Rule Changes through the Years
2-3-2: A pliable artificial tee is legal.
2-11 and 8-2-1: Failure of A to have 7 players on the line is a form of offside. Ball does not remain dead.
3-5-1 and 2: A substitute may enter during any dead ball if substitution is completed before snap or free-kick. If clock is running, not more than 2 substitutes from the same team may enter. If certain infractions are discovered late, time of discovery determines spot of enforcement.
5-2-7 and 6-6-1: Penalty for invalid fair catch signal is loss of 5 (instead of 15).
6-3-2 and 5: If fumble or backward pass goes out of bounds between goal lines, ball belongs to the team which fumbled or passed (unless lost on 4th down). This applies even if ball is touched by the defense.
8-1-2-b: Snapper may lift end of ball to not more than 45 degree angle if done when he first grips ball and if such lifting is not part of the snap.
2-21-2: Rewritten to aid officials in determining when a bat or muff of a kick is a new impulse.
2-27: It is a shift when a player moves from the line to a new set position.
3-5-2: For most illegal substitutions, ball does not remain dead and whistle should not be blown. But, if three or more substitutes enter illegally, or if a team has more than eleven intended participants on the field, Referee may blow whistle immediately.
4-3: Slight changes cover situations where one foul is simultaneous with snap or free kick and a second foul occurs during succeeding play.
4-4-1-3: A note makes it clear that penalty for foul which occurs simultaneously with snap or free kick is from spot of snap or free kick.
6-1-2: Rewritten to make it clear that ball does not remain dead for a number of fouls which occur simultaneously with snap or free kick.
6-6-1: Fair catch signal is valid only when hand is waved sidewise while held at arm’s length above the head.
8-1-4: A new article provides penalty for attempt by linesman of A to draw B into neutral zone.
8-2-4: This article has been placed under Section 2 because ball does not remain dead for these infractions. Also, last year’s Item 3 which limited position of center, guard and tackle has been omitted.
8-4-2: An addition to this article provides coverage for a recovered return kick. Rights of kickers are nearly the same as for a kick from scrimmage.
9-4-a: Team which makes a return kick may score if drop kick is used.
*This rules book edition was an entire recodification so only significant changes are listed
Side zone is 53 feet 4 inches wide.
Handing the ball forward is not a forward pass but is sometimes illegal.
Ball may be kicked from beyond the neutral zone. Team may take 4 legal time-outs per half.
Ball must be put in play 25 seconds after it is ready.
There are several differences in the substitution rule.
For a foul prior to a snap or free-kick, Referee blows his whistle only if there is a chance to prevent the snap or free-kick.
Foul by B does not result in automatic 1st down except for forward pass interference or foul during a backward pass or fumble.
If a free-kick goes out-of-bounds a second time, ball is awarded to R on their free-kick line.
Basic enforcement spot for foul during a run is spot of dead ball, regardless of which team is in possession at the end of the down. Also, penalty for foul during a backward pass or fumble is loss of ball at spot of foul. (See the supplement for detailed list with comments.)
2-1-4: Any ball which is not in player possession (kick, pass or fumble) is a loose ball. A live ball is always in possession of one team or the other.
3-3-3: If the Defense fouls during the last down of a period, the period is extended if penalty for a foul by the Defense is accepted.
6-1-2 and 4: A free-kick must be made from on (rather than anywhere behind) A’s free-kick line. Also there is a 5-yard penalty for making a short free-kick.
6-1-8: A second free-kick is not permitted when the first goes out-of-bounds. Instead, it is R’s ball at the inbounds spot or at the inbounds line 10 yards behind R’s free-kick line.
6-3-2: Right of either team to touch recover and advance a return-kick is the same as their rights during a scrimmage-kick with the yard line through spot of the kick being substituted for the scrimmage line.
7-5-2-c and 7-5-6: When a forward pass is touched by an ineligible who is on or behind his scrimmage line, it is not pass interference. If he catches or bats the pass, it is an illegal forward pass with penalty of 5 yards and loss of down. Pass interference can now occur only beyond the line.
8-1: If a game is forfeited when the offended team is in the lead, the score at time of forfeiture is final.
8-3-1: A try-for-point is made from on B’s 2 yard line (rather than from anywhere behind it).
8-5 and 9-1: These sections have been rewritten for clarity and accuracy.
10-3 and 4: All action during a live ball is either a running play or a loose ball play. Basic enforcement spot for a foul during a running play is at spot where the run ends (not always the same as spot of dead ball).
1-3-1: Ball measurements as stated prior to 1948 are given. Current top-grade balls conform to these measurements.
1-3-2: Tan ball with one-inch wide white stripes is mentioned.
3-3-4: Now states that only a foul by the Defense or fair catch interference can cause a period to be extended. Making a fair catch does not extend such period. The fair catching team may snap or free kick to start a 2nd or 4th quarter.
3-5-2: Revised to indicate that the cause for stopping the clock determines whether it is started when ball is ready or when it is snapped.
3-7-2 and 3: Substitution rights are now the same for any time-out regardless of whether an injured player is removed.
4-2-2: Items c, d, e and f are revised to conform to two changes, i.e., any player may recover and advance a backward pass or fumble as in 7-4-2, and any kick, including a free-kick, becomes dead when it touches something on or behind R’s goal line as in 6-1-7.
6-3-1: Team A cannot kick from beyond the neutral zone unless team possession has changed.
6-4-2 and 5: A fair catch cannot be made after a muff by R has been touched by K.
7-3-2: Player of A on an end of his line may receive a forward handed ball without turning to face his goal and without being a yard behind the line. This right exists, provided he is not the snapper nor the player adjacent to the snapper.
7-5-6-Pen: If pass interference by either A or B is also unsportsmanlike, an additional 15 yards is assessed.
9-3-g: If a team is not ready to start a half on time, it is unsportsmanlike conduct.
Page 55: Each Official may use a whistle.
Page 4: Field diagram provides for barrier and coaches’ box.
2-13-1 and 6-1-4-P.R.: A short free-kick now includes touching by K in certain specified situations.
3-7-1: Any number of substitutions may be made whenever the ball is dead if replaced players are off the field before the snap or free-kick.
4-2-2-d, 6-1-7, 6-2-8 and 8-4-1-b: Revised to remove past exceptions. Touching of an attempted field-goal by K on or behind his line is ignored. Also, touching of an attempted field-goal by R behind his goal line kills the ball.
4-2-j and Page 55: All officials are authorized to use a whistle to declare ball dead in certain specified situations.
6-4-6-Pen: Revised for better coverage.
7-1-1: Revised for better coverage and to prohibit B from standing in neutral zone during huddle by A.
7-5-6-b P.R. (1) and Table, Page 37: Revised for better coverage and to include certain specified non-contact interference.
8-5-3-c: Revised to cover fumble or backward pass which goes out-of-bounds behind opponent’s goal line.
Officiating Signals: Slight revisions to promote uniformity.
1-3-1 and 2: Properly constructed balls with rubber or composition cover may be used by agreement. Beginning in 1953, white or artificially colored balls may be used only through agreement of both teams. Also, tan ball with one white stripe near each end will be legal for daytime games in 1953.
3-7-2: Player may not withdraw and enter or enter and withdraw during same dead ball.
6-1-6 and 6-2-7: If kicked ball becomes dead inbounds with neither team in possession or with opponents in joint possession, ball belongs to R.
6-2-4: After first touching of a kick by K, if R secures possession and thereafter commits a foul, the first touching is ignored.
6-4-2 and 4: If R1 signals for fair catch and kick is caught by R2, it is a fair catch. R2 cannot be tackled unless tackler had no reasonable opportunity to see the signal.
7-5-6: Addition to 1st paragraph extends interference restriction for Team A in case more than one legal forward pass is thrown.
8-3-4: If try-for-point is replayed after a penalty, ball is put in play between the inbounds lines.
9-6-1-b-Penalty: 5-yard penalty may be enforced for coach or substitute being illegally outside the coach’s score.
9-7-1 and 2: Penalty for repeated fouls may be the awarding of a score.
10-2-3: A foul which occurs during a try-for-point is not part of a double or multiple-foul if the other foul is not during the try-for-point.
1-3-2: A tan-colored ball with white stripe near each end is now standard for either day or night games.
1-5-1: Use of a pliable mouth and teeth protector is recommended.
2-12-2: Place-kick holder is mentioned and protection is given in 9-2-3.
3-5-1 and 4: Slight revisions are for clarification.
3-6-1: Ready-for-play signal is authorized. The P.R. is simplified.
4-3-3: The P.R. is rewritten for complete coverage.
5-3-2: Procedure for setting the stakes for a new series after change of team possession is outlined.
6-1-6: The words “or catches” are inserted for complete coverage.
6-2-3: The words “catch or” are inserted for complete coverage.
6-3-2: In the last sentence, kicking is inserted to indicate that scrimmage rules about acts such as clipping and forward handing are not in effect during a return-kick.
7-2-1: Snapper may have his fingers on the front of the ball.
7-5-2: Item (c) slightly reworded to indicate that the 11-inch wide neutral zone is involved.
Page 37: Forward pass table is simplified.
9-2-1: Use of forearm or elbow to strike an opponent is a disqualifying act.
9-2-3: Place-kick holder is given protection.
9-6-Penalty: 5-yard penalty is authorized for certain inadvertent infractions. Material in the supplement has been brought up-to-date. Comments on the 1953 rules changes are on page 51, 52, 53.
1-3-1: If choice is indicated before a half, a team may use a sanctioned rubber-covered football when they are Team A.
1-5-1: Transparent plastic face guards designed to protect teeth and face are legal.
1-5-3-d: Shoe cleats with a rounded free end are legal.
2-27-5 and 8-3-4: Penalty for a foul by B during a successful try-for-point is enforced on succeeding kick-off.
3-3-3: Penalty for unsportsmanlike foul by either team after last down of 1st half is enforced on the 2nd half kick-off.
3-3-4: Simplified statement made possible by removing the only foul by the Offense (fair catch interference) which, heretofore, permitted the extension of a quarter.
3-5-1: Timing rule simplified by always starting a stopped clock with a snap or free kick unless Referee exercises his privilege as in 3-6-3. Former Art. 2 and related play ruling have been omitted.
5-3-2: Slightly revised for more complete measurement coverage.
6-1-7, 6-2-7, 8-5-2 and 8-5-3: Slightly revised to cover kick which is blown dead in K’s end zone with no player in possession.
6-4-1 and 5: No fair catch can be made of a free-kick which is behind K’s free-kick line and there can be no fair catch interference for such kick.
7-1-2 and 7-2-4: Hide-out practices are prohibited.
8-2-2 and 10-5-2: Expanded to cover rare cases where enforcement of a penalty results in a touchdown.
8-4-1-c: Revised to make it clear that a field goal cannot be scored at a team’s own goal.
9-1-3-Pen: Holding or illegal use of hands by either team results in loss of 15 yards.
1-5-1: Use of mouth or face protector is urged.
1-5-3-d and f: Metal-tipped nylon cleats are legal. Cleats longer than 7/8 inch will be prohibited after 1955. Use of shorter cleats molded in the shoe sole is encouraged. Any white sleeve stripe below the elbow will be prohibited after 1956.
2-3-3: Definition for valid fair catch signal is provided.
3-3-1 and 3-4-1: Referee is authorized to stop the clock if necessary for the 4-minute notification of coaches.
6-2-4: Last sentence states that first touching of a kick by K is ignored if R commits a foul after R has touched the kick.
7-2-4: Last sentence is slightly revised for clarity.
7-2-7: Snapper is given the same foot rights as any other lineman.
7-5-4 and Play (4) under 8-5-2: Procedure is provided when penalty for an illegal pass is declined. Unless pass is intercepted, ball is taken to spot of pass even if in an end zone.
10-2-1 and 2: Revised to state that a second foul becomes a double or multiple foul if it occurs before penalty for the first foul has been accepted or declined.
Summary of Penalties, Page 61: Revised to give number of signal.
Officials’ Signals: Revised for better coverage.
Plays 26 and 42 in supplement: Revised to harmonize with rules revisions.
1-3-1: Rubber-covered footballs approved for proper reaction now have official status. Before a half a team may choose to use either type ball when they put ball in play.
