NFL RULES: Definitions
1. Chucking: Warding off an opponent who is in front of a defender
by contacting him with a quick extension of arm or arms, followed
by the return of arm(s) to a flexed position, thereby breaking the
2. Clipping: Throwing the body
across the back of an opponent?s leg or hitting him from the back
below the waist while moving up from behind unless the opponent
is a runner or the action is in close line play.
3. Close Line Play: The area
between the positions normally occupied by the offensive tackles,
extending three yards on each side of the line of scrimmage. It
is legal to clip above the knee.
4. Crackback: Eligible receivers
who take or move to a position more than two yards outside the tackle
may not block an opponent below the waist if they then move back
inside to block.
5. Dead Ball: Ball not in play.
6. Double Foul: A foul by each
team during the same down.
7. Down: The period of action
that starts when the ball is put in play and ends when it is dead.
8. Encroachment: When a player
enters the neutral zone and makes contact with an opponent before
the ball is snapped.
9. Fair Catch: An unhindered
catch of a kick by a member of the receiving team who must raise
one arm a full length above his head and wave his arm from side
to side while the kick is in flight.
10. Foul: Any violation of a
11. Free Kick: A kickoff or safety
kick. It may be a placekick, dropkick, or punt, except a punt may
not be used on a kickoff following a touchdown, successful field
goal, or to begin each half or overtime period. A tee cannot be
used on a fair-catch or safety kick.
12. Fumble: The loss of possession
of the ball.
13. Game Clock: Scoreboard game
14. Impetus: The action of a
player that gives momentum to the ball.
15. Live Ball: A ball legally
free kicked or snapped. It continues in play until the down ends.
16. Loose Ball: A live ball not
in possession of any player.
17. Muff: The touching of a loose
ball by a player in an unsuccessful attempt to obtain possession.
18. Neutral Zone: The space the
length of a ball between the two scrimmage lines. The offensive
team and defensive team must remain behind their end of the ball.
Exception: The offensive player who snaps the ball.
19. Offside: A player is offside
when any part of his body is beyond his scrimmage or free kick line
when the ball is snapped or kicked.
20. Own Goal: The goal a team
21. Play Clock: 40/25 second
22. Pocket Area: Applies from
a point two yards outside of either offensive tackle and includes
the tight end if he drops off the line of scrimmage to pass protect.
Pocket extends longitudinally behind the line back to offensive
team?s own end line.
23. Possession: When a player
controls the ball throughout the act of clearly touching both feet,
or any other part of his body other than his hand(s), to the ground
24. Post-Possession Foul: A foul
by the receiving team that occurs after a ball is legally kicked
from scrimmage prior to possession changing. The ball must cross
the line of scrimmage and the receiving team must retain possession
of the kicked ball.
25. Punt: A kick made when a
player drops the ball and kicks it while it is in flight.
26. Safety: The situation in
which the ball is dead on or behind a team?s own goal if the impetus
comes from a player on that team. Two points are scored for the
27. Shift: The movement of two
or more offensive players at the same time before the snap.
28. Striking: The act of swinging,
clubbing, or propelling the arm or forearm in contacting an opponent.
29. Sudden Death: The continuation
of a tied game into sudden death overtime in which the team scoring
first (by safety, field goal, or touchdown) wins.
30. Touchback: When a ball is
dead on or behind a team?s own goal line, provided the impetus came
from an opponent and provided it is not a touchdown or a missed
31. Touchdown: When any part
of the ball, legally in possession of a player inbounds, breaks
the plane of the opponent?s goal line, provided it is not a touchback.
32. Unsportsmanlike Conduct:
Any act contrary to the generally understood principles of sportsmanship.