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1. Chucking: Warding off an opponent who is in front
of a defender by contacting him with a quick extension
of arm or arms, followed by the return of arm(s)
to a flexed position, thereby breaking the original
2. Clipping: Throwing the body across the back of
an opponent’s leg or hitting him from the
back below the waist while moving up from behind
unless the opponent is a runner or the action is
in close line play.
3. Close Line Play: The area between the positions
normally occupied by the offensive tackles, extending
three yards on each side of the line of scrimmage.
It is legal to clip above the knee.
4. Crackback: Eligible receivers who take or move
to a position more than two yards outside the tackle
may not block an opponent below the waist if they
then move back inside to block.
5. Dead Ball: Ball not in play.
6. Double Foul: A foul by each team during the
7. Down: The period of action that starts when
the ball is put in play and ends when it is dead.
8. Encroachment: When a player enters the neutral
zone and makes contact with an opponent before the
ball is snapped.
9. Fair Catch: An unhindered catch of a kick by
a member of the receiving team who must raise one
arm a full length above his head and wave his arm
from side to side while the kick is in flight.
10. Foul: Any violation of a playing rule.
11. Free Kick: A kickoff or safety kick. It may
be a placekick, dropkick, or punt, except a punt
may not be used on a kickoff following a touchdown,
successful field goal, or to begin each half or
overtime period. A tee cannot be used on a fair-catch
or safety kick.
12. Fumble: The loss of possession of the ball.
13. Game Clock: Scoreboard game clock.
14. Impetus: The action of a player that gives
momentum to the ball.
15. Live Ball: A ball legally free kicked or snapped.
It continues in play until the down ends.
16. Loose Ball: A live ball not in possession of
17. Muff: The touching of a loose ball by a player
in an unsuccessful attempt to obtain possession.
18. Neutral Zone: The space the length of a ball
between the two scrimmage lines. The offensive team
and defensive team must remain behind their end
of the ball.
Exception: The offensive player who snaps the ball.
19. Offside: A player is offside when any part
of his body is beyond his scrimmage or free kick
line when the ball is snapped or kicked.
20. Own Goal: The goal a team is guarding.
21. Play Clock: 40/25 second clock.
22. Pocket Area: Applies from a point two yards
outside of either offensive tackle and includes
the tight end if he drops off the line of scrimmage
to pass protect. Pocket extends longitudinally behind
the line back to offensive team’s own end
23. Possession: When a player controls the ball
throughout the act of clearly touching both feet,
or any other part of his body other than his hand(s),
to the ground inbounds.
24. Post-Possession Foul: A foul by the receiving
team that occurs after a ball is legally kicked
from scrimmage prior to possession changing. The
ball must cross the line of scrimmage and the receiving
team must retain possession of the kicked ball.
25. Punt: A kick made when a player drops the ball
and kicks it while it is in flight.
26. Safety: The situation in which the ball is
dead on or behind a team’s own goal if the
impetus comes from a player on that team. Two points
are scored for the opposing team.
27. Shift: The movement of two or more offensive
players at the same time before the snap.
28. Striking: The act of swinging, clubbing, or
propelling the arm or forearm in contacting an opponent.
29. Sudden Death: The continuation of a tied game
into sudden death overtime in which the team scoring
first (by safety, field goal, or touchdown) wins.
30. Touchback: When a ball is dead on or behind
a team’s own goal line, provided the impetus
came from an opponent and provided it is not a touchdown
or a missed field goal.
31. Touchdown: When any part of the ball, legally
in possession of a player inbounds, breaks the plane
of the opponent’s goal line, provided it is
not a touchback.
32. Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Any act contrary to
the generally understood principles of sportsmanship.