Blocking by offense and defense
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National Federation of State High School Associations. BLOCKING BY OFFENSE AND DEFENSE. 2007 NFHS Football Rules Interpretation Meeting July 17, 2007. Julian Tackett Assistant Commissioner Kentucky High School Athletic Association. Holding.


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National Federation of State

High School Associations


2007 NFHS Football Rules Interpretation MeetingJuly 17, 2007

Julian Tackett

Assistant Commissioner

Kentucky High School Athletic Association

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  • From About.ComDefinition: An illegal action where one player keeps another from advancing by grabbing him and holding him back.

  • Another interesting cite from Football.comTackling players without a ball is illegal and is called a "holding foul".

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Brief History

  • 1980 Point of Emphasis called for officials to keep the illegal use of hands out of the game. “Certain limitations are placed upon players in order to keep a delicate balance between offense and defense and to prevent rough play “

  • In 1985, it continued again – The basic concept of football is, that it is a game of contact resulting from legal blocking and tackling.

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Holding / Illegal Use of Hands

  • The goals back then should be our goals now. Keep ILLEGAL holding and use of the hands out of the game, while at the same time, allowing discretion for acts that do not impact play.

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Current Emphasis

  • Committee Spent Much Time on Holding with six different areas identified as trouble spots:

    • Low Blocks by the Defense

    • Legal Initial Contact with the Hands

    • Holding, discerning legal from illegal

    • Chop and Cut Blocking

    • Acts in the Free Blocking Zone

    • Snapper Protection

  • Detailed Point of Emphasis on pages 81-83 of this year’s Rule Book.

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Current Emphasis

  • Special Emphasis in Two Areas –

  • Free Blocking Zone and Acts by the Defense

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Free Blocking Zone

  • Are we bailing out on this rule when teams are in shotgun (or technically, scrimmage kick formation)?

  • Are officials focusing only linemen, or doing too much “ball watching”?

  • If not, why are we allowing slot backs to drop down?

  • If not, why are we allowing interior lineman to delay and then drop when the QB is in shotgun?

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Free Blocking Zone

  • Key training points-

    • Regardless of formation, rules are same.

    • If in shotgun (QB behind line more than 3 yards), then ball is out of zone almost immediately.

    • If in shotgun, only legal low blocks by linemen are those initiated at the snap.

    • Any delay almost certainly make the block illegal.

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Acts by the Defense

  • Officials may be ignoring all acts by the defense.

  • Blockers on both offense and defense subject to same rules.

  • Only exceptions are with ball carrier and those pretending to be the ball carrier.

  • Simply being in the path of the ball carrier doesn’t make me pretend to be the ball carrier.

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  • Rules makers seldom agree totally on certain holding questions, so unanimity is not likely.

  • However, officials must make a concerted effort to apply the rules the same to both teams.