2-25 and 7-2-5: Except for the player “under the snapper,” if a player who was within one yard of the line moves to a new position, such movement is a shift and if such player is the man in motion, he must be 5 yards behind the line at the snap.
3-5-1: If the clock is stopped for a time-out charged to the Referee, as for a measurement, it is started when ball is ready-for-play.
5-3-2: 2nd paragraph now covers placing of ball after a touchback or an incomplete forward pass.
6-4-5: If K first touches their kick in flight beyond the line as outlined in 6-4-1, it is fair catch interference regardless of the location of R.
7-1-1: Revised for complete coverage.
7-3-2: Revised for clarity.
7-5-4: Last sentence now covers illegal forward pass which is caught by the passing team.
9-4-3: K cannot intentionally bat their kick in the neutral zone.
9-6-1 and 2: Emphasizes desirability of strict enforcement of the coaching rule.
10-1: Acceptance or declination of a penalty is “automatic” only for the listed types of foul.
10-2: Revised to harmonize with reworded Section 1. A foul such as crawling is part of a double foul if there was a foul by the other team during or just prior to the down.
10-5-2: Typographical error of last year has been corrected.
1-3-1: Either team may use its favorite type ball when they put ball into play.
1-5-1 and 1-5-3-f: Modern Gothic numerals are legal. White transverse stripe on jersey sleeve below the elbow is prohibited.
2-29: Definition of tripping is revised.
3-1-1: Provision is made for length of periods in Junior College games.
3-5-1: After any excess time-out, clock is started when ball is ready.
7-1-2: Except for permissive action, it is a false start if an A player on the line between snapper and end moves any part of his body after placing a hand on or near the ground.
8-5-2-c: Slight addition covers rare situation where touchback follows throwing of illegal forward pass.
9-1-3: Note authorizes Official to make allowance when player pretends to be a runner.
9-2-2-h: Grasping of face mask is prohibited.
9-5: All reference to “flying tackle” has been omitted.
9-6-1-a: One player from each team may confer with his coach at the sideline during a time-out charged to either team.
10-1: Slight revision in 2nd sentence covers rare case where touchdown is preceded and followed by fouls.
Page 4: Coaches’ boxes are between the 35 yard lines.
1-4-1: Captain must accept or decline penalty before any time-out is granted.
2-9: Expanded to cover case where player inbounds near a goal line holds ball over out-of-bounds area.
2-26: Snap definition is revised to state that when snapper lifts ball, ball becomes alive even though snap is not legal.
3-4-1, 2, 3 and 4: Revised. After team has had its four permissible time-outs in a half, any subsequent time-out for injury or repair of equipment is an Official’s time-out. This removes any chance of having an excess time-out. Also, an injured player for whom the clock is stopped or for whom the ready-for-play signal is delayed must be replaced for at least one down.
3-5-1: Clock starts with the snap whenever a time-out is charged to either team and for acts such as an incomplete pass or ball going out-of-bounds. After an Official’s time-out and provided no time-out is charged to either team, clock starts with ready-to-play signal.
4-3-2: Expanded to show spot of snap when ball becomes dead while in a runner’s possession with ball over out-of-bounds area.
7-1-3: Revised to harmonize with complete coverage.
9-4-1: Slightly revised for better coverage.
9-6-1-a and 9-6-2: Revised to permit coach-player conference on field within 5 yards of side line.
Diagram: Note 1 authorizes placing of both coaches boxes on the same side of the field between the two 45 and 20 yard lines. Note 2 is included to indicate flags with flexible shafts are to be placed at each intersection of the goal line and sideline and at each intersection of the inbounds line extended and the end line.
1-5-1: Players are strongly urged to wear both face and tooth protectors for maximum protection.
3-4: The revision requires the removal of any injured or apparently injured player for at least one down. Official is authorized to stop the clock for a player who appears to be injured. Discovery of an injured player when the clock is stopped and the ball is dead does not cause his team to be charged with a time out unless the injured player’s replacement delays the ready-for-play signal.
9-6: Expanded note urges Officials to penalize promptly any unsportsmanlike conduct on the part of any one officially associated with the team during any period or during any intermission.
10-5: No penalty measurement can take the ball more than half the distance from the enforcement spot to the offending team’s goal line.
Signals: Number 2 will include illegal forward handing; Number 6 will include crawling.
1-2-2: There shall be a flag with flexible shaft at each intersection of the inbounds line extended and the end line.
1-2-2-Note: Goals with a crossbar of 33 feet 4 inches wide are permissible if the home team is required to use fields equipped with goals of this type.
1-3-3-Note: The home team is required to have a competent chain crew available to operate the prescribed equipment.
1-5-1: Requires a player to wear a face protector while participating.
1-5-3-c: The Rules Committee strongly recommends that new hip, rib and shoulder pads have all hard surfaces and edges covered with soft or shock absorbing material.
2-3-3: Revision provides that a valid fair catch signal is the extending and holding of one hand only at full arm’s length above the head. It is no longer necessary to wave the hand sidewise.
2-4: The area in which it is legal to block from the rear has been reduced to 4 yards laterally on each side of the snap and 2 yards behind each scrimmage line. In order to legally block from the rear within this rectangle (8 yards by 4 yards), the blocker must be in the area at the time of the snap.
3-4-1: An addition specifically authorizes stopping the clock for an Official’s time-out when there is “any unusual delay in getting the ball ready-for-play.”
5-3-2-Note: If, an Official’s opinion, it is obvious a first down has or has not been made, a Captain’s request for a measurement may be denied.
6-4-2: A revision provides that only the player who signals can make a fair catch. The ball becomes dead but it is not a fair catch if a teammate catches the ball.
7-5-6: Ineligible pass receivers may advance beyond the scrimmage line as soon as the last forward pass leaves the passer’s hand. Ineligible continue to be restricted from touching a forward pass before it has touched B.
1-2-1: No lime nor caustic material of any kind may be used in marking the field.
1-5-1: The requirement that a player wear a face protector is supplemented with the Rules Committee recommendation that the protector be of the multiple bar type.
1-5-1-Note: In 1962 it will be mandatory for each player to wear a fitted flexible mouth and tooth protector.
2-3-2, 4-2-2-g and 6-4-2: Revisions provide that a fair catch can be made only between the goal lines.
2-3-3: A valid fair catch signal is made by extending and either holding or waving one hand only at full arm’s length above the head.
3-4-2, 3 and 4: These articles specify 4 time-outs may be charged to a team during each half of a high school game (12-minute quarters) and 5 time-outs may be charged to a team during each half of a college game (15-munute quarters).
6-1-8: Receivers are required to put ball in play at inbounds spot if R is last to touch free-kick which goes out-of-bounds between goal lines.
6-2-4: An addition specifies the right of R to take the ball at spot of first touching by K is nullified if penalty is accepted for any foul committed during the down.
9-4-1: The word “voluntarily” has been deleted. The article now provides that unless a player is pushed or blocked out-of-bounds during a down, he will participate illegally if he touches the ball or hinders an opponent after having been out-of-bounds.
Football Official’s Signals and Summary of Penalties: Two additional signals have been added and the signals have been renumbered. Signal No. 8 is to signify grasping an opponent’s face mask and Procedure Signal E is used to designate an Official’s time-out. The Penalty Summary Chart has been completely revised to correlate with the renumbered signals and rules changes.
1-5-1: It is mandatory that a player wear an intra-oral mouth and tooth protector.
2-8-3: The definition of batting has been expanded to include striking of ball with leg or knee in other than a kick.
3-3-3: A foul by the offense during a down in which the first or third period expire shall be measured before the change of goals.
3-4-2 and 3: An addition to each of these items specifies that if the time required for the repair of faulty player equipment without assistance from a team attendant necessitates more than 25 seconds, a time-out will be charged to the player’s team if such is available and, if a time-out is not available, the player must be replaced for at least one down.
9-1-1: The blocker may not swing, throw or whip his elbow or forearm so it is moving faster than the blocker’s shoulder at the time the elbow, forearm or shoulder contacts the opponent. Neither is the blocker, permitted to contact, with his hand or arm, an opponent above the opponent’s shoulder.
9-1-2: An addition clause (b) permits all players identical rights as far as the use of hand or arm is concerned after a forward pass which has crossed the line is touched by a player.
9-1-3: When a player on defense uses a hand or arm against an opponent, the hand must be in advance of the elbow at the time of contact. The player on defense is also prohibited from locking his hands.
Summary of Penalties: For explanatory purposes, encroachment has been added to item 3, Loss of 5 Yards. An addition to item 5, Loss of 15 Yards, specifies that the down counts.
1-4-2: The recommended numbering of players is as follows: Backs, 10-49; centers, 50-59; guards, 60-69; tackles, 70-79; and ends, 80-89.
1-5-1-(e): All players are required to wear shoes.
1-5-4: When an incoming substitute or any player is without required equipment, he will not be permitted to participate until he is wearing all equipment required.
2-12-2: A pliable kicking tee of 2 inches or less is legal for any place-kick, including free-kicks, scrimmage-kicks and place-kicks during point-after-touchdown attempts.
3-3-4: If there is fair catch interference during the last timed down of any quarter, the quarter will be extended if the penalty is accepted and it may be extended if the offended team accepts an awarded catch. The offended team has three choices. If the penalty is accepted, the kicking team will be required to replay the down, untimed, in an extension of the period. If the offended team chooses to take an awarded fair catch, it may make a free-kick, or it may snap the ball for an untimed down during the same period. If the fair catch interference is not during the 2nd or 4th quarter and if the offended team elects, it may put the ball in play by snap or free-kick on the 1st down of the next period.
3-4-1: The clock will start following a free-kick, when the ball is legally touched.
4-3-4: When the ball may be put in play anywhere between the inbounds lines on the proper yard line, the same privilege is available if the down is replayed.
8-5-4: After a touchback or after a safety, the team whose goal line is involved, shall put the ball in play anywhere between the inbounds lines on its 20 yard line.
1-3-3: Previous note has been incorporated into the rule itself. “Game management” is responsible for making the chain crew available. A new note is added recommending that the yardage chain and down-marker crew wear distinctive garb.
1-3-4: When an electric field or scoreboard clock is the official time-piece, the referee shall designate its operator. If stopwatch is used it shall be operated by the field judge.
1-5-1: Players on the same team shall not wear identical numbers.
1-5-3-e: All forearm pads, hand pads and tape or bandage on hand or forearm are illegal equipment, unless sanctioned by the umpire as necessary to protect an existing injury.
3-1-3: A new section gives the referee authority to correct obvious timing errors if discovery is before second live ball following the error.
4-2-2-f: The ball is dead if a scrimmage or return-kick comes to rest beyond the neutral zone and it is then touched by a kicker prior to any touching by the receivers.
6-2-4: It is first touching only if the kickers are the first to touch a scrimmage or return-kick beyond the neutral zone before the ball has come to rest. If the ball is touched first by the kickers after such a kick has come to rest beyond the neutral zone, it is not first touching, but the ball becomes dead.
Responsibilities and Procedures of Officials: Revisions have been made to accommodate additions to the referee’s responsibilities for: (1) appointing a clock operator; and (2) correcting obvious errors in timing.
Field Diagram: An X (2 feet in width and 2 feet in height) shall be placed at the midpoint of each 40 yard line. Areas in the vicinity of the two benches are referred to as “Team Boxes.”
1-2-2: Yard line markers on the ground within 5 yards of the sideline must be of soft, pliable material.
1-2-3: It is recommended that each goal line and boundary lines of the team boxes be marked in a color contrasting with other lines on the field.
1-2-6: The staff of each flag shown on field diagram must be flexible in its entirety and present no safety hazard.
1-5-3-e: Non-hardening, non-abrasive tape or bandages or sweatbands worn on the wrists are legalized.
2-13-1, 6-1-3: For a free-kick, the kicker, as well as the holder, may be beyond his free-kick line.
2-14-2, 6-3, 9-4-2: The return-kick has been eliminated. Kicking the ball after change of possession is a foul. Reference to return-kick is deleted in various portions of the rules.
3-2-1: Not more than two captains of each team may appear for the pre-game coin tossing ceremony.
7-1-3: Snapper may tilt the ball to an angle of not more than 45 degrees.
10-1: After change of possession during a down, if one team fouls during a live ball and opponents foul after the ball becomes dead, the penalty for the first foul will be automatically accepted or declined.
