Officials Training Module #4
⦁ Contact blocking is legally hindering the progress of an opponent in a fair and safe manner.
⦁ Contact blocking is allowed between the shoulders and waist only (i.e., inside the frame) using open hands and straight arm blocks only.
⦁ Contact not inside the frame may be subject to penalties.
⦁ Blockers must be on their feet before, during and after contact is made with their opponents.
⦁ No contact of any kind is allowed above the shoulders of an opponent.
⦁ Illegal blocks include:
⦁ High-low/chop/cut blocks: An attempt by a player to block an opponent at the thigh level or lower while the opponent is already engaged by another player.
⦁ Crack-back block: A blind-side block on a player by an opponent who starts downfield and then cuts back toward her own goal line to make contact.
⦁ Blind-side block: Engaging an opponent other than the runner who does not see the blocker approaching.
⦁ Clipping: A player hitting an opponent from behind.
⦁ Tripping: A player using her leg or foot to stop an opponent’s forward motion.
⦁ Hook or hug block: A player gaining advantage of an opponent by turning or detaining the opponent by illegally tackling or using arms around the body, waist, shoulders or arms.
⦁ Rolling blocks: A player on the ground attempting to block or engage an opponent by moving or turning over and over on an axis.
⦁ Dive blocks: A player leaving her feet to engage an opponent.
⦁ Making contact with an opponent while swinging or flipping hands, arms or elbows.
⦁ Slapping, punching, or swinging at an opponent with hands, arms or elbows.
⦁ Grabbing or holding an opponent’s jersey while blocking.
⦁ Interlocking of blocker’s fingers or hands.
⦁ Laying on a downed defender
⦁ Swim moves (a player using a maneuver similar to a freestyle swimming stroke to get past an opponent) are legal. However, if the swim move results in contact to an opponent above the shoulder (neck, head, or face) it is illegal.
⦁ Downfield blocking for the ball carrier is allowed but not while the ball is in the air.
⦁ Two-on-one blocking is permitted as long as both blockers are engaging the opponent above the waist.
⦁ The quarterback -- the player initially receiving the snap -- may run to advance the ball at any time.
⦁ Ball carriers must make every effort to avoid a defender who has established a stationary position.
⦁ The offense may use multiple backward hand-offs or laterals.
⦁ For safety reasons, the ball carrier may not significantly leave the ground with both feet to advance the ball (e.g., hurdling, diving or leaping). This is referred to as “illegal advancement”.
⦁ Runners may leave their feet to avoid collision or falling on another player.
⦁ Not every insignificant jump or small hop constitutes a safety issue and the definition of “significant” is at the discretion of each official.
⦁ Offensive players attempting to advance the ball illegally or gain an advantage against a defender by leaving her feet, significantly lunging, or falling forward in a perceived intentional manner may be guilty of illegal advancement.
⦁ Lateral moves to the left or right are permitted.
⦁ Spinning is permitted.
⦁ Diving by the defense to capture a ball carrier’s flag is legal.
⦁ The ball will be spotted wherever the ball was at the time of the flag pull or the ball carrier left the field-of-play.
⦁ When a ball carrier’s flag accidentally falls off -- but not as a result of any action by the defense -- that player will be downed by one-hand touch.
⦁ To execute a center sneak, the ball must completely leave the center’s hands on the snap and she must take at least one step backwards off the line-of-scrimmage before receiving direct hand-off from the quarterback before advancing the ball.
Flag Guarding including Stiff-Arming
⦁ The ball carrier’s flags must be accessible to the defense throughout the play.
⦁ Flag guarding is the act of a ball carrier denying a defender the opportunity to capture her flag in some physical way.
⦁ Flags may not be tucked in pants, tucked under jerseys, worn improperly, looped around the waist belt, or knotted.
⦁ The ball carrier shall not flag guard by flailing her arms, using her hands, arms, elbows or extremely dipped shoulders to deny the opportunity of an opponent to remove a flag.
⦁ The ball carrier may not swat a defender’s hands away nor pin the flag against her body using the ball or hands.
⦁ An official may call flag guarding if she feels a ball carrier’s natural running motion gave the ball carrier a decisive advantage over the defender and the running motion caused part of the ball carrier’s body to block a de-flagging attempt.
Examples of Flag Guarding
Stiff Arming Pinning the Flag Swatting
⦁ Stiff arm and flag guards are up to the official’s judgment. We recommend you carry the ball with your hands held high on the body to avoid flag guarding. This is one of the most difficult transitions for traditional football players.
⦁ Flag guarding shall not be called if there is no defensive player within reasonable distance to capture the flag.
⦁ The ball carrier may bend at the knees to dip low, side cut, skip, or take short hops.
⦁ No penalty will be called if a ball carrier simultaneously flag guards as the defender pulls the flag.
⦁ Tampering with the flag in any way to gain advantage is illegal.