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Protection of Passer
1. By interpretation, a pass begins when the passer
-- with possession of ball -- starts to bring his
hand forward. If ball strikes ground after this
action has begun, play is ruled an incomplete pass.
If passer loses control of ball prior to his bringing
his hand forward, play is ruled a fumble.
2. When a passer is holding the ball to pass it
forward, any intentional movement forward of his
arm starts a forward pass. If a defensive player
contacts the passer or the ball after forward movement
begins, and the ball leaves the passer’s hand,
a forward pass is ruled, regardless of where the
ball strikes the ground or a player.
3. No defensive player may run into a passer of
a legal forward pass after the ball has left his
hand (15 yards). The Referee must determine whether
opponent had a reasonable chance to stop his momentum
during an attempt to block the pass or tackle the
passer while he still had the ball.
4. No defensive player who has an unrestricted
path to the quarterback may hit him flagrantly in
the area of the knee(s) or below when approaching
in any direction.
5. Officials are to blow the play dead as soon
as the quarterback is clearly in the grasp and control
of any tackler, and his safety is in jeopardy.