2-28-1, 2-28-2, 7-5-11b, 7-5-12 The neutral zone is one of the basic tenets of a football game. In practical terms it’s the space between the offensive and defensive lines. The neutral zone is clearly defined and is established when the ball is ready for play. The width of the zone is the length of the ball. When the play begins, that clear delineation disappears. For scrimmage kick and forward pass plays, the neutral zone may be expanded following the snap to a maximum of two yards beyond the defensive line of scrimmage in the field of play. That is termed the expanded neutral zone. When a forward pass crosses the neutral zone, ineligible team A players may go beyond the neutral zone before the pass is released as long as they stay within the expanded neutral zone. However, while they are within the expanded zone, they may only contact team B linemen and that contact must be initiated immediately after the snap. Players who go too far downfield before the pass is released and do not contact an opponent there, are guilty of being an ineligible receiver downfield. The penalty is five yards from the previous spot. Players who violate the blocking restrictions commit offensive pass interference. The penalty is 15 yards from the previous spot.