SECTION 30. Play Classification
ARTICLE 1. Forward Pass Play
A legal forward pass play is the interval between the snap and when a legal forward pass is complete, incomplete or intercepted.
ARTICLE 2. Free Kick Play
A free kick play is the action during the interval from the time the ball is legally kicked until it comes into player possession or the ball is declared dead by rule.
ARTICLE 3. Scrimmage Kick Play
A scrimmage kick play is the the action during the interval between the snap and when a scrimmage kick comes into player possession or the ball is declared dead by rule.
ARTICLE 4. Running Play and Run
- A running play is any live-ball action other than that during a free kick play, a scrimmage kick play, or a legal forward pass play.
- A run is that segment of a running play during which a ball carrier has possession.
- If a ball carrier loses possession by a fumble, backward pass, or illegal forward pass, the spot where the run ends (Rule 2-25-8) is the yard line where the ball carrier loses possession. The running play includes the run and the loose-ball action before a player gains or regains possession or the ball is declared dead. (A.R. 2-30-4:I and II)
- A new running play begins when a player gains or regains possession.
Approved ruling 2-30-4
- A21 catches a forward pass with his knees on the ground. The forward passer is roughed during the pass. RULING: A21’s catch started a running play, which ended immediately. Penalise 15 yards from the end of the run, first down for Team A. [Cited by 2-30-4-c, 9-1-9-a]
- Third and 10. A21 catches a forward pass and fumbles when tackled after gaining 10 yards. The fumble is recovered by grounded A24 five yards in advance of the fumble. During the pass, the forward passer is roughed. RULING: Penalise 15 yards from the spot of recovery by A24 (end of last run), first down for Team A. [Cited by 2-30-4-c, 9-1-9-a]
ARTICLE 5. Result of the Play
The result of the play is the game situation when the ball becomes dead and before the enforcement of penalties for any fouls or violations occurring during the play.
SECTION 31. Field Areas
ARTICLE 1. The Field
The field is the area within the limit lines and includes the limit lines and team areas and the space above it (Exception: Enclosures over the field).
ARTICLE 2. Field of Play
The field of play is the area enclosed by the sidelines and the goal lines.
ARTICLE 3. End Zones
- The end zone at each end of the field is the rectangle defined by the goal line, sidelines and end line.
- The goal line and goal line pylons are in the end zone.
- A team’s end zone is the one it is defending. (A.R. 8-5-1:VII) (A.R. 8-6-1:I)
ARTICLE 4. Playing Surface
The playing surface is the material or substance within the field of play, including the end zones.
ARTICLE 5. Playing Enclosure
The playing enclosure is that area bounded by the stadium, dome, stands, fences or other structures
(Exception:Scoreboards are not considered within the playing enclosure). Where there is no stadium, dome or stands, the playing enclosure is any area within sight and/or sound of the field. (Rules 9-2-6-b and 9-2-7)
ARTICLE 6. Side Zone
The side zone is the area between the hash marks and the near sideline.
SECTION 32. Fighting
Fighting is any attempt by a player, coach or squad member in uniform to strike an opponent in a combative manner unrelated to football. Such acts include, but are not limited to:
- An attempt to strike an opponent with the arm(s), hand(s), leg(s) or foot (feet), whether or not there is contact.
- An unsportsmanlike act toward an opponent that causes any opponent to retaliate by fighting (Rules 9-2-1 and 9-5-1).
SECTION 33. Three-and-One Principle
The Three-and-One Principle of penalty enforcement applies when the penalty statement for a foul does not specify the enforcement spot. Application of this principle is described in Rule 10-2-2-c.
SECTION 34. Tackle Box
- The tackle box is the rectangular area enclosed by the neutral zone, the two lines parallel to the sideline five yards from the snapper, and Team A’s end line. (See Appendix D.)
- The tackle box disintegrates when the ball leaves it.
SECTION 35. Targeting
“Targeting” means that a player takes aim at an opponent for purposes of attacking with forcible contact that goes beyond making a legal tackle or a legal block or playing the ball.
Some indicators of targeting include but are not limited to:
- Launch – a player leaving his feet to attack an opponent by an upward and forward thrust of the body to make contact in the head or neck area.
- A crouch followed by an upward and forward thrust to attack with contact at the head or neck area, even though one or both feet are still on the
- Leading with helmet, forearm, fist, hand or elbow to attack with contact at the head or neck area.
- Lowering the head before attacking by initiating contact with the crown of the helmet.