink this! The rule change took away a penalty on the offense if they only had 9 or 10 players and the missing player was a lineman. The intent of the previous rule was to make sure the offense didn't use a bunch of eligible players by position on a play. That is still true! The change was to remove the foul if they were short linemen because they were missing a player. Only worry about this foul if you have 5 or more in the backfield. If the offense is short an offensive lineman don't make it a foul because it technically violates another rule that exists for a different reason.

Offline CalhounLJ

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2019, 01:22:32 PM »
That makes sense, and I think I understand what you are saying, but are you saying that on downs 1-3, A can have a snapper in under the exception with only 3 linemen numbered 50-79, as long as they are 1 or more players short? in other words, if there are 11 on the field they have to have 4 linemen numbered 50-79, but if there are 10 or more they can have less? Because I think that violates 7-2-5b and the exception: "Team A shall have four players wearing numbers 50-79 on its line of scrimmage."

Offline CalhounLJ

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2019, 01:31:05 PM »
Don't overthink this! The rule change took away a penalty on the offense if they only had 9 or 10 players and the missing player was a lineman. The intent of the previous rule was to make sure the offense didn't use a bunch of eligible players by position on a play. That is still true! The change was to remove the foul if they were short linemen because they were missing a player. Only worry about this foul if you have 5 or more in the backfield. If the offense is short an offensive lineman don't make it a foul because it technically violates another rule that exists for a different reason.

ON second thought, I'm not sure I do understand. It is my understanding of the new rule change that while the change does indeed seek to take away a penalty on the offense just because they were missing a player, that missing player could NOT be a lineman, because the 5 lineman requirement was not only kept in place, but emphasized. Is that not correct?

Offline CalhounLJ

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2019, 01:32:37 PM »
ON second thought, I'm not sure I do understand. It is my understanding of the new rule change that while the change does indeed seek to take away a penalty on the offense just because they were missing a player, that missing player could NOT be a lineman ( definition: an ineligilbe receiver numbered 50-79), because the 5 lineman requirement was not only kept in place, but emphasized. Is that not correct?

Offline HLinNC

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2019, 03:05:25 PM »
Essentially yes but don't get trapped into the term lineman exclusively.   The # 50-79 element is what holds sway.  Ends on the line are linemen.

i.e.          42        88 73 66 50 72        82               Legal formation but illegal numbering.
                    27                 12
                                     
                                     32    44     


             42          74 65 50 69 77                          Formerly illegal, now legal formation.
                                    12                27

                                32    44


                     86  74 65 50 69  88                         Illegal numbering AND illegal formation
             42                   12                   82

                                32    44

Offline Magician

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2019, 05:08:17 PM »
On plays without a scrimmage kick formation you still have a requirement to have 5 linemen with ineligible numbers on the field. That hasn't changed. If they come out with only 10 players on a regular scrimmage play and #88 the TE was the missing player last year it was a foul. This year it is not. If the missing player is #56 is the missing player and there are now only 4 linemen with ineligible numbers, you don't have a foul for an illegal formation because you have only 6 linemen, but you could have a foul for illegal numbering. It's your call if you want to be technical on that, but you would definitely be supported on it. 95% of the time when a team is missing a lineman it's on a punt or FG/try where the numbering part of the rule doesn't apply. If it's 3rd and 2 and they sub out and forget to bring replace one of the linemen and you have 4 ineligible numbers with 6 linemen, then it's probably appropriate to also flag them for illegal numbering.

Most of the time when I've seen this though was on punts and I knew they only had 10 players and I could see 3 shield players and a punter and know they only had 6 linemen. It should have been a foul, but it wasn't always called, because the wing had to see our signal or I had to get on the radio and let them know. It was a silly foul because they were already playing short.

This has been an NCAA rule for several years now and the key benefit is you no longer have to count linemen. Just make sure there are no more than 4 backs (including the QB) and you are good to go.

Offline fudilligas

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2019, 06:53:56 PM »
Am I missing something or is it not this simple:

All situations have less than 5 in the backfield and may have 5, 6 or 7 on the line

1.  On all scrimmage plays, not including scrimmage kick formations, you must have at least 5 lineman numbered 50-79

2.  Scrimmage kick formations numbering exceptions:
          Downs 1,2 and 3--at least 4 players numbered 50-79 and if the snapper has an eligible receiver # he must be an interior lineman
          4th down and/or PAT--no numbering requirements and the snapper may be an eligible receiver by number and position on the line

Offline Magician

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2019, 11:11:50 PM »
Am I missing something or is it not this simple:

All situations have less than 5 in the backfield and may have 5, 6 or 7 on the line

1.  On all scrimmage plays, not including scrimmage kick formations, you must have at least 5 lineman numbered 50-79

2.  Scrimmage kick formations numbering exceptions:
          Downs 1,2 and 3--at least 4 players numbered 50-79 and if the snapper has an eligible receiver # he must be an interior lineman
          4th down and/or PAT--no numbering requirements and the snapper may be an eligible receiver by number and position on the line

Correct other than 1, 2, and 3 down to use the numbering exception they must also be in scrimmage kick formation.