1-2-6: It is recommended that a flag also be placed at each intersection of the side line and end line.
1-4-2: Teams are urged to comply with the recommended numbering of players.
1-5-3-e: Forearm and hand pads sanctioned by the umpire as being made entirely of soft, non-hardening, non-abrasive material are permitted.
1-5-3-i: An artificial hand, arm, or leg is illegal equipment.
2-7: Force is defined as the result of energy exerted by a player which provides initial movement to the ball, causing it to go from field of play into or through the goal line plane.
3-1-1-Note: Junior high school games involving students below the 9th grade shall be played in eight (8) quarters.
3-5-2: Official’s time-outs now include the clock stoppage, which follows either a change of team possession or the declaring of a first down.
3-5-3: A new provision requires that “Unless the clock is stopped, an official’s time-out shall be taken as soon as the ball becomes dead following a change of team possession, or whenever the referee declares a first down.”
9-6-1-a: The revised rule permits coaching, during the course of the game (both while the ball is alive and between downs), if the coaching is done from within the team box and in a sportsmanlike manner. Examples of unsportsmanlike acts are provided in the coverage and include anyone officially associated with the team, in or out of the team box, attempting to influence a decision of an official; or disrespectfully addressing an official; or indicating an objection to official’s decision; or using an artificial aid to coach or direct play; or using a mechanical device to attract attention.
3-4-2: The revision provides the clock will be started when the ball is declared ready-for-play, if it were stopped because of a foul.
3-5-2: The length of the time-out period had been limited to a maximum of 1 ½ minutes.
9-6-2: Two attendants, neither of whom is a coach, may attend the team on the field during a charged time-out.
10-2-2: The referee is authorized to assess an additional 15-yard penalty (or penalties) for unsportsmanlike conduct which follows a previous foul (or fouls) by the same team.
Football officials’ signals:
Loss of down: A loss of down will be indicated by the referee clasping his hands behind his head.
Illegal use of hands: This signal has been changed from the striking of one hand against the opposite wrist, to grasping the wrist with the hand.
1-2-6: A flag or a soft flexible pylon shall be placed at each intersection of a sideline and goal line and at each intersection of the inbounds line extended and the end line.
1-3-5: No mechanical visual aid equipment may be used for any coaching purpose any time during the game.
2-18: The neutral zone is established when the ball is marked “ready-for-play.”
3-1-3: Interrupted games shall be continued from the point of interruption.
6-1-6: It is “first touching of the kick” if any kicker touches a free-kick before it crosses the receiver’s free-kick line, and before it is touched there by any R player.
6-4-1: Any receiver who signals for a fair catch is prohibited from blocking until the kick has ended.
7-5-6a: It is forward pass interference if ineligible A is beyond the neutral zone before the pass which crosses the line leaves the passer’s hand.
9-3h: Failure to properly wear the required player equipment continuously after the player or his team has been directed by an official to comply will be penalized.
10-1-2: The penalty for a foul committed during a live ball is automatically accepted when it is followed by a foul by the opponents after the ball has become dead.
1-2-7 Note: Goals 23’ 4” wide above the uprights are legal for the 1969 and 1973 seasons and will be required beginning in 1971.
1-5-3d Note: Beginning with the 1971 season, the maximum length of cleats will be ½ “.
2-2-1: Blocking is obstructing an opponent by contacting him with any part of the blocker’s body.
2-4: The area in which blocking from the rear is legal has been expanded to 4 yards on either side of the snap and 3 yards behind each scrimmage line.
2-14-2: A punt may be used as the free-kick following a safety.
3-5-8: A coach may direct a player to request a time-out for the purpose of the coach and referee reviewing a decision which may have resulted because of a misapplication or misinterpretation of a rule, provided the request is made prior to the time the ball becomes alive following the play to be reviewed.
3-7-4: A replaced player or a substitute who is unsuccessful in his attempt to leave the field and who does not participate in nor affect play during a down constitutes an illegal substitution.
4-2-1: A foul immediately preceding a snap or free kick shall cause the ball to remain dead.
7-5-1: For a forward pass which crosses the line to be legal, ball must leave passer’s hand on A’s side of defensive line-of-scrimmage.
8-3-1: During a try-for-point, the ball will be put in play by scrimmage from B’s 3 yard line anywhere between the inbounds lines.
8-3-3: A successful try for A will score two points from what would otherwise be a touchdown or one point for a field goal or safety.
9-3h: Failure to properly wear the required player equipment continuously is unsportsmanlike conduct.
9-3i: It is unsportsmanlike conduct for a player to intentionally kick or throw the ball from the playing field following a score.
9-4-2: Participation by a replaced player or substitute constitutes illegal participation.
10-1-1: The automatic acceptance of declination provision has been removed. The stipulation that captains are not consulted in case of a double foul is now included in coverage for procedure after a foul.
10-1-2: A dead ball foul between downs precludes the possibility of the ball becoming alive.
10-1-3: When a live ball foul by one team is followed by a dead ball foul by opponents, captains are consulted and penalties for the fouls are administered separately and in order of occurrence.
10-5-3, 4: Procedures concerning a disqualified player and forfeitures are now included in the category of special enforcement.
1-1: Recommends the use of 4 officials, referee, umpire, linesman and field judge, but provides that games may be played with more or less.
1-3-3: Specifies the location of the line-to-gain equipment.
2-3-1: Defines a catch as securing possession of a loose ball in flight by a player who is inbounds
2-28-1: Expands the definition of the inbounds spot to include the spot where the ball is put in play when a runner goes out-of-bounds.
2-29-6: Defines a replaced player.
3-5-3: Provides that a charged time-out may be extended by an official’s time-out for the continuance of a coach-official conference or when a safety factor is involved.
3-7-3: Requires replaced player to leave the field on the side of his team box.
4-2-2a: Specifies that the ball remains alive if a player in position to be a place-kick holder takes the snap with his knee touching the ground and then rises to hand, kick, (drop-kick or punt), pass, or run.
4-3-3: Fixes the inbounds spot as the yard line through the foremost point of the ball at the time a runner crosses the plane of the side line when going out-of-bounds.
6-4-4: Prohibits any receiver from advancing the ball following a valid fair catch signal unless the kick has touched or has been touched by one of the kickers beyond the line.
7-5-7: Removes loss of down from penalty for ineligible illegally downfield.
9-3i: Classifies intentionally kicking or throwing the ball from the playing field following any score as unsportsmanlike conduct.
9-4-1: Exempts a player who inadvertently contacts a goal post on the end line from illegal participation.
9-6-3: Relocates item d and e from 9-6-1 and provides that the penalty for these fouls is 5 yards unless repeated or unsportsmanlike.
10-2-2: When there are fouls by both teams during a down in which there is a change of team possession, the team last gaining possession may retain the ball provided its foul was not prior to the final change in possession.
1-2-7: Specifies the length of the crossbar and where height is to be measured.
1-2-8: Prohibits the use of decorative material on the crossbar and uprights above the crossbar.
2-1-2: Correlates the definition of player possession with the definition of a catch.
2-3-1: Defines a catch as the act of establishing player possession of a live ball in flight and includes definitions of interception and recovery.
2-3-2: Specifies that a fair catch must be made beyond K’s line and between the goal lines.
2-3-4: Defines a simultaneous catch or recovery as one in which there is joint control of a live ball by opposing players inbounds.
2-28: Defines spearing as deliberately and maliciously driving the helmet into a player after his forward progress has been stopped.
3-1-2: Provides for shortening a period or periods in any emergency at any time by agreement of the opposing captains and the referee.
3-1-4: Authorizes the crew of officials to suspend a game when weather conditions are construed to be hazardous to life or limb of the participants.
9-1-3: Prohibits a defensive player from adding momentum to the charge of a teammate who is on the line of scrimmage by shoving him.
9-3-1i: Provides that whenever the ball becomes dead in possession of a runner, it is unsportsmanlike conduct for him to intentionally kick it, spike it into the ground, or throw it into the air or from the field of play, or fail to place the ball on the ground or return it to a nearby official.
9-6-1b: Permits coach-player conferences during the intermission between the 1st and 2nd, and 3rd and 4th periods.
10-2-4: Provides that when a dead ball foul follows a down during which there was a double foul, the penalty for the dead ball foul is separately administered.
Signals: Specifies the procedure for designating a dead ball foul by using the signal for dead ball foul preceding and following the signal to indicate the type of foul.
1-2-6: Requires the placement of a flag or soft flexible pylon at the intersections of the sidelines with the goal lines and end lines as well as with each intersection of the inbounds lines and end lines.
1-3-2: Specifies the use of a tan-colored ball with white one-inch stripe 3 to 3 ¼ inches from each end.
1-3-3: Authorizes the use of measuring devices other than a yardage chain, which have been approved by the National Alliance Rules Committee, for use in fixing the line-to-gain and measuring the distance the ball has been advanced.
1-5-1f: Permits the use of jersey numbers larger than 10 inches and 8 inches on the back and front respectively.
2-3-3: Defines the valid fair catch signal as extending and waving of one hand only at full arm’s length above the head.
2-6-2: Provides that a down will be replayed if the whistle were inadvertently sounded during a kick or while a forward pass is in flight.
2-9: Defines the free-blocking zone as the rectangular area extending laterally 4 yards on either side of the spot of the snap and 3 yards behind each scrimmage line.
2-21-1: Provides that a player is out-of-bounds when he contacts a goal post placed on the end line.
3-1-1: Permits extending playing time in order to resolve tied games.
3-5-1: Reduces to four the number of time-outs which may be charged to a team in each half of the game played with 15 minute quarters.
3-5-6: Authorizes the covering official to stop the clock when he declares the ball dead and the ball appears to have reached the line-to-gain.
5-2-4: During a replayed down following a fair catch or an awarded fair catch, it is permissible for the team to put the ball in play by either a snap or free-kick if a foul had occurred prior to any change of team possession.
8-3-4: Provides that if a forward pass foul by A, causing loss of down, occurs during a try-for-point, or if there is any other foul by A only and the try is not successful no point is scored and there is no replay.
9-1-2: No offensive player, who is outside the free-blocking zone at the snap, may block an opponent below the waist in an area 3 yards behind each scrimmage line extending laterally from the sideline to sideline, if the block is toward the spot from which the snap was made.
9-3-1j: It is unsportsmanlike for a defensive player to place himself on the shoulders or body of a teammate to gain an advantage.
9-4-1: Removes the exception from illegal participation because a player inadvertently contacts a goal post placed on the end line.
9-6-1b: Permits more than one coach to confer with one player during charged time-outs and intermission.
10-2-1: Provides it is a double foul only if both teams commit fouls in the same live ball period.
10-2-4: Specifies that penalties for dead ball fouls are always administered separately and in the order of their occurrence, and cannot be part of a double or multiple foul.
Signal chart: New signals for Failure to Wear Equipment, First Touching, Illegal Use of Hands, and Personal Foul.
1-2-3: Provides end lines and sidelines shall be at least 4 inches wide.
1-2-6 Note: Specifies beginning with 1975, pylons used to mark important intersections shall be 4 inches square by 18 inches high and orange or red in color.
1-3-1: Provides that a legal football supplied by the home management shall be used by both teams throughout the game unless a team chooses to snap or kick a ball of a different covering. If the ball furnished has more than 8 cross laces, another legal football may be used during those downs in which the opponent snaps or kicks.
1-3-2: Requires the white one-inch stripe on a football shall be solid and continuous.
1-3-3: Authorizes the use of an unofficial auxiliary marker to indicate the line-to-gain on the sideline opposite the chain and down marker.
1-5-1a: Includes the chin strap as part of the required head protector.
2-3-3: Clarifies that a valid fair catch signal requires the lateral waving of one arm only at full length above the head.
2-21-1: Permits a player to touch another player or game official who is out-of-bounds without being declared out-of-bounds.
2-30-6: Defines the spot of the foul for failure to continuously wear required player equipment as the spot where the foul occurs. Enforcement to be in accordance with the all-but-one principle.
3-1-1 Note: Permits, by state high school association adoption, games involving 9th grade shall be played in 8-minute quarters.
3-5-3: Provides that a team may be granted a charged time-out following a charged time-out by the opponent. Each team is limited to one charged time-out during a given dead ball period.
