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American College Football FAQs
American College Football Rules
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Professional Football
Football Terminology
Football Penalties
Football Equipment
Strategy and Preparation
About the Players
Rules of the Game
History of Football
Different Rules of Playing Football

Official NFL Rules

Backward Pass
Ball Specifications
Calling a Safety
Coin Toss
Double Foul
Emergencies & Unfair Acts
Fair Catch
Fair Catch Kicks
Field Goal
Field Specifications
Forward Pass
Foul on Last Play
Game Official Responsibilities
Glossary of Terms
Kicks from Scrimmage
Pass Interference
Penalty Enforced
Player Substitutions
Position of Players at Snap
Protection of a Quarterback
Spot of Enforcement
Sudden Death
Timing (Final 2 Minutes)
Use of Hands Arms & Body

Football Tips and Resources

Defensive Backfield
Defensive Line Essentials
Defensive Line Play vs. Pass
Defensive Line Stance
Learning How to Punt & Kick
Offensive Line Center Snap
Quarterback Basics
Quarterback Basic Training
Quarterback Ball Grip
Tight End - Characteristics
Wide Receiver
Wide Receiver - Characteristics

Special Teams Strategy
Defensive Strategy
Specific Offensive Strategies
Special Offensive Plays
Passing Plays
Running Plays
Offensive Formations
Offensive Players
Offensive Strategy
Intro to Football Strategy




Automatic First Down

1. Awarded to offensive team on all defensive fouls with these exceptions:

(a) Offside.

(b) Encroachment.

(c) Delay of game.

(d) Illegal substitution.

(e) Excessive time out(s).

(f) Incidental grasp of facemask.

(g) Neutral zone infraction.

(h) Running into the kicker.

(i) More than 11 players on the field at the snap.

Five Yards

1. Defensive holding or illegal use of hands (automatic first down).

2. Delay of game on offense or defense.

3. Delay of kickoff.

4. Encroachment.

5. Excessive time out(s).

6. False start.

7. Illegal formation.

8. Illegal shift.

9. Illegal motion.

10. Illegal substitution.

11. First onside kickoff out of bounds between goal lines and untouched or last

touched by kicker.

12. Invalid fair catch signal.

13. More than 11 players on the field at snap for either team.

14. Less than seven men on offensive line at snap.

15. Offside.

16. Failure to pause one second after shift or huddle.

17. Running into kicker.

18. More than one man in motion at snap.

19. Grasping facemask of the ball carrier or quarterback.

20. Player out of bounds at snap.

21. Ineligible member(s) of kicking team going beyond line of scrimmage before ball is kicked.

22. Illegal return.

23. Failure to report change of eligibility.

24. Neutral zone infraction.

25. Loss of team time out(s) or five-yard penalty on the defense for excessive crowd noise.

26. Ineligible player downfield during passing down.

27. Second forward pass behind the line.

28. Forward pass is first touched by eligible receiver who has gone out of bounds and returned.

29. Forward pass touches or is caught by an ineligible receiver on or behind line.

30. Forward pass thrown from behind line of scrimmage after ball once crossed the line.

31. Kicking team player voluntarily out of bounds during a punt.

32. Twelve (12) men in the huddle.

10 Yards

1. Offensive pass interference.

2. Holding, illegal use of hands, arms, or body by offense.

3. Tripping by a member of either team.

4. Helping the runner.

5. Deliberately batting or punching a loose ball.

6. Deliberately kicking a loose ball.

7. Illegal block above the waist.

15 Yards

1. Chop block.

2. Clipping below the waist.

3. Fair catch interference.

4. Illegal crackback block by offense.

5. Piling on.

6. Roughing the kicker.

7. Roughing the passer.

8. Twisting, turning, or pulling an opponent by the facemask.

9. Unnecessary roughness.

10. Unsportsmanlike conduct.

11. Delay of game at start of either half.

12. Illegal low block.

13. A tackler using his helmet to butt, spear, or ram an opponent.

14. Any player who uses the top of his helmet unnecessarily.

15. A punter, placekicker, or holder who simulates being roughed by a defensive player.

16. Leaping.

17. Leverage.

18. Any player who removes his helmet after a play while on the field.

19. Taunting.

Five Yards and Loss of Down (Combination Penalty)

1. Forward pass thrown from beyond line of scrimmage.

10 Yards and Loss of Down (Combination Penalty)

1. Intentional grounding of forward pass (safety if passer is in own end zone). If foul occurs more than 10 yards behind line, play results in loss of down at spot of foul.

15 Yards and Loss of Coin Toss Option

1. Teamís late arrival on the field prior to scheduled kickoff.

2. Captains not appearing for coin toss.

15 Yards (and disqualification if flagrant)

1. Striking opponent with fist.

2. Kicking or kneeing opponent.

3. Striking opponent on head or neck with forearm, elbow, or hands whether or not the initial contact is made below the neck area.

4. Roughing kicker.

5. Roughing passer.

6. Malicious unnecessary roughness.

7. Unsportsmanlike conduct.

8. Palpably unfair act. (Distance penalty determined by the Referee after consultation with other officials.)

15 Yards and Automatic Disqualification

1. Using a helmet (not worn) as a weapon.

2. Striking or purposely shoving a game official.

Suspension From Game For One Down

1. Illegal equipment. (Player may return after one down when legally equipped.)

Touchdown Awarded (Palpably Unfair Act)

1. When Referee determines a palpably unfair act deprived a team of a touchdown. (Example: Player comes off bench and tackles runner apparently en route to touchdown.)






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