Offline CalhounLJ

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2019, 07:22:27 AM »
On plays without a scrimmage kick formation you still have a requirement to have 5 linemen with ineligible numbers on the field. That hasn't changed. If they come out with only 10 players on a regular scrimmage play and #88 the TE was the missing player last year it was a foul. This year it is not. If the missing player is #56 is the missing player and there are now only 4 linemen with ineligible numbers, you don't have a foul for an illegal formation because you have only 6 linemen, but you could have a foul for illegal numbering. It's your call if you want to be technical on that, but you would definitely be supported on it. 95% of the time when a team is missing a lineman it's on a punt or FG/try where the numbering part of the rule doesn't apply. If it's 3rd and 2 and they sub out and forget to bring replace one of the linemen and you have 4 ineligible numbers with 6 linemen, then it's probably appropriate to also flag them for illegal numbering.

Most of the time when I've seen this though was on punts and I knew they only had 10 players and I could see 3 shield players and a punter and know they only had 6 linemen. It should have been a foul, but it wasn't always called, because the wing had to see our signal or I had to get on the radio and let them know. It was a silly foul because they were already playing short.

This has been an NCAA rule for several years now and the key benefit is you no longer have to count linemen. Just make sure there are no more than 4 backs (including the QB) and you are good to go.

Thanks. That makes it clear. Seems like my guys and I were chasing the wrong pony. We were trying to connect the formation and numbering requirements together. On the OP, if a player is eligible by position and number hes good. Right? 


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Offline Magician

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #18 on: June 15, 2019, 09:53:16 PM »
Thanks. That makes it clear. Seems like my guys and I were chasing the wrong pony. We were trying to connect the formation and numbering requirements together. On the OP, if a player is eligible by position and number hes good. Right? 

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If he's eligible by position and number he's eligible. There could be other reasons why there is a problem. For example, if there are 5 backs the team would be guilty of an illegal formation but he's still an eligible receiver.

Offline blandis

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2019, 10:56:23 PM »
   Through the years since the numbering exception rules were redone to get rid of the A11-offense I think high school officiating, on average, has slipped in regards to the swinging gate type of formations in regards to the numbering exception. In a section playoff semi-final last season I called a team our unit regularly covers for an Illegal Formation because they had 4-players numbered 50-79 in a swinging gate formation and the snapper was an eligible number with the QB in a shot-gun formation which they ran a play from on a 2-point Try attempt. When I called it the Head Coach was irate and said he had done it all year. In this case, he was probably telling the truth. Other schools from out of my area who come into my area have done this with a QB in shot-gun using the eligible-numbered snapper and less than 5-player 50-79 and I caught it which left their heads spinning because it wasn't ever called by their regular officials where they're from.
    For the numbering exception to be used the snapper must be covered up so he is ineligible by position AND the holder and kicker must be in their normal scrimmage kick positions. I saw one team legally take advantage of this by having 5 linemen 50-79 but the long snapper was an eligible number. So this particular swinging gate formation with a QB in a shot-gun formation was made legal by NOT using the numbering exception on a long snap. Often many Umpires forget to count their 5-players numbered 50-79, it is particularly important on scrimmage kicks to do this and to know when the numbering exception is being used, thusly, it is important for the U to master the numbering exception rule.

Offline KWH

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #20 on: July 13, 2019, 04:32:02 PM »
   Through the years since the numbering exception rules were redone to get rid of the A11-offense I think high school officiating, on average, has slipped in regards to the swinging gate type of formations in regards to the numbering exception. In a section playoff semi-final last season I called a team our unit regularly covers for an Illegal Formation because they had 4-players numbered 50-79 in a swinging gate formation and the snapper was an eligible number with the QB in a shot-gun formation which they ran a play from on a 2-point Try attempt. When I called it the Head Coach was irate and said he had done it all year. In this case, he was probably telling the truth. Other schools from out of my area who come into my area have done this with a QB in shot-gun using the eligible-numbered snapper and less than 5-player 50-79 and I caught it which left their heads spinning because it wasn't ever called by their regular officials where they're from.
    For the numbering exception to be used the snapper must be covered up so he is ineligible by position AND the holder and kicker must be in their normal scrimmage kick positions. I saw one team legally take advantage of this by having 5 linemen 50-79 but the long snapper was an eligible number. So this particular swinging gate formation with a QB in a shot-gun formation was made legal by NOT using the numbering exception on a long snap. Often many Umpires forget to count their 5-players numbered 50-79, it is particularly important on scrimmage kicks to do this and to know when the numbering exception is being used, thusly, it is important for the U to master the numbering exception rule.