Signal chart: Authorizes a signal to indicate on illegal block in the 6-yard belt. The signal is designated as number 28 and is the use of a chopping motion with the heel of one hand at the front of the knee.
1-2-6 Note: Specifies beginning in 1975, pylons will be required to mark certain intersections and shall be 4 inches square by 18 inches high and orange, or red in color.
1-3-1: Limits the length of the lace of the football to the outside edges of the required striping with 8 or 12 evenly-spaced cross laces.
1-3-2: Permits each team to use any legal ball of its choice during those downs in which it free-kicks or snaps. (List of balls meeting rule specifications may be found on page 74).
1-3-3: Requires the referee to examine the balls to be used in order to determine their legality.
1-3-5: Authorizes official time to be kept on the side of the field when a three-man crew is working and there is no field clock available.
1-4-2 Note: Provides beginning in 1976, ineligible linemen shall be numbered 50-79 and eligible receivers number 1-49 or 80-99.
1-5-1a Note: Recommends beginning in 1975, only those head protectors carrying the NOCSAE stamp of approval be purchased. Requires beginning in 1978 each player shall be equipped with a head protector which carries NOCSAE stamp of approval.
2-19: Defines the neutral zone as the space between the two free-kick lines during a free-kick and between the two scrimmage line during a scrimmage down.
3-5-2a: Permits any player to request a time-out charged to his team.
3-6-2d: Provides it is delay of game when players are not properly wearing the required player equipment and it is imminent the ball is about to become alive.
3-7-4: Clarifies no substitute shall become a player and then withdraw, and no player shall withdraw and re-enter as a substitute unless during that interval, a dead ball foul occurs, there is a charged time-out or a period ends.
4-1-6: Specifies the ball remains dead and a down does not begin when there is an illegal snap or other snap infraction.
6-4-2: Provides only the receiver who signals for a fair catch and catches the kick is protected from contact.
8-4-1c: Requires a kick to penetrate the plane between the vertical uprights or the inside edges of the uprights extended and above the crossbar of the opponent’s goal for a successful field-goal.
9-1-4: Prohibits blocking below the waist by any player (except to stop the runner) after a free-kick is made or a scrimmage-kick crosses the neutral zone.
9-3-4: Removes the implication it is ever legal to rough the kicker.
Rules Appendix: Designates the referee as the person responsible for keeping the official score. Includes procedures for gathering individual and team statistics during games played according to National Alliance Code in the Football Officials’ Manual. Describes the 10 yard line overtime procedures for resolving games which end in a tie score.
1-2-1: Recommends football field be constructed so there is a slope of ¼ inch per foot from the center to each sideline.
1-2-3: Recommends the area between the sidelines and team box boundaries be marked solid white.
1-3-1 Note: Authorizes the use of a youth football, by State High School Association adoption, for games involving only players below the ninth grade.
1-3-5: Specifies the clock operator shall be appointed by the referee unless time is being kept on the field by a designated official.
1-5-1 Note: Requires, beginning in 1980, each player be equipped with a head protector which carries NOCSAE stamp of approval.
1-5-3d: Authorizes the rules committee to evaluate and approve shoe cleats of configuration and design which may vary from specifications.
3-1-1: Provides football games ending in ties may be resolved by state high school association adoption and recommends a plan for this purpose.
3-5-1: Reduces to three the number of charged time-outs per half to which each team is entitled.
3-5-7: Permits the referee to declare an official’s time-out for a player who appears to be injured, provided the player is removed from the field for at least one down.
5-3-2: Specifies the ball will be rotated parallel with the sideline prior to measurement for a first down.
9-3-1: Includes spearing as a disqualifying personal foul.
9-5-5: Prohibits a member of the passing team to bat a backward pass forward.
10-2-1: Clarifies it is a double foul when both teams foul during a down in which there is a change in team possession and the team in final possession accepted the penalty for its opponent’s foul which occurred prior to the change of team possession.
Field Diagram: Extends the team boxes to the 30 yard lines on each side of the field.
1-2-3: Provides all yard lines inside the boundaries, shall stop 4 inches from each sideline and decorative markings in the end zone shall be no closer than 2 feet to boundary and goal lines. Also recommends the area between the sidelines and team box boundaries be solid white or be marked with diagonal lines.
1-4-3: Specifies each player shall wear a number between 1 and 99 inclusive and provides at least five players on the offensive line-of-scrimmage shall be number 50-79 to begin a scrimmage down.
1-5-1e and f: Requires players to wear hip and shoulder pads
1-5-3j: Specifies plastic materials covering protective pads be rounded with a radius equal to one-half the thickness of the material.
1-5-3k: Prohibits player equipment involving any electronic, mechanical or other signal devices for the purposes of communication.
2-2-2: Defines butt-blocking as a technique involving a blow with the face mask, frontal area or top of the helmet driven directly into an opponent as the primary point of contact, either in close line play or in the open field.
2-2-4: Identifies face-tackling as driving the face mask, frontal area or top of the helmet directly into the runner.
3-5-3: Authorizes granting successive charged time-outs to either team during a dead ball period.
4-2-3: Revises procedures for putting the ball in play following an inadvertent whistle, based upon the location and possession of the ball when the whistle was sounded.
7-1-1: Specifies it is encroachment, for any player to break the plane of his scrimmage line, except for the snapper’s right to be over the ball, after the snapper has made his final adjustment of the ball.
7-2-2: Requires at least seven A players, five of whom must be numbered 50-79, to be on the offensive line-of-scrimmage at the snap.
7-5-5a: Provides each A player who, at the snap, was on an end or legally behind the scrimmage line (possible total of six) numbered 1-49 or 80-99, is eligible.
9-3-21: Categorizes butt-blocking and face-tackling as personal fouls.
9-7-1b: Permits the use of phones, radios or other electronic communication devices during authorized coach-player conferences.
9-7-1d: Provides a penalty for the use of mechanical visual aid equipment, including television and video tape for monitoring replay for any coaching purposes during the game, including intermissions.
9-8-3: Restricts either team from committing any act which in the opinion of the referee tends to make a travesty of the game.
10-5-3: Provides if the defensive team fouls following the snap and during a down which results in a successful field-goal or touchdown, the penalty will be measured on the succeeding kick-off.
Signals: Specifies signal number 2 to indicate encroachment and illegal position by R after the ball has been declared ready-for-play and prior to being kicked.
1-2-3: Restricts the use of advertising and/or commercial markings on the field.
1-5-1g: Requires players to wear thigh guards.
2-7: Defines encroachment as a term to indicated a player is illegally in the neutral zone.
2-11-3: Clarifies batting as intentionally slapping or striking a loose ball with the arm or hand or, in other than a legal kick, with the leg or knee.
2-18-2: Provides an offensive player is on his line of scrimmage when he faces his opponents goal line with the line of his shoulders approximately parallel thereto with his head breaking the plane of an imaginary line drawn through the waistline of the snapper and parallel to the line of scrimmage. An offensive back is in the backfield provided his head does not break the plane of an imaginary line drawn through the waistline of the nearest teammate who is legally on the line of scrimmage.
2-20-2: Provides the neutral zone may be expanded following the snap, up to a maximum of two yards behind the defensive line of scrimmage in the field of play, during any scrimmage down.
5-1-2c: Provides when the scrimmage down ends with the ball in the field of play or out-of-bounds between the goal line, a new series is awarded to the team in possession at the end of the down if there were a change of team possession during the down or if a receiver were first to touch a scrimmage-kick while it was beyond the line, unless there was a foul during a loose ball and the penalty was accepted.
6-1-3: Define it as encroachment if any player, other than the kicker or the holder for a place-kick, is beyond his free-kick line after the ball is placed and ready-for-play and until it is kicked.
7-2-1: Exempts 6 and 8-man football, to be within 12 yards of the spot from which the ball is to be snapped momentarily before the snap.
7-2-3: Requires each offensive player, in 8-man football, to be within 12 yards of the spot from which the ball is to be snapped momentarily before the snap.
9-1-1: Permits offensive players to contact opponents with their arms or cupped or closed hands, provided their elbows are entirely outside the shoulders with the palms of the hands not facing the opponent and the forearms are approximately parallel to the ground in the same horizontal plane extended not more than 45 degrees from the body.
10-5-3: Clarifies the penalty for a foul by the defensive team during a down which results in a successful field-goal or touchdown is measured at the succeeding kick-off of the succeeding spot in case there is an overtime.
Official Signals: Provides signal for encroachment shall be the dead ball signal followed by official placing his hands on his hips and pointing to the offended team. (This is the old offside penalty which is no more applicable.)
1-5-3i: Permits state associations to authorize the use of artificial limbs when constructed of material which is deemed not more dangerous to players than the corresponding human limb, and does not place an opponent at a disadvantage.
2-18-4: Defines a defensive player as on the line-of-scrimmage when he is within 1 yard of his scrimmage line.
3-2-1: Specifies the game officials shall assume authority for the contest at least 30 minutes prior to the scheduled game time.
3-3-3: Provides for the penalty to be administered on the succeeding kick-off, or at the succeeding spot if in overtime, if an unsportsmanlike foul by the offense occurs during the last timed down of either half.
3-3-4e: Provides for extending a quarter by an untimed down if there were a foul by the kicking team during the last timed down of any quarter.
4-2-2d: Permits the ball to stay alive when a field goal or try from placement is touched by R in the end zone and carooms through the uprights above the cross bar.
6-1-4: Stipulates it is a free-kick infraction if at least 5 R players are not within 5 yards of the free-kick line after the ball has been declared ready-for-play and until it is kicked.
6-5-6: Removes the invalid fair catch signal from the list of personal fouls and stipulates an invalid fair catch signal will be penalized by a 5 yard penalty from the previous spot. Also applies to 6-5 PENALTY.
9-3-4d: Exempts contact by a defensive player with the kicker or place kick holder from the list of personal fouls, when the contact is caused by R’s being blocked into the kicker.
9-3 PENALTY: Adds an automatic first down to the 15 yard penalty for roughing the kicker or place kick holder.
Officials Signals: Deleted the signal 4 for illegal shift and classified it with illegal motion under signal number 3. Adopted a new signal 4 for illegal participation. (This signal calls for the official to place both hands on top of his head.) Adopted a new signal (number 30) to indicate an illegal fair catch signal. (The officials right arm is extended horizontally with the forearm in a vertical position.)
1-5-2: The home team shall wear its dark color (jersey) and the visiting team its light color.
1-5-3-d: Specifies the types of shoes that are illegal.
2-30-6: The spot of the foul for non-player fouls that occur out-of-bounds is now the same as for player fouls.
3-2-1: During the coin toss ceremony, all team personnel on the player field, other than the team captains (limit 2 per team), shall be restricted to their respective team box areas.
3-3-3: All personal as well as unsportsmanlike fouls following the last down of either half will be penalized.
3-3-4-e: The quarter may be extended if there were a deliberate foul by the kicking team, and the penalty is not declined.
3-4-2: The clock will start on the snap following any delay of game penalty.
3-5-3: Charged time-outs may be reduced in length only if both teams are ready to play prior to the 25-second ready-for-play signal.
4-2-2-d: Permits the try or field goal to score, even though touched in the end zone, if the ball goes through the goal above the crossbar.
7-2-1-b: Revised to provide a penalty for wearing identical numbers.
9-7-1 PENALTY: A second unsportsmanlike foul by the same member of the coaching staff will cause that coach to be ejected from the stadium area.
10-5-3: Provides for all live balls fouls by the defense committed during a scoring down will be penalized on the succeeding kick-off.
Officials Signals: When failure to wear required equipment is detected prior to the ball becoming alive (3-6-2 (d) a 5 yard penalty) official will use signal 24 (dead ball foul) followed by signal 11. When required equipment is discovered missing during the down (9-3-2 (f) a 15 yard penalty) official will use signal 5 (personal foul) followed by signal 11.
1-1-2: The referee’s decisions are final in all matters pertaining to the game.
1-1-3: The referee has the authority to rule promptly, and in the spirit of good sportsmanship, on any situation not specifically covered in the rules.
1-5-1-a: A player shall wear: (a) a NOCSAE certified head protector.
1-5-1-i: The (player) numerals may have a contrasting color border which does not exceed ¼ inch.
