ARTICLE 3. A live ball becomes dead and an official shall sound their whistle or declare it dead:
a. When it goes out of bounds other than a kick that scores a field goal after touching the uprights or crossbar; when a ball carrier is out of bounds; or when a ball carrier is so held that their forward progress is stopped. When in question, the ball is dead.
Approved Ruling 4-2-1 I. An inbounds ball carrier bumps into or is touched by a player or game official on the sideline. RULING: The ball carrier is not out of bounds.
Approved Ruling 4-2-1 II. Ball carrier A1 is running inbounds near the sideline when he is contacted by a squad member of Team B, who is on the sideline. RULING:Rule 4-2-1 states a player is out of bounds when any part of his person touches anything other than a player or an official. Penalty—15 yards or other unfair-action game administration-interference penalties (Rules 9-2-3 and 9-2-5).
b. When any part of the ball carrier’s body, except the hand or foot, touches the ground or when the ball carrier is tackled or otherwise falls and loses possession of the ball as they contact the ground with any part of their body, except the hand or foot [Exception: The ball remains alive when an offensive player has simulated a kick or at the snap is in position to kick the ball held for a place kick by a teammate. The ball may be kicked, passed or advanced by rule].
Approved Ruling 4-1-3 I. While A1 is holding the ball for a place kick, Team B plays the ball by (a) recovering a loose ball, (b) snatching it from A1 or (c) batting it from his hands. RULING: (a), (b) and (c) The ball remains alive. In (c) the batting by Team B is legal and results in a fumble.
c. When a touchdown, touchback, safety, field goal or successful try occurs; or when a free kick or a scrimmage kick that is untouched by Team B beyond the neutral zone touches the ground in Team B’s end zone (Rules 6-1-7a, and 6-3-9).
Approved Ruling 6-3-9 I. A33 illegally touches a punt and the ball then rolls into Team B’s end zone, where Team B recovers and advances the ball into the field of play. RULING: The ball is dead when it strikes the ground in the end zone. Team B may choose a touchback or take the ball at the spot of Team A’s illegal touching (Rule 4-1-3c).
e. When a player of the kicking team catches or recovers any free kick or a scrimmage kick that has crossed the neutral zone.
f. When a free kick, scrimmage kick or any other loose ball comes to rest and no player attempts to secure it.
g. When a scrimmage kick or a free kick is caught or recovered by any Team B player after a valid or invalid fair-catch signal by a Team B player; or when an invalid fair-catch signal is made after a catch or recovery by Team B (Rules 2-8-1 through 3).
h. When there is a return kick or a scrimmage kick is made beyond the neutral zone.
i. When a forward pass is ruled incomplete.
j. When, before a change of team possession on fourth down or a try, a Team A fumble is caught or recovered by a Team A player other than the fumbler (Rules 7-2-2a and 7-2-2b and 8-3-2d-5).
k. When a live ball not in player possession touches anything inbounds other than a player, a player’s equipment, an official, an official’s equipment or the ground (inadvertent-whistle provisions apply).
l. When there is a simultaneous catch or recovery of a live ball.
m. When the ball becomes illegal while in play (inadvertent-whistle provisions apply).
n. When a live ball comes into possession of an official (inadvertent-whistle provisions apply).
o. When a ball carrier simulates placing their knee on the ground.
p. When an airborne pass receiver of either team is held so that they are prevented from immediately returning to the ground.
Approved Ruling 7-3-6 III. An inbounds airborne player receives a legal forward pass. While still in the air, he is tackled by an opponent and obviously held for a moment before being carried in any direction. He then lands inbounds or out of bounds with the ball. RULING: Completed pass. The ball is dead at the yard line where the receiver/interceptor was held in a manner that prevented him from immediately returning to the ground (Rule 4-1-3p).
q. When a ball carrier’s helmet comes completely off.
r. When a ball carrier obviously begins a feet-first slide. Any time a ball carrier simulates or fakes a feet-first slide, the ball should be declared dead by the on-field officials at that point.
Approved Ruling 4-1-3 III. Third and 10 at the A-35. Quarterback A11 sweeps to his right and goes into a feet-first slide to give himself up. When he starts his slide, the forwardmost point of the ball is at the A-44, and when he comes to a stop the forward-most point of the ball is at the A-46. RULING: Fourth and one at the A-44. The ball is dead at its forward-most point when he starts his slide.
Approved Ruling 4-1-3 II. Team A is in formation to attempt a field goal. At the snap A22 is in position to execute a right-footed place kick and A33 is in position as the holder. The snap goes to A33 who has a knee on the ground. Just after the snap A22 breaks to his left and toward the neutral zone, and A33, while still on his knee, flips a forward pass to A22 who carries the ball beyond the line to gain before he is tackled. RULING: Legal play, because at the snap A22 was in position to attempt a place kick. First and 10 for Team A.
Approved Ruling 4-1-3 IV. Team A lines up to free kick from the A-35, and executes an on-side kick. After the ball has traveled 10 yards: (a) B21 gives a valid fair catch signal and makes a clean catch, (4-1-3g); (b) A80 is first to touch the ball and makes a clean legal catch or recovery (4-1-3e); or (c) B21 catches or recovers the ball and immediately goes to the ground. RULING: By interpretation: (a) No time will run off the clock; (b) No time will run off the clock; and (c) The clock operator shall start the clock when the ball is legally touched and will stop the clock when the ball is declared dead. (3-3-2a)
Approved Ruling 4-1-3 IV. 3/10 @ B-40. QB A12 takes the snap and rolls out to the right. Finding no receiver open, A12 turns up field and runs. After making the line to gain, A12 breaks stride as if he is going to slide feet first at the B-27, stays upright and runs for a touchdown. RULING: The live ball becomes dead at the point where A12 simulates or fakes as if he will begin a feet-first slide. An official shall sound their whistle and declare the ball dead. Team A will have 1/10 @ B-27. Any time a ball carrier begins, simulates, or fakes a feet-first slide, the ball should be declared dead by the on-field officials at that point. The intent of the rule is player safety, and the objective is to give a ball carrier an option to end the play by sliding feet first and to avoid contact. To allow the ball carrier to fake a slide would compromise the defense that is being instructed to let up when the ball carrier slides feet first. A fake slide will not be considered reviewable under Rule 12-3-3 .