Two things:
1) Yes, to legally use the numbering except, a snapper, wearing an eligible number, has to be covered up and remains ineligible during the down, but, only on a down less than 4. (7-2-5b EXCEPTION 1)
2) On 4th Down or during a Try, the snapper may wear an eligible AND may be in an eligible position.
3) Team A/K can shift all they want, as, all of the fouls listed in 7-2-5 may only occur: At the snap...

Watching a lot of (this means too much) video, I have noticed a common situation that gets missed:
During a Try they line up in a swinging gate formation, pause, and then shift back into a regular (non-kicking) formation!
They snap the football (going for 2) with only 4 lineman numbered 50-79. This is Illegal Numbering for a violation of 7-2-5a

Now when they were in the Swinging Gate formation, just as long as they ALSO meet either of the formation requirements described in 2-14-2a or 2-14-2b,
they could legally run a play as per 7-2-5b EXCEPTION 2.

Remember, while some will argue this is a whole hell of a lot of wording, (and I agree) since there is no foul until the snap the football (exception DOG)... so
when the shift back into a regular scrimmage play with on FOUR 50-79 lineman, your radar should go up and that one foul should not get missed.
   

Offline ncwingman

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #21 on: July 14, 2019, 07:56:25 AM »
This question came up at a local clinic where it was asked up the chain (I believe to the top...) ... the answer we got was:

When the numbering exception is in effect, A can send out 9 players, put 5 on the line and 4 in the backfield and it's a legal formation. Since the numbering exception is in effect, all players can be numbered 81-89 with no consequences -- still legal.

For simplicity, following the original plot -- 80-85 are on the line and 86-89 are in the backfield.

Since 81-85 are in the game under the numbering exception (on the line, replacing a 50-79) they are *ineligible* by position -- EVEN IF two of them are ends because A is missing players. There MUST be 5 ineligible players either numbered 50-79 or in the game under the numbering exception at all times.

ETA -- The explanation received ended here, we only asked about the 9 man scenario, not 10

In the original scenario, there's a 6th player on the line (let's say #80) -- then there would be one eligible end and one ineligible end. Which one is eligible? Well, which ever one goes out for a pass... if they both do, we have a problem. If they don't throw a pass, it's moot. I figure it's not worth nitpicking.... unless....

If however, you know 100% for certain that this was an intentional play using substitution with intent to deceive which player is eligible (the two ends somehow get a signal to determine who goes out for the pass after the defense sets up), then maybe (maybe!) you have a flag... but I'd have a lot of leeway before you throw that.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2019, 08:35:56 AM by ncwingman »

Offline CalhounLJ

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #22 on: July 14, 2019, 08:55:11 AM »
In the original scenario, there's a 6th player on the line (let's say #80) -- then there would be one eligible end and one ineligible end. Which one is eligible? Well, which ever one goes out for a pass... if they both do, we have a problem. If they don't throw a pass, it's moot. I figure it's not worth nitpicking.... unless....

This has been the issue all along. The argument at our meeting was that to be in under the numbering exception a player had to be "inside the ends" and was ineligible. If there's only ten in the formation and 4 in the backfield, it's impossible for there to be 5 on the line "inside the ends." IMO, this solution leaves a lot to be desired. In essence this solution means that NEITHER END can be eligible.

Offline NVFOA_Ump

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #23 on: July 14, 2019, 12:20:29 PM »
Our early meeting discussion prior to the actual rule books coming out regarding this would call this an illegal formation (all numbering exception players on the line) unless there are a minimum of 7 players on the LOS.  Otherwise the 5 "lineman" (5 numbering exceptions) do not meet the requirement to be "inside the ends".  Our read of the new alignment rule still requires that there be 5 identifiable ineligible linemen on the LOS.  How can that be satisfied in a valid numbering exception alignment if there are only 5 or 6 players on the line all with eligible numbers?

We'll see if we have a different opinion now that the membership has the actual 2019 books and access to a large amount of reference materials posted by the MIAA here in MA.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2019, 01:02:24 PM by NVFOA_Ump »
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Offline HLinNC

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #24 on: July 14, 2019, 03:13:55 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.