1-5-3-c: Revised to permit hinged knee braces that contain metal in front of the knee to be worn provided the hinges are covered and other metal is covered with a minimum of ½ inch closed-cell, slow recovery foam rubber or an alternate material of the same minimum thickness and having similar physical properties.
1-5-3-d: Revised to include gloves with forearms and hand pads made entirely of soft non-abrasive, non-hardening material as an item that may be sanctioned by the umpire.
2-3-1: Revised last sentence to provide that a player who attempts a catch, interception, or recovery while he is in the air, must have the ball in his possession when he first returns to the ground, inbounds, to make it a legal catch.
2-30-4 and 10-4-1: Deleted the words “or nonplayer” from the definition of “the spot of the foul” and revised 10-4-1 to stipulate the penalty for any foul between downs and any nonplayer foul is (administered) from the succeeding spot.
4-2-3: Permit team in player possession at the time of an inadvertent whistle to have the option of accepting the play at the time of the whistle or replaying the down.
7-5-2-b: Intentional grounding of a forward pass was clarified to indicate a pass which is purposely incompleted “into an area not occupied by an eligible offensive receiver to save loss of yardage or to conserve time.”
8-4-1-a: Revised to read “The field goal attempt shall be placekick or dropkick from scrimmage, or from a free kick following a fair catch, or an awarded fair catch.” (No longer possible to score a field goal on a free kick following a safety.)
9-3-2-j: Revised to read (no player shall): “grasp an opponent’s face protector, or any edge of the helmet opening.”
9-4-1-g: New item under examples of unsportsmanlike conduct, “Intentionally swinging an arm, hand or fist at any player, even though no contact is made.”
1-5-3 Note: Permit use of molded sole shoes with nonremovable cleats or studs no more than 1/2” in length made of nonabrasive material with no cutting edge.
2-2-2; 9-1-4: There shall be no blocking below the waist by any player who is outside the free-blocking zone except to tackle the runner.
2-2-4; 9-1-3c: Defined a chop block as a delayed block at the knee or below against an opponent who is in contact with a teammate of the blocker in the free-blocking zone.
2-3-4: An invalid fair catch signal is any signal by a player that does not meet the requirements of a valid signal.
2-3-5; 6-5-6 Pen: An illegal fair catch signal is a valid or invalid signal given by a player when or where a fair catch is not permissible by rule.
2-5; 9-6: Deleted crawling definition and penalty.
2-29: Revised spearing definition as the intentional use of the helmet in an attempt to punish an opponent.
3-1-2: Allows intermission between halves to be increased to 20 minutes upon proper notification.
3-1-5: Added authority for officials to delay a game when weather conditions are hazardous.
4-2-2e: Clarified that ball becomes dead when a loose ball is simultaneously caught or recovered.
6-4-1: 6-man football allow fair catch.
7-3-2 Pen: Loss of down added to penalty for illegal forward handing.
9-1-5: Prohibits blocking the kicker of a free kick until he has advanced 5 yards beyond his free kick line or the kick has touched the ground or any other player.
9-3-2a: Allows tripping of runner.
Officials Uniform: Officials uniform beginning in 1983 shall include black hose and white northwestern stripes to be worn over the white hose. During the 1983 season, either these socks or the socks which have previously been authorized may be worn, however, in an individual game, all game officials should be wearing the same type socks.
1-2-3b: Width of field dimension lines should be 4 inches.
1-3-1: Set new specifications for the ball and method of taking measurements.
1-3-4: The yardage chain shall be removed from the sideline when the line-to-gain is the goal line.
1-5-1d: Pants required, and knee pads over knees.
1-5-1f: Jersey must fully cover should pads.
1-5-3j: Slippery or sticky substances are illegal on equipment or exposed parts of body.
1-5-3m: Tear-away jerseys are illegal.
1-5-4: Head coach must verify prior to the game that players are legally equipped.
2-3-5: Redefined illegal fair catch signal as a valid or invalid signal after the kick has touched the ground or a receiver.
2-5: Coach has option of going to the team huddle during time-outs and intermission.
2-17-2; 7-2-1a Exp: Defined a scrimmage kick formation and adopted an exception to allow players to report to the umpire to comply with the numbering requirement.
3-5-2d: Television time-outs permitted by state association policy are treated the same as a charged time-out.
4-2-2g; 6-1-5; 6-2-2, 6; 6-5-2, 4: Clarified that following any signal by the receiving team, the ball will become dead when caught or recovered by any member of the receiving team on either side of the line of scrimmage.
7-5-2b: Deleted “to conserve time” from the illegal passes.
8-5-2a Exp: Provides exception to scoring a safety if a player intercepts or catches a kick inside his 5-yard line and his momentum carries him into his end zone and the ball becomes dead there in his possession.
9-2-2 Pen: Reduced the penalty from 15 to 5 yards for teammates helping a runner by pushing.
9-3-2f Pen: Reduced the penalty for failure to wear required equipment during the down from 15 to 5 yards.
1-3-1: Adopted the optional use of the half-stripe ball for the next 3 seasons. The half-stripe ball will become the legal ball beginning in 1986.
1-3-5: Allows the use of an unofficial auxiliary down indicator rods to have flat lower ends covered by a protective cap.
1-3-6: Requires the yardage chain and down indicator rods to have flat lower ends covered by a protective cap.
2-27: Clarified the definition of shift by a lineman.
3-1: Adopted rule support that the head coach is responsible to have his team on the field for the 3-minute warm-up at the end of the halftime intermission.
3-3-3: Acceptance of any penalty during the last timed down of a period will extend that period by an untimed down.
3-5-2d: Radio time-outs are permitted by state association adoption.
6-5-3; 10-5-2: Provides another option for the receiving team when fair catch interference occurs. R may have the penalty enforced from the spot of the foul.
7-2-1a: Removed the requirement of reporting to the umpire on the numbering exception during a scrimmage kick formation.
9-3-2k: Changed the spearing penalty to be similar to other illegal helmet contact fouls.
9-4-1a: Added “words or insignia worn” as additional examples of items which can endanger ill will.
8-man rules: Established team box boundaries between the 25-yard lines.
1-5-1e: Hip pads must have a tailbone protector.
1-5-3h-2: Added specification limiting height to 5/32” for the platform used to anchor the cleats. Added an additional specification effective in 1986.
1-5-3l: 9-7-1d: Added computers to list of prohibited equipment for coaching or communication during the game.
2-3-5: The fair catch signal is illegal if given after the kick has been caught or recovered.
2-9-1a; 10-2-1, 2, 3; 10-4-1: Unsportsmanlike fouls will always be penalized from the succeeding spot and are no longer a part of a double or multiple foul.
2-10-2: Restricts clipping to blockers on the line of scrimmage and inside the free-blocking zone at the snap against opponents in the zone at the snap.
2-15-2: Prohibits placing material or any devise on the ground to improve the kicker’s footing.
3-2-1: Allows the winner of the toss to defer his choice to the 2nd half.
9-1-1, 2: Completely reorganized for easier use and understanding.
9-3-3 Pen: Added 1st down to penalty for roughing the passer.
9-4-1g; 9-7-1g: Prohibits deceit by substitutes or players prior to a free kick.
Overtime Procedure: Team A series ends and the down is ended immediately when Team B gains possession.
1-3-1a: Deleted rubber bladder requirement for the football.
1-5-1b: Adopted specifications for the face protector.
1-5-3b, c: Clarified padding requirement on knee braces.
1-5-3h2 Note: Clarified cleat platform requirement and changed date of implementation.
2-10-1: Restricted offensive player in motion from blocking below the waist in the free-blocking zone.
2-27: Revised definition of a shift to include any movement of one or more players to a new position.
4-2-2a: Rewritten to clarify the dead ball exception for the placekick holder.
6-1-9: Free kick out-of-bounds between the goal lines untouched by R or not last touched by R is a foul and if accepted carries a 5-yard penalty.
7-2-4: Permits motion parallel to the line of scrimmage.
7-5-7: Changed the penalty for an ineligible receiver downfield to 5 yards and loss of down.
9-2: Changed the penalty for all illegal use of hands and holding fouls to 10 yards.
9-6-4: Made re-entry of a disqualified player an illegal participation foul.
2-2-5: Clarified that blocking below the waist applies only if an opponent has one or both feet on the ground.
2-14: Redefined hurdling.
3-1-3: Designated that the coaches rather than the captains be involved in decisions regarding the shortening of playing periods.
9-4-2e: Prohibits any player from positioning himself on the back or shoulders of a teammate or an opponent to gain an advantage.
9-6-3: Made the use of pretended substitutions to deceive an illegal participation foul.
1-1-2: A team must begin the game with 11 players, but may continue with fewer.
1-2-3b Note 2: Allows game administration to place a 4-inch wide broken restraining line around the entire field 2 or more yards from the sidelines and end lines.
1-3-1c: A legal ball must have the stripes only on the two panels adjacent to the laces.
1-5-1a: The helmet of each player shall have a visible exterior warning label regarding the risk of injury.
1-5-1g Note: New specifications for thigh guard padding goes into effect in 1990.
2-11-3b; 9-7-3: Batting definition revised to include a ball in player possession batted forward by a player of that team. The penalty is 15-yards.
9-8-1a: It is unsportsmanlike conduct for a nonplayer to use insulting or vulgar language or gestures.
2-10-2c Note: To clarify that defensive players may not clip within the free-blocking zone.
9-6-5: It is illegal participation if a player is lying on the ground to deceive the opponents at or immediately before the snap or free kick.
9-6-6: It is illegal participation to have 12 or more players participating at the snap or free kick.
1-5-1c: Tooth protector must cover all upper teeth.
1-5-3: Permits use of artificial arm.
1-5-3c Note: Knee braces, when used, must be worn under the pants.
3-3-d; 8-3-1 Exception: Eliminates try following a last down touch down when point(s) is not necessary for game outcome or play-off qualifying.
3-4-3h; 3-6-3: The referee shall start or stop the clock contrary to normal timing procedure only if a team illegally conserves or consumes time.
9-4-3: Roughing the passer restrictions end if the pass is thrown from beyond B’s line of scrimmage.
9-6-4: It is illegal participation if an injured player is not replaced for at least one down.
9-8-2: Three attendants per team are allowed on the field during a charged time-out or TV/radio time-out.
8-9 Man: Game is terminated at the end of the 1st half or anytime thereafter when one team gains a 45-point advantage.
1-3-7: The referee shall approve the clock operator.
2-28-1; 7-1-3, 4: Provides coverage for preliminary ball adjustment by the snapper.
4-3-5: Team may in specific instances designate snap spot following a dead ball foul.
5-3-1 Note: Captain must request measurement prior to the ready-for-play signal.
9-4-4b: Roughing the kicker exception in effect if the defense touches the kicked ball near the kicker and contact is unavoidable.
1-3-8: State associations may authorize use of supplementary equipment to aid in game administration.
1-5-3c: Any hard portion of a knee brace which extends below the pants must be covered.
1-5-3h(1): Use of ceramic material for cleats is prohibited.
1-5-3m, Note; 9-8-1e: Authorizes state associations to allow teams totally composed of deaf or partially deaf players to use a drum to establish a rhythmic cadence.
2-2-2: In blocking, offensive players may also fully extend arms with open hands.
3-2-1: Four captains from each team are permitted at the coin toss.
3-5-8; 9-6-3b: An injured player may return for the next down if the halftime or overtime intermission occurs.
7-5-1: The passer’s feet are used for reference point to determine if pass is beyond the line.
7-5-7 Pen: Deleted loss of down for an ineligible player illegally downfield.
9-4-2j: Prohibits any player from intentionally using his helmet to butt or ram an opponent.
9-8-2: Team attendants may enter the field between periods.
9-8-2 Pen: The penalty for attendants on the field illegally has been reduced from 15 to 5 yards.
10-4-5: Prohibits R’s free kick line to be extended inside its 5-yard line.
10-5-4: The penalty for a foul by the opponents during a scoring play may be enforced from the succeeding spot.
6-8-9 Man: Coverage has been extended for the size of the fields, number on receivers, snap spot after touchback or safety, and yard line for start of an overtime.
1-2-7f: Recommend for 1989 and mandatory for 1990 that goal posts be padded with resilient shock absorbing material to a height of at least 6 feet above the ground.
