1. No player on offense may assist a runner except by blocking for
him. There shall be no interlocking interference.
2. A runner may ward off opponents with his hands and arms but no
other player on offense may use hands or arms to obstruct an opponent
by grasping with hands, pushing, or encircling any part of his body
during a block. Hands (open or closed) can be thrust forward to initially
contact an opponent on or outside the opponent’s frame, but
the blocker immediately must work to bring his hands on or inside
Note: Pass blocking: Hand(s) thrust forward that
slip outside the body of the defender will be legal if blocker immediately
worked to bring them back inside. Hand(s) or arm(s) that encircle
a defender—i.e., hook an opponent—are to be considered
illegal and officials are to call a foul for holding.
Blocker cannot use his hands or arms to push from behind, hang onto,
or encircle an opponent in a manner that restricts his movement as
the play develops.
3. Hands cannot be thrust forward above the frame to contact an opponent
on the neck, face or head.
Note: The frame is defined as the part of the opponent’s
body below the neck that is presented to the blocker.
4. A defensive player may not tackle or hold an opponent other than
a runner. Otherwise, he may use his hands, arms, or body only:
(a) To defend or protect himself against an obstructing opponent.
Exception: An eligible receiver is considered to
be an obstructing opponent ONLY to a point five yards beyond the line
of scrimmage unless the player who receives the snap clearly demonstrates
no further intention to pass the ball. Within this five-yard zone,
a defensive player may chuck an eligible player in front of him. A
defensive player is allowed to maintain continuous and unbroken contact
within the five-yard zone until a point when the receiver is even
with the defender. The defensive player cannot use his hands or arms
to push from behind, hang onto, or encircle an eligible receiver in
a manner that restricts movement as the play develops. Beyond this
five-yard limitation, a defender may use his hands or arms ONLY to
defend or protect himself against impending contact caused by a receiver.
In such reaction, the defender may not contact a receiver who attempts
to take a path to evade him.
(b) To push or pull opponent out of the way on line of scrimmage.
(c) In actual attempt to get at or tackle runner.
(d) To push or pull opponent out of the way in a legal attempt to
recover a loose ball.
(e) During a legal block on an opponent who is not an eligible pass
(f) When legally blocking an eligible pass receiver above the waist.
Exception: Eligible receivers lined up within two
yards of the tackle, whether on or immediately behind the line, may
be blocked below the waist at or behind the line of scrimmage. NO
eligible receiver may be blocked below the waist after he goes beyond
the line. (Illegal cut)
Note: Once the quarterback hands off or pitches the
ball to a back, or if the quarterback leaves the pocket area, the
restrictions (illegal chuck, illegal cut) on the defensive team relative
to the offensive receivers will end, provided the ball is not in the
5. A defensive player may not contact an opponent above the shoulders
with the palm of his hand except to ward him off on the line. This
exception is permitted only if it is not a repeated act against the
same opponent during any one contact. In all other cases the palms
may be used on head, neck, or face only to ward off or push an opponent
in legal attempt to get at the ball.
6. Any offensive player who pretends to possess the ball or to whom
a teammate pretends to give the ball may be tackled provided he is
crossing his scrimmage line between the ends of a normal tight offensive
7. An offensive player who lines up more than two yards outside his
own tackle or a player who, at the snap, is in a backfield position
and subsequently takes a position more than two yards outside a tackle
may not clip an opponent anywhere nor may he contact an opponent below
the waist if the blocker is moving toward the ball and if contact
is made within an area five yards on either side of the line. (crackback)
8. A player of either team may block at any time provided it is not
pass interference, fair catch interference, or unnecessary roughness.
9. A player may not bat or punch:
(a) A loose ball (in field of play) toward his opponent’s goal
line or in any direction in either end zone.
(b) A ball in player possession.
Note: If there is any question as to whether a defender
is stripping or batting a ball in player possession, the official(s)
will rule the action as a legal act (stripping the ball).
Exception: A forward or backward pass may be batted,
tipped, or deflected in any direction at any time by either the offense
or the defense.
Note: A pass in flight that is controlled or caught
may only be thrown backward, if it is thrown forward it is considered
an illegal bat.
10. No player may deliberately kick any ball except as a punt, dropkick,
SOME OF THE INFORMATION ON THIS SITE IS OBTAINED FROM NFL.COM,
WHO IS IN NO WAY AFFILIATED WITH NFLTEAMHISTORY.com
This site has been designed to further promote NFL football. For more
information please visit NFL.com
NFL and the NFL shield design are registered trademarks of the National
The team names, logos and uniform designs are registered trademarks of
the teams indicated.