1. May not move to a different position nor have any part of their body beyond the neutral zone;
2. May not lift the ball, move it beyond the neutral zone or simulate the start of a play;
3. May take their hand(s) off the ball, but only if this does not simulate the start of a play.
b. Nine-Yard Marks.
1. Each Team A substitute must have been between the nine-yard marks. Team A players who participated in the previous down must have been between the nine-yard marks after the previous down and before the next snap.
Approved Ruling 3-3-4 I. Before the snap, a legal substitute of either team running from the bench requests a timeout before being within the nine-yard marks. He then requests a timeout again after being within the nine-yard marks. RULING: Initial timeout request not granted. Second request granted (Rule 7-1-3b).
2. All Team A players must have been between the nine-yard marks after a charged team timeout, an injury timeout, a media timeout or the end of a period.
c. Encroachment. Once the snapper is established, no other Team A player may be in or beyond the neutral zone [Exceptions: (1) Substitutes and departing players; and (2) offensive players in a scrimmage kick formation who break the neutral zone with their hand(s) to point at opponents].
d. False Start. No Team A player may commit a false start (Rule 7-1-2b) or contact an opponent.
Approved Ruling 7-1-3 III. B71 crosses the neutral zone into the Team A backfield and does not threaten any Team A player. A23, legally in the backfield, intentionally reaches to contact B71. RULING: Team A foul, false start. Penalty—Five yards from the succeeding spot.
Approved Ruling 7-1-3 I. A21 is legally on the end of the line of scrimmage next to A88, who is in a three-point stance. Team A stops for one second while A21 and A88 are in the above positions, and then A21 moves to a legal backfield position and stops. Then A88 moves to a wider position on the line. RULING: Legal if both A21 and A88 are stationary at the snap (Rules 2-22-1 and 7-1-4).
Approved Ruling 7-1-3 II. A21 is legally on the end of the line of scrimmage next to A88, who is in the stance of a restricted lineman. Team A has stopped for one second when A21 leaves the line of scrimmage and goes in motion into the backfield. A88 moves to a wider position on the line. RULING: A88 may break his three-point stance since he is now on the end of the line of scrimmage, but Team A must stop again for one second before the snap to make the play legal (Rule 7-1-4).
Approved Ruling 7-1-3 IV. Snapper A1 lifts or moves the ball forward before moving it backward to start the snap. B2 bats the ball, causing it to roll loose with B3 recovering. RULING: Team A foul, illegal snap, ball remains dead. Penalty—Five yards from the succeeding spot (Rule 4-1-1).
Approved Ruling 7-1-3 V. A66, a restricted lineman between the snapper and the player on the end of the line, or A72, a restricted player on the end of the line of scrimmage:
1. Lifts a hand or hands from the ground immediately when threatened by B1, who is in the neutral zone. RULING: Blow the whistle immediately. Team B dead-ball foul, offside. Penalty—Five yards from the succeeding spot.
2. Lifts a hand or hands from the ground upon initial charge by B1, who (a) does not enter the neutral zone or (b) enters the neutral zone but does not threaten the position of A66 or A72. RULING: In both (a) and (b), blow the whistle immediately. Team A dead ball foul, false start. Penalty—Five yards from the succeeding spot.
Note: Before the snap, a Team B player who enters the neutral zone may threaten a maximum of three Team A linemen. If the Team B player enters the neutral zone directly toward a Team A lineman, then that Team A player and the two adjacent linemen are considered to be threatened. If the Team B player enters the neutral zone toward a gap between two Team A linemen, then only those two Team A players are considered to be threatened.
Approved Ruling 7-1-3 VI. A80 on the end of the line, a nonrestricted interior lineman or a back, misses the snap count and makes a casual movement that is not abrupt, quick or jerky and does not simulate the start of a play. RULING: No foul by Team A.