DEFINITION • RULE 2-3-1 • Blocking is obstructing an opponent by contacting him with any part of the blocker’s body.
Legal Blocking techniques using the hands/arms • 1. Closed or Cupped Hands • 2. Open Hands
Closed/ Cupped Hand Technique • 1. The elbows may be inside or outside of the blockers shoulders. • 2. The hands must not have the palms facing the opponent. • 3. The forearms are extended no more than 45 degrees from his body.
Open Hand Technique The Hands must be: • 1. In advance of the elbow. • 2. Inside the frame of the blocker’s body at or below the shoulders. • 3. Inside the frame of the opponents body, except when the opponent turns his back during or after blocker is committed to his charge. • 4. At or below the shoulders of the blocker and opponent except when an opponent ducks, squats during or after blocker is committed to his charge. • 5. Open when the palms are facing the frame of the opponent or when the forearms are extended beyond 45 degrees from the body.
Illegal Blocking (Rule 9-3) • Art 1- Blocking by a player is illegal when it is: • A. Kick Catching Interference • B. Forward Pass Interference • C. A Personal Foul • Art 2- A player shall not block an opponent below the waist except: • A. Inside the Free Blocking Zone • B. Tackling a Runner or Pretend Runner • Art 3- A receiver that has given a valid or invalid fair catch signal shall not block until the kick has ended.
Illegal Blocking (Rule 9-3) • Art 4- The Kicker or Place-Kick holder may not be blocked before: • A. He has advanced 5 yards beyond free kick line or • B. The kick has touched the ground or another player • Art 5- A player shall not clip or block an opponent in the back except: • A. Inside the Free Blocking Zone • B. When trying to catch or recover a loose ball which he may legally possess • C. Tackle a Runner or Pretend Runner • Art 6- A player shall not chop block.
Illegal Blocking (Rule 9-3) • Art 7- A player shall not trip an opponent Including the runner( 2019 change). • Art 8- No member of Kicking team shall initiate contact to block an opponent on a free kick until: • A. The legal kick has traveled 10 yards • B. The Kicking team is eligible to recover the free kick or • C. The Receiving team initiates a block within the neutral zone.
Penalties for Illegal Blocks • Art 1-a Kick Catching Interference: Options • A. Take the result of the play • B. Take an awarded fair catch after 15 yard enforcement from the spot of the foul • C. 15 yards from previous spot and replay the down • Art 1-b Pass Interference (15 yards) (S33) • Art 1-c Personal Foul (15 yards) (S38) • Art 2, 3, 4 Illegal Blocks (15 yards) (S40) • Art 5 Clipping (15 yards) (S39) • Art 6, 8 Illegal Blocks (10 yards) (S43) • Art 7 Tripping(15 yards) (S46)
Rule 2-17-1 • The Free Blocking zone ONLY exists during a scrimmage down. • The Free Blocking zone is a rectangular area extending 4 yards to either side of the ball and 3 yards behind each teams line of scrimmage. • A player is considered in the zone if any part of his body is in the zone at the snap.
What blocking rule exceptions may exist in this zone ? • Blocking below the waist. • Clipping. • Blocking in the back.
What conditions allow for the blocking rule exceptions ? • The contact must occur in the zone. • The ball must be present in the zone. • Rule 2-17-5 states “the free blocking zone disintegrates when the ball leaves the zone and the exception for players to block below the waist or block in the back IS NOT to continue.”
Which players are allowed to take advantage of these exceptions ? • Any Offensive player that is on his line of scrimmage and inside the zone at the snap may block below the waist a defensive player that is on the line of scrimmage. • Any Defensive player that is on his line of scrimmage and inside the zone at the snap may block below the waist. • Rule 2-25-3: A defensive player is considered on the line if he is within 1 yard of his LOS at the snap.
Who may legally blockBelow the Waist ? • Rule 2-17-2 • By a player (Offense or Defense) who was on his LOS and in the zone at the snap. (Against an opponent who was on his LOS and in the zone at the snap.) • The contact was in the zone and prior to the ball leaving the zone.
Players shown in Green may block the opponents shown in Green below the waist.
Cut Block vs. Chop Block • A block below the waist from the front or side is often referred to as a “Cut Block”. • A Chop Block is a completely different situation. Rule 2-3-8: it is a combination block by two or more teammates against an opponent other than the runner, with or without delay, where one of the blocks is LOW (at or below the knee) and the other block is HIGH (above the knee). • It does not matter which block comes first. • Penalty for a chop block is 15 yards.
Who may legally Block in the Back ? • Rule 2-17-4 • By any offensive lineman who was on his LOS and in the zone at the snap. (Against any defensive player who was in the zone at the snap). • The contact was in the zone and prior to the ball leaving the zone.
Players shown in Green may legally block the opponents shown in Purple, in the Back.
Shotgun or Scrimmage Kick Formations • In order for the blocking rule exceptions to be legal in these situations, the blocks must occur immediately at the snap while the ball is still passing through the zone. NOTE: Delayed blocks that are covered by the blocking rule exceptions, could now be illegal blocks, as the ball may have left the zone prior to the block.
NOTES FOR UMPIRES • Know where BOTH the offensive and defensive men are lining up prior to and at the snap. (4 yards to each side of the ball) • Remember that if any part of the player is in the zone he is considered to be in the zone. • Except for Blocking in the back, the defensive player must have been on his LOS and in the zone for the block to be legal.
NOTES FORWING OFFICIALS • If the team is taking wide splits, the TE may or may not be inside the zone. • Wide Receivers, Split Ends, Slot Backs or Flankers are never eligible for blocking rule exceptions, since they are either Not inside the zone or they are Not on the LOS at the snap.
CRACK BACK BLOCKS • Although not a formal definition, this term is used to describe a block delivered by an offensive player coming back towards the the spot of the snap. Comment: Since the player was not inside the zone at the snap, the contact must be made above the waist and in the front or from the side.
NOTES FOR REFEREES • Running Backs and Quarter Backs are never eligible for blocking rule exceptions, since they are Not on their LOS at the snap. • Know where the ball is- has it left the zone prior to the block?
ALL OFFICIALS • First- need to see where the initial contact with the opponent is. (above/below the waist or knee, in front/on the side/ from behind.) • Second- determine if the contact is inside the free blocking zone. • Third- determine if the free blocking zone still exists or has it disintegrated.
POINTS OF EMPHASISCHOP BLOCKS • Chop blocking is a very dangerous and illegal blocking technique in the free blocking zone. • It does not matter whether the ball has left the zone or not. • Officials simply need to know that there was a combination block where one block is LOW (at or below the knee) and the other is HIGH (above the knee). • NOTE- On Chop Blocks the focus shifts from the waist to the knees.
POINTS OF EMPHASISBLOCKS BELOW THE WAIST • Only players (Offense or Defense) who are on their LOS and in the zone at the snap are eligible to block and be blocked below the waist. • Officials should watch for backs, especially while in a scrimmage kick or shotgun formation, that may be blocking below the waist. • Officials should also watch for defensive players “cutting” the lead blockers coming out of the backfield.
POINTS OF EMPHASISBLOCKS IN THE BACK • Remember that any Defensive player in the zone at the snap is eligible to be blocked in the back. • Do not allow players to continue blocking in the back after the ball has left the zone. • Blocks in the back are ABOVE the waist, if below the waist it is a clip.