1-2-8: One wind directional streamer attached to the top of each upright is permissible.
1-3-2 Note: State associations may adopt a specific ball for playoff competition.
1-5-1b Note: Beginning in 1992 face protectors must have met NOCSAE standard when manufactured.
1-5-3n: Jerseys may not be taped, tied, or altered to produce a knot or knot-like protrusion.
2-2-4b: Allows defense to use hands above opponent’s shoulder when the opponent ducks or submarines.
2-4-1: Clipping is also using hands to push opponent in the back.
2-30-8; 3-3-3a; 3-3-4; 8-3-5; 10-4-2; 10-4-4b; 10-5-4: The try for point becomes the succeeding spot for penalty enforcement for nonplayer or unsportsmanlike fouls during a touchdown play and dead ball fouls prior to the try. Player fouls during scoring plays will be enforced only if the penalty is accepted.
3-1-1: Each state may adopt a point differential to terminate games at halftime or thereafter.
3-1-table: Halftime intermission may be reduced to a minimum of 10 minutes by mutual agreement of the opposing coaches.
3-5-2: A charged time-out may occur only during a dead ball.
3-6-1; 3-6-2e: The ball shall be marked ready within one minute after the down which precedes a free kick.
4-2-2e: A loose ball becomes dead when it touches anything inbounds other than a player, official, or the ground.
4-2-3b: If an inadvertent whistle sounds while the ball is loose following a fumble, backward pass, illegal forward pass, or illegal kick, the team in possession may accept the result where possession was lost or replay.
9-8-3: Three coaches are allowed in a 2-yard area between the sideline and team box.
9-9-1: Persons not subject to the rules are under authority of the referee if they hinder play.
10-4-5: Deleted coverage which prohibited a free kick inside R’s 15-yard line.
1-2-3c: Dimensions of inbounds lines are 24 inches long a 4 inches wide.
1-3-1c: A ball with continuous 3/8-inch white or fluorescent yellow stripes parallel with and on each side of each seam may be used.
1-3-9: Officials shall not use television or replay equipment to make any game decision.
1-5-1: The jersey numerals may have two ¼-inch borders, one of which may be the jersey color.
1-5-3b, e: Additional hand, wrist, forearm or elbow guards and brace materials added to list of those illegal if hard in final form and support wrap legalized if nonhardening, nonabrasive and used to protect an injury.
1-5-3o: A single color plain towel is only uniform adornment permitted.
2-5, 3-5-5: Authorized conference also permitted following a score or try and prior to the succeeding free kick, and the entire team may go within 5 yards of the sideline.
6-5-3, 5 Penalty: The distance penalty for fair catch interference may only be enforced from the previous spot.
8-3-5, 10-5-2: If B fouls during a successful kick try, the penalty may be enforced from the succeeding spot.
9-3-3: The placekick holder on a free kick is given the same protection as the kicker.
9-7-2 Exp: K may bat a grounded scrimmage kick toward K’s goal line.
9-8-1g Note: Player(s) may go near the sideline between downs to communicate with coaches.
1-2-7f Note: It is permissible to use college or professional fields with goal post uprights set at the distance specified by their respective codes.
1-3-1c: Permits the one inch half stripes to be either white or yellow and deletes the word “fluorescent.”
1-3-4: Deletes the requirement that other measuring devices must be “federation committee approved.”
1-3-4: In addition to the traditional chains, other 10-yard measuring devices with a visible line-to-gain indicator will be permitted following a check for accuracy by the game officials.
2-1-5: When an airborne player makes a catch, forward progress is the furthest point of advancement after he possesses the ball and is contacted by a defender.
3-1-4: Specifies that if a game is interrupted and is not continued from that point, the final score stands unless there are conference, league or state association rules which apply.
3-4-3: On all free kicks the clock shall start when the kick is touched, other than first touching.
3-5-8b: An unconscious or apparently unconscious player, as determined by the game officials, may not return to play in the game without written authorization from a physician.
7-1-4: The stipulation that the ball could not be tilted more than 45 degrees by the snapper has been deleted.
9-4-5: Any player or nonplayer who intentionally contacts an official shall be disqualified.
9-5-1d, e: Added intentionally kicking at or attempting to strike an opponent with a fist, locked hands or elbow as disqualifying fouls.
9-6-1: Unless blocked or pushed out-of-bounds, no player of A or K shall participate by touching the ball or hindering an opponent after having been out-of-bounds during the down.
9-7-2 Exp: Legal batting of a grounded scrimmage kick by K may occur only beyond the neutral zone.
9-8-3 Pen: A team shall now receive a warning for the first violation of the team box rule. A second violation will be a 5-yard penalty, and any subsequent violation 15 yards.
6-Man Football: At least three Team B players shall be within five yards of its free kick line. After the ball is ready and before the snap, each player on Team A must momentarily be within 12 yards of the spot of the snap.
1-5-1a: NOCSAE mark required on face mask.
1-5-1g1: Rules committee no longer “approves” removable shoe cleats.
1-5-3g: Mandates that rib and back protectors must be fully covered by a jersey.
3-1-6: Stipulates obvious timing errors must be corrected before the period has officially ended.
6-1-9b: Another choice for R is to take ball 25 yards beyond the previous spot if K fouls by kicking out-of-bounds.
7-1-2: Neutral zone encroachment restrictions begin following the ready when the snapper put hand(s) on ball.
7-1-5: Snapper may not remove both hands after placing hand(s) on ball.
7-1-6c: Deleted former coverage which allowed interior linemen to lift out of 3- or 4- point stance to receive new signals.
7-2-8: Prohibits a Team A player advancing a planned loose ball unless referee is notified before that down.
9-6-1: Prior to a change of possession, if A or K goes out-of-bounds, it is a foul on return inbounds.
9-6-2: It is illegal participation for any player to intentionally go out-of-bounds and return during the down.
1-5-2a Note; 1-5-3c: Beginning with the 1994 season, gloves manufactured or altered to create an adhesive, sticky or tacky surface will be restricted.
1-5-3a: Penalty-flag colored gloves and pads are illegal.
1-5-3i: Jerseys may not be altered to produce a knot-like protrusion or tear-away type jersey.
1-5-3j: A player’s towel must be white with no markings.
1-5-3k: Washing instruction labels are prohibited on the outside of jerseys and/or pants and a manufacturer’s logo/trade name may not exceed 1 ½ x 1 ½ inches square beginning with those manufactured after January 1, 1994.
2-9-1; 6-5-2, 5: A fair catch may be made in the neutral zone.
2-23-2; 2-29-3: When standing, a player’s foremost foot determines his position on the line or in the backfield.
2-29-14: Additional guidelines established to determine when an entering substitute becomes a player.
3-1-1: State associations may adopt running time after a point differential is reached.
3-2-1: If the coin toss is held on the field, it shall be done at 3 minutes before the scheduled start.
3-5-9c: A player who is bleeding, has an open wound or excessive blood on his uniform must leave for at least one down.
3-6-5 Pen: Game management is responsible for clearing the field so play may begin on time.
6-5-6 Pen; 10-4-4d: An invalid fair catch signal is penalized from the succeeding spot.
10-3-1a3: The snap is a loose ball play.
6-Man: The passer may catch and advance a forward pass touched by B.
1-5-2c: Gloves designed for athletic competition shall have an interior label securely attached or an interior stamp (NF/NCAA Specifications) indicating voluntary compliance with test specifications on file with the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association as of January 1, 1994.
1-5-3c: Allows hard materials on hand, wrist, forearm or elbow when padded as specified if directed in writing by a licensed medical physician to protect an injury.
1-5-3k: Jerseys and pants manufactured after January 1, 1996 shall have only one visible manufacturer’s logo/trade name on each item and it shall not exceed 1 ½ x 1 ½ inches square. Rescinded prohibition on exterior washing instructions.
2-9-1; 6-5-2, 5: On a scrimmage kick, R may fair catch only beyond the neutral zone.
3-5-7h: Officials may take a time-out when heat or humidity may create a health risk to players.
3-7-2: Replaced players shall leave the field immediately.
6-1-6: On a free kick, touching is ignored if K pushes R into contact with the ball.
6-5-6 Pen; 10-4-3d: Invalid fair catch signal will be penalized from the previous spot.
9-5-1b: Added “taunting” to the rule prohibiting baiting.
9-5-1c: It is unsportsmanlike if a player attempts to focus attention upon himself with any delayed, excessive or prolonged act.
9-8-1k: A substitute who enters the player area during a fight shall be disqualified.
1-3-2: The home team shall provide at least one legal ball.
1-3-2: On possession change touchdown, ball change allowed for try.
1-5-1d Note: Starting in 1999 season, no cut-off jerseys allowed.
1-5-1d (3): Single number with border, ½” maximum width allowed.
1-5-2c: Gloves need stamp/label unless of unaltered plain cloth.
1-5-3k: Logo restrictions set for pants and jerseys made after January 1, 1996.
1-5-3l: Jewelry is added to list of illegal equipment.
2-11; 9-4-1: Fighting defined, penalty of 15 yards and disqualification.
2-17-4: Free-blocking zone exceptions end when ball leaves zone.
3-2-1: State associations may set time for onfield coin toss.
6-5-4: Allows new choice to snap or free kick following a fair catch or awarded catch if a dead ball foul occurs before the play or an inadvertent whistle sounds and a replay results.
7-5-2d Exp: Grounding of pass allowed, stop clock after hand-to-hand snap.
7-5-13: Touching forward pass by an ineligible in or behind the neutral zone is illegal touching instead of an illegal forward pass.
9-5 Pen: The second unsportsmanlike foul by a player results in disqualification.
9-5-1h; 9-8-1j: Unsportsmanlike foul if player or nonplayer uses tobacco or smokeless tobacco.
9-8 Pen: The second 15-yard unsportsmanlike foul by a nonplayer results in disqualification.
6-Man Rule 10: If there is a foul by B during a successful try by kick, the penalty is automatically enforced from the succeeding spot.
1-1-4: Deleted the recommendation for a specific size crew of officials and authorized state associations to determine the number of officials to be used.
1-2-3d Note: Allows teams to play on fields with inbounds lines marked for college or professional games.
1-5-1h: Requires all hard surfaces shoulder pad auxiliary attachments to be fully covered by a jersey.
2-17-2: Deleted “on the initial charge” from requirements for blocking below the waist in free-blocking zone.
2-30-14; 9-4-5: A defensive player shall not charge directly into the snapper when the offensive team is in a scrimmage kick formation until the snapper is in a position to defend himself or moves to participate in the play.
3-3-3c: Revised inadvertent whistle rule to allow for extending the period with an untimed down when the inadvertent whistle occurs during the last timed down of a period.
3-4-3b, c: Clock will start with snap when Team B is awarded a new series, or a new series is awarded either team following a legal kick.
3-5-8, 9-8-2: Allows an authorized conference and three attendants on the field during an official’s time-out for unusual heat and humidity.
3-7-6: Requires that entering substitutes be on the proper side of the neutral zone prior to the snap or free kick.
4-2-2d; 6-3-1; 8-5-3a: Nonscoring kicks breaking the plane of the goal line shall become dead immediately, scoring attempts become dead when the kick is successful or unsuccessful.
6-1-3: Deleted requirement that five receiving team players be within 5 yards of their free kick line at the kick.
10-5-4: Changed the basic spot from the goal line to the 20-yard line for a play which results in a touchback.
Rule 1, 9-Man: Changed 15-yards side zones to 48’ 4”.
1-3-2: Each team shall provide at least one legal game ball to the referee at the time the game officials assume authority for the contest.
1-5-1d: Authorized numbers using the jersey color when bordered with a minimum ¼ inch contrasting color and deleted requirement of block and Gothic numbers.
1-5-3b Note 2: State associations may authorize through a licensed medical physician, use of a device to enhance efficiency of a required hearing aid.
1-5-3m: Prohibits use of eye shields which prevent visual examination of an injured player’s eyes.
4-2-2k: Provides the ball becomes dead when the helmet comes completely off of a player in possession of the ball.
5-3-1: Penalties for fouls with succeeding spot enforcement prior to the ready-for-play shall be administered before establishing the line to gain for a new series.
6-5-6 Exp; 9-7-2 Exp: Allows K to catch, touch, muff or bat scrimmage kick in flight beyond the neutral zone if no R player is in position to catch the ball.
9-4-3 Pen: Specifies penalty for roughing the passer to be enforced from the end of the last run when the run ends beyond the neutral zone and no change of team possession has occurred.
9-4-5 Pen: Provides an automatic first down for roughing the snapper in addition to the distance penalty.
1-3-1g: Beginning with the 1999 season, it shall have the NFHS authenticating mark.
1-5-1d; 1-5-1d3: States that in addition to numbers being clearly visible they must also be legible. Also, authorized the use of numbers that are comprised of more than one color.
1-5-3k2: A visible logo/trademark exceeding 2 ¼ square inches and exceeds 2 ¼ inches in any dimension is not permissible.
1-5-3m: Prohibits the use of eye shields with less than 100% allowable light transmission.
2-4-1: Clarifies that a player making a catch, recovery or interception must first come down inbounds or be prevented from returning to the ground inbounds by being contacted by an opponent in such a manner that the ball will become dead because forward progress has been stopped.
9-4-7: No defensive player may use the hand(s) to slap a blocker’s head.
9-5-1; 9-8-1: Clarified that the official’s jurisdiction for penalty assessment for unsportsmanlike acts will begin when the officials assume the authority for the contest.
Field Diagram: Provides the optional use of yard numbers and one-yard extensions when marking fields.
Nine Player: State associations may adopt field dimensions of their choice.
Six Player (Rule 2-7): Specifies that a direct handoff, in addition to the clear pass, are legal prior to the ball crossing the line of scrimmage.
1-2-3e: The restraining lines for the team box and coaches’ area have been increased from between the 30-yard lines to the 25-yard lines.
1-5-1d1: The numbers on a jersey now must be centered horizontally on the front and back.
1-5-3j: Towel size (if used) is 4 inches by 12 inches.
3-3-2: If time for any period expires during a down (clock indicates 0:00), play shall continue until the down ends, even though the signal shall be allowed to sound.
7-5-12: Provides that if a legal forward pass is touched by the defense in or behind the neutral zone and subsequently goes beyond the line of scrimmage, that lineman will not be considered illegally downfield.
1-2-4: Added yellow to the color (orange or red) of pylons that may be used at the intersections of the goal line, end line and inbounds lines.
1-2-5g: The horizontal crossbar and uprights are recommended to be painted silver, white, or yellow.
1-5-1d4 Note: An American Flag, not to exceed 2 by 3 inches, and either a commemorative or memorial patch, not to exceed 4 square inches and with written approval from the state association, may be worn on the jersey provided neither the flag nor the patch interferes with the visibility of the number.
1-5-3j: The size of the allowed towel is to be a minimum of 4 inches by 12 inches and no larger than 18 inches by 36 inches.
2-14-2: The definition of a scrimmage kick formation has been clarified to indicate at least one player, seven yards or more behind the neutral zone, must be in a position to receive the long snap and no player may be in position to receive a hand-to-hand snap from between the snapper’s legs.
6-1-8: Free kicks going out of bounds are a foul if untouched by the receiving team.
7-5-7: Pass interference restrictions apply only beyond the neutral zone and only if the legal forward pass, untouched by B in or behind the neutral zone, crosses the neutral zone.
8-3-6: In a situation when a “loss of down” is part of the penalty, the down will not be required to be replayed.
9-4-2h Penalty: One of two penalties are now applicable for a player who grasps an opponent’s face mask or helmet opening.
10-5-4, 5: Added clarifications to each article that had previously been given by interpretation.
Eight-Player: Clarifies that there is no numbering requirement for players whether they are backfield or line players.
Six-Player Rule 2 and 7: Changed the penalty for not making a direct handoff or clear pass by the snap receiver before the ball crosses the line of scrimmage.
1-1-5: Prior to the game, the referee shall meet with the head coach(es) and captain(s) and explain that everyone is expected to exhibit good sportsmanship throughout the game.
1-1-11: A statement has been added indicating that the NFHS Football Rules do not recognize protests.
1-3-1a: The four-panel requirement for footballs has been removed.
1-5-1g1a: Removable cleats standard updated.
1-5-3h: Clothing and arm covers/pads manufactured to enhance control of the football are prohibited.
2-17-2a, b: Players legally blocking below the waist must be on the line of scrimmage and in the free blocking zone at the snap.
9-4-4 Penalty: A penalty of 5 yards has been added for running into the kicker/holder.
10-5-4: Automatic declination of certain fouls committed by the opponents of the scoring team have been eliminated. (8-2-4 deleted)
2-5-1: Clipping is a block against an opponent when the initial contact is from behind, at or below the waist, and not against a player who is a runner or pretending to be a runner.
2-5-2: Blocking in the back is a block against an opponent when the initial contact is in the opponent’s back, inside the shoulders and below the helmet and above the waist, and not against a player who is a runner or pretending to be a runner.
2-5-3: Clipping and/or blocking in the back shall not be called unless the official sees the initial contact. When in doubt, the contact is legal and not from the back. When the contact is ruled to be from the back, and the official has questions as to the initial point of contact, it shall be ruled clipping.
2-17-3: Clipping and blocking in the back are permitted in the free-block zone when the following conditions are bet: a) by offensive linemen who are in the zone at the snap; b) against defensive players who are in the zone at the snap; and c) the contact is in the zone.
2-17-4: The free-blocking zone disintegrates and the exception for a player to block below the waist and/or the exception for an offensive lineman to clip and/or block in the back is not to continue after the ball has left the zone.
8-3-5, 6: Fouls committed by the defense on any successful try will now be consistently penalized, thus removing an exception that permitted a free foul by the defense.
8-5-2a Exception: Fumbles and backward passes have been added to the exception. This change treats all in-flight, loose-ball situations covered by this rule the same.
9-3-5: Added language to include a block in the back under Illegal Blocking.
9-3-5 Penalty: The penalty from an illegal block in the back has been added. Also added were the penalties and rules references for the existing infractions.
Penalty Chart: Added Illegal Block in the Back.
2-16-2g: The enforcement procedure for a foul by the receiving team during a scrimmage kick has been changed. The change reflects that should a foul occur by the receiving team on its side of the expanded neutral zone prior to the end of the kick, the receiving team shall retain possession of the ball following enforcement of the penalty. The foul does not apply to a try.
2-16-5: A penalty is a result imposed by rule against a team or team member that has committed a foul.
2-17-3: Clipping is permitted in the free-blocking zone when the following conditions are met: a) by offensive linemen who are on the line of scrimmage and in the zone at the snap; b) against defensive players who are on the line of scrimmage and in the zone at the snap; and c) the contact is in the zone.
7-5-9a: Pass interference restrictions end for offensive players, when the defense touches the pass or last forward pass if more than one.
8-2-1: Possession of a live ball in the opponent’s end zone is always a touchdown.
8-2-2: If during a touchdown, a foul by the defense occurs, the scoring team may accept the result of the play and have the penalty enforced from the succeeding spot.
8-4-3: The offense, on a successful field goal, may accept the results of the play and have the penalty enforced from the succeeding spot.
9-8-1h: A penalty may be assessed for the failure of the head coach, following verification, to have the player(s) use or wear legal and/or required equipment.
10-5-1e, f: A foul by the scoring team occurs on a successful try, successful field goal or touchdown.
1-5-3i, k: Legal towels must be made of moisture-absorbing material. Also, any sticky or slippery substance is not permitted on the towel.
2-6-2a: During an authorized time-out that is held adjacent to the sideline, any number of team members and coaches may participate.
2-16-2g: Clarification has been made that a post-scrimmage kick situation begins with the snap and that a successful field goal is not included in any post-scrimmage kick enforcement.
2-17-4b: The following language was removed from the rule: “…on the line of scrimmage and …”
3-1-4: Clarification has been made to the existing authority of state associations for approval of any procedures utilized to continue or terminate contests interrupted by events beyond the control of the contest administrators.
3-3-3: Language has been re-inserted to clarify that should a foul occur on the last timed down of a period, that any re-playing action will take place before goals are exchanged.
3-5-2a: A head coach may now request a time-out.
6-1-5; 6-2-4: During a free kick, if the kicking team muffs the ball into a receiver, the action shall be ignored. During a scrimmage kick a ball legally batted or muffed by the kicking team into a receiver shall be ignored.
8-2-2: Clarification has been made concerning a foul that is committed by the defending team on a touchdown that involves a change of possession. In this case, the fouls must occur after change of possession.
8-5-2a: The momentum exception now applies to any covered defensive play situation.
10-2-1b; 10-2-2: Clarification has been made that if the receiving team’s only foul meets the criteria for a post-scrimmage kick enforcement, it is not considered a part of the double foul definition.
1-2-3e: A mark 12 inches in length, 4 inches in width and 9 yards from each sideline shall be located on each 10-yard line. These marks shall not be required if the field is visibly numbered.
1-5-1a. i: Beginning with the 2006 season, all helmets shall be secured with a four-snap chin strap and a tooth protector shall be of any readily visible color, other than white or clear.
1-5-2c: Beginning with the 2008 season, hand pads must meet the same standard as gloves concerning the level of tackiness. The hand pads shall bear the NF/NCAA label indicating compliance with test specifications on file with the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association as of January 1, 1994.
1-5-3l: The manufacturer logo/trademark restriction now includes any company reference.
3-3-4: A period shall not be extended when a foul occurs that specifies a loss of down.
3-7;7-2-1;9-6-4a: Substitution and participation rules have been clarified.
7-2-1 Penalty: “Illegal procedure” terminology has been removed from the rules book and Signal Chart.
7-5-1; 7-5-2e: Only one forward pass may be thrown during a down.
7-5-10: Hindering an opponent’s vision without making an attempt to catch, intercept or bat the ball is pass interference, even though no contact was made.
7-5-11: Contact by a defender obviously away from the direction of the pass is not considered pass interference.
8-5-2a Exception: All types of loose balls now included in momentum exception.
9-4-3: Nonplayers added to those who are covered under the Illegal Personal Contact rule.
1-2-3g: Advertising and/or commercial markings may be permitted in the end zones.
1-3-5b: The official line-to-gain and down indicators shall be operated approximately 6 feet outside the sideline, where facilities permit.
1-5-1: Beginning in 2010, the visiting team shall wear white jerseys. Also, the home team has additional limitations as to how much white may be on its jerseys.
1-5-1a: At least a four-snap chin strap shall be required to secure the helmet.
1-5-1i: Mouth guards shall be of any readily visible color, other than white or clear.
1-5-1f2: Beginning in 2008, when measuring the length of a non-removable cleat, the measurement shall be from the tip of the cleat to the sole of the shoe.
1-6-2: Phones and headsets are permitted for use by anyone during an authorized sideline time-out.
2-6-2a: An authorized sideline time-out shall be held directly in front of the team box and within the 9-yard mark.
2-29; 3-7-6; 9-6-4a: The language and definition of participation and substitution have been revised.
2-31-8: A definition has been added to define when a runner becomes a kicker.
2-40: The word “intentional” has been removed from the spearing rule.
4-2-2: A holder may now recover a snap and retain the same options of going back to a knee for the kick, advance, pass or running the ball.
7-2-8: The option to use a “planned loose ball” has been removed.
7-5-13: The act of illegally touching the ball by an ineligible player carries the same penalty whether the act occurs behind, in or beyond the line of scrimmage.
6-, 8-, and 9-player: The 9-yard mark required in 11-player has been modified to 7-yard mark.
1-2-3d New: A 4-inch wide broken restraining line shall be placed around the outside of the field, at least 2 yards from the sidelines and end lines, as an extension of the line limiting the team box area.
1-2-3k New: A line, 4 inches wide and a minimum of 24 inches in length, shall be centered in the field of play, three yards from each goal line.
1-5-1c4: Beginning in 2012, players of the visiting team shall wear white jerseys that have additional limitations as to how much color may be on its jerseys. Also, the home team has additional limitations as to how much white may be on its jersey.
1-5-2c: Beginning in 2008, forearm pads must have a securely attached label or stamp (NFHS/NCAA specifications) indicating compliance with test specifications on file with the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association as of January 1, 1994.
2-16-2c New: A new definition has been added to define a flagrant foul.
2-20, 9-4-3i, 9-4-3; Note New: Helmet Contact – Illegal; is an act of initiating contact with the helmet against an opponent. Three revisions dealing with illegal helmet contact are an attempt by the rules committee to reorganize the existing rules and definitions by bringing them under one heading.
2-32-11: A passer is a player who throws a legal forward pass. He continues to be a passer until the legal forward pass ends or until he moves to participate in the play.
3-5-2a: If the head coach has been disqualified, a “new” head coach may be designated for the purpose of requesting time-out(s).
8-2-2: When there is a foul by the opponent of the team scoring a touchdown, an enforcement option has been added. The offended team can accept the result of the play; choose to have the penalty enforced on the try; or choose to have the penalty enforcement on the free kick.
10-4-6; 10-4-7 New: A new basic spot has been defined for plays where a fumble goes from the end zone onto the playing field and then out of bounds.
9-, 8-, and 6-Player: The free blocking zone has been reduced to a zone that is a square area extending laterally 3 yards either side of the spot of the snap and 3 yards behind each line of scrimmage.
1-2-3a: White is the recommended color for all field markings. The rule continues to allow the use of other colors for field markings, when appropriate.
1-2-3d; NEW 2-26-8: The restraining line can now be either solid or broken. It is recommended that a broken line be used and marked by placing 12-inch-long lines separated at 24-inch intervals. Only game officials are allowed in the area marked by the restraining line.
1-5-1b, d, h: Hip pads, tailbone protector, knee pads and thigh guards must not be altered from the manufacturer’s original design/production. Shinguards, if worn, must meet NOCSAE specifications.
1-5-2b NOTE: A hand pad is now defined as a covering for the hand which may have separate openings for each finger and thumb, is absent of any web-like material between the fingers and/or thumb, and not covering each finger and thumb. The implementation date for a mandatory securely attached label or stamp has been changed from 2008 to 2012.
2-16-2e; 3-3-4b; 8-2-2; 8-2-3; 10-2-4: Four changes in the playing rules were refined regarding the penalty options for teams that score but were fouled during the play. Rule 2-16-2e was clarified (along with Rule 10-2-4) to revise the definition of a multiple foul to stipulate that a team must foul twice during the same down to commit multiple fouls. Rules 3-3-4b was amended to clarify issues at the end of the half, and along with amendments to Rules 8-2-2 and 8-2-3, clearly stipulate that fouls by the opponent of the scoring team on the last timed down of the first half can carry over to the second-half kickoff, however fouls by the opponent of the scoring team on the last timed down of the second half cannot carry over to overtime.
3-5-1: The option to carry over unused second-half time-outs into overtime has been removed. The NHFS-recommended Resolving Tied Games procedure continues to provide for one time-out per overtime period with the revisions stipulating that unused time-outs do not carry to subsequent overtime periods.
3-5-2a NOTE: The head coach can now designate another coach for the purpose of requesting time-outs. The designee shall remain in place for the entire game except in case of emergency.
4-2-3: The inadvertent whistle rules has been clarified. The new working indicates the options available in a simpler form and makes the choosing of an option an easier process to understand.
9-9 PENALTY: Hiding the ball under the jersey will now be enforced as a basic spot foul using the all-but-one principle.
New 9-9-4; 9-9 PENALTY: No player shall use a kicking tee in violation of Rule 1-3-4. The use of an illegal kicking tee will now be penalized as an unfair act committed by the player. Acceptance of this foul on a try or field goal will nullify any points scored, with the penalty enforced as a basic spot foul using the all-but-one principal.
10-4-6; 10-4-7: The change to Rules 10-4-6 allows the same enforcement for either team by defining the basic spot as the 20-yard line for this type of foul (15-yard line in nine-, eight-, and six-player). A change to Rule 10-4-7 helps clarify the basic spot on running plays for fouls by the opponent of the team in possession when the team in possession puts the ball in the end zone and, subsequently, possession is lost.
1-2-3b NOTE 2 (NEW): All required field markings must be clearly visible.
1-3-1c: Stripes located on the football must be adjacent to and perpendicular to the seam upon which the laces are stitched.
2-14-2; 7-2-5: The definition of a scrimmage-kick formation was clarified to differentiate formations that have been used traditionally for attempting a field goal or kick try from those used for a punt. The circumstances under which the numbering exception can be used have been changed to clarify what can be done on first, second, third and fourth downs.
Table 3-1; 9-8-1g: The mandatory three-minute warm-up period begins immediately following the conclusion of the halftime intermission. The head coach of each team is responsible for his team being on the field for the warm-up period.
3-3-4b5 (NEW): If a penalty resulting in a safety occurs on the last timed down of a period, the period is not extended.
8-2-2; 8-2-3; 8-2-4 (NEW); 10-5-1f: Three rules were refined and a new article created regarding penalty enforcement for dead-ball, non-player or unsportsmanlike fouls that occur during or after a touchdown scoring play. Now, the scoring team, in most situations, has the option of enforcing the penalty on the subsequent kickoff.
9-4-3h: It is now illegal to grasp the opponent’s chin strap.
9-4-3k (NEW): The horse-collar tackle has been added to the list of illegal personal contact fouls, regardless of where it occurs on the field. It is illegal to grasp the inside back or side opening of the collar of the jersey or shoulder pads of the runner and subsequently pull the runner to the ground.
9-7-2 EXCEPTION: The kicking team cannot bat a scrimmage kick that has not yet been grounded unless it is toward its own goal line. Scrimmage kicks may only be batted by the kicking team towards its own goal line.
1-2-3g; 9-8-3: A restricted area has been defined where a maximum of three coaches may communicate with players and substitutions during dead-ball situations. The coaches must move into the team box before the ball becomes live. There will no longer be an allowance for three coaches to remain in an area adjacent to the sideline during play.
1-5-2c: New football glove/hand pad standard implemented for the 2012 season.
1-5-3a: Restrictions removed on penalty-marker colored pads or gloves.
1-5-3b 1, 2, NOTE, 3: Illegal player equipment rule clarified
3-1-2; 1-7: Point differential rule modified for member state associations.
3-2-2: Coin toss provisions revised.
3-5-10b: Concussion rule revised.
3-7-1: Replaced players – replacement timeframe clarified
8-2-2; 8-2-3; 8-2-4 (NEW); 8-2-5; 10-4-5; 10-5-1f; 2-41-10: Penalty options for fouls on scoring plays expanded to include scoring team fouls.
9-4-3k: Horse-collar clarified.
9-4-8 (NEW): Penalty defined for unintentional contact between a nonplayer and an official in the restricted area.
Nine-, Eight- and Six-Player Rules: Field markings in nine-, eight- and six-player rule differences adjusted.
1-1-8: Administrative duties of game officials clarified.
1-5-1c(4): Thigh guard standard revised.
1-5-3c(3) (NEW): Eye shade restrictions adopted.
2-3-8: Chop block redefined.
2-6-1, 2; 3-5-8: Injury timeout conferences restricted to outside nine-yard marks.
3-5-10a-c: Provisions for removal of injured players standardized.
9-4-3k: Horse collar penalty enforcement clarified.
9-4 PENALTY: Enforcement spot for roughing the passer revised.
9-6-2: Illegal participation revised.
9-8-1g(3) (NEW): Penalty added for violations of Rule 3-2-2.
Nine-, Eight- and Six-Player Rules: Removal of point differential note.
1-2-3h, 1-2-3l (NEW): Restrictions have been removed for corporate advertising and markings on the field of play.
1-5-2b: Football gloves must meet the NOCSAE test standard starting in 2013.
1-5-3c(8) (NEW): Play cards must be worn on the wrist.
2-3-7: Blocking-below-the-waist rules revised.
2-4-1: Definition of a catch revised.
3-5-10d: Player required to be removed if helmet comes off during the down.
9-3-8 (NEW): Restrictions added to blocking on free kicks.
9-4-3h: Illegal personal contact penalty has been revised.
9-4-3k: Horse-collar rule has been modified.
1-5-3a(5)a: Solid-colored towels now legal.
1-6: Use of communication devices expanded.
2-4-1: Definition of a catch clarified.
3-5-10d: Loss of helmet after the down clarified.
6-5-6 PENALTY; 2-9-2; 5-2-1, 2; 6-5-4; 10-4-2b: Kick-catching interference penalty added.
7-5-10 PENALTY; Table 7-5: Pass interference penalties revised.
8-3-3: Score on a try clarified.
9-3-8c (NEW): Blocking on free kicks revised.
9-4-3l (NEW): Initiating contact with a helmet-less opponent is now an illegal personal contact foul.
9-6-4g (NEW): Players continuing to play without a helmet is now illegal participation.
1-1-7: State associations can require game officials to assume authority earlier prior to a game.
2-20-2 (NEW): Definition of targeting added.
2-24-9: Status of the ball following illegal kick clarified.
2-32-16 (NEW); 9-4-3i(3): Definition of defenseless player added.
3-3-3, 4: End-of-period procedure changed.
6-1-3b (NEW): Free-kick formation provisions added.
6-1-3c (NEW): Free-kick run-up provisions added.
8-5-1b (NEW): Provision to clarify force added.
9-4-3m (NEW): Targeting an opponent is clarified as a separate personal foul.
9-4-4: Roughing-the-passer fouls revised.
2-20-1c: Spearing definition revised.
5-1-1b (NEW): Added authority to the referee to correct the number of the next down prior to the ball becoming live after a new series is awarded.
6-1-3; 6-1-4 (NEW); 6-1 PENALTY: Free-kick formations revised.
9-4-3g: Updated unnecessary roughness to include defenseless player and added excessive contact.
9-4 PENALTY: Roughing the passer penalty clarified.
10-2-5: Dead-ball penalty enforcement modified.
1-5-1d(5)a: Completely clear or completely white tooth and mouth protectors are no longer prohibited.
1-5 NOTE; 1-5-2b: Football gloves are now required to meet either the new SFIA specifications or the existing NOCSAE test standard at the time of manufacture.
2-17; 9-3-6; 9-3 PENALTY: Clipping in the free-blocking zone is now illegal.
1-3-1h: Added that commercial advertising is not permitted on the ball.
2-3-10, 9-4-3n, 9-4 PENALTY: Added a new definition for a blindside block and specifies a penalty for an illegal blindside block.
2-24-10, 6-1-11, 6-1 PENALTY: Added a new definition for a pop-up kick and specifies a penalty for a pop-up kick.
3-4-7: Added a new option to the offended team to start the clock on the snap for an accepted penalty inside the last two minutes of either half.
4-2-2l: Specifies that the ball is declared dead if a prosthetic limb comes completely off the runner.
1-5-4, 1-5-5, 3-5-10e, 3-6-9, 9-9: Improperly equipped player shall be replaced for at least one down.
6-1-9b, 6-1-9b PENALTY, 10-4-2 EXCEPTION, 10-5-1j: New penalty option adopted for fouls by kicking team.
1-3-7 NOTE, TABLE 1-7: By state association adoption, use of video review allowed for postseason contests.
1-5-1c, 1-5-1c(6): Added new requirements for improved visibility of numbers.
2-14-1, 7-5-2a: Redefined requirements for a legal scrimmage formation.
2-35, 3-6-1, 3-6-2a, 7-2-1: Added the 40-second play clock.
2-45, 9-4-3o, 9-4-3o PENALTY: Prohibition on tripping the runner.
6-2-1 PENALTY, 9-7 PENALTY: Illegal kicking and batting penalty reduced.
9-4-3k: Horse-collar tackle addition.
1-4-1, 1-4-4, 2-32-5, 3-5-2, 10-1-1, 10-1-2, 10-2-4: Defined team designated representative for penalty decisions.
3-1-6c Exception: Added halftime intermission option following weather delay.
3-6-1a(1)e EXCEPTIONS 2 and 3: Clarification on 40-second play clock.
3-6-1a(1)f: Clarification on 25-second play clock.
7-1-9, 7-1-9 PENALTY: Reclassified disconcerting act foul and penalty.
7-5-2e EXCEPTION, TABLE 7-5-2e EXCEPTION, TABLE 7-5e EXCEPTION: Expanded the Exception to now allow spiking the ball to conserve time by any player positioned directly behind the center.
2-17-2c (NEW), 2-17-4: Blocking below the waist now requires the block to begin immediately following the snap.