Wednesday, 22 February 2012

BAFANL: The Rule Changes – What you need to know.

Every year BUAFL adopt most of the rule changes from the previous year’s NCAA competition. BAFANL are even quicker on the uptake in that they adopt the rules a couple of months after the NCAA is over. There have been some significant rule changes, so make sure you’re clued up before you take the field come October this year, or even sooner come April.

Blocking below the waist
The main change is that by rule, blocking below the waist is now illegal, last year, this was not the case. This is more of just a change of perception on the block, moving from innocent until proven guilty to guilty until proven innocent.

Now, all you OL out there don’t start crying, there are exceptions to this rule:

a) Players of the offensive team who at the snap are (1) on the line of scrimmage more than seven yards from the middle lineman of the offensive formation, or (2) in the backfield outside the tackle box, or (3) in motion, may block below the waist only along a north-south line or toward the sideline adjacent to them at the snap

b) Players of the offensive team who at the snap are inside the tackle box or on the line of scrimmage inside the seven-yard limit may block below the waist.

c) Players of the defensive team who at the snap are inside the blocking zone extended to the sideline may block below the waist inside that area until the blocking zone disintegrates

The main effects these changes have are on a man in motion across the formation. There is recognition of which sideline is deemed to be the players adjacent sideline, thus donating in which directions the player can cut block. If the ball is snapped prior to the motion man passing the centre, his sideline is deemed to be on the side of the formation he was on prior the snap (above left).

Alternatively if he has passed the centre at the snap, his sideline is deemed to be switched to the opposing sideline (above right). The arrows show the directions in which the player may then cut block. Any cut block pertaining to the opposite sideline is now ILLEGAL. 15 yd penalty.

For backfield players to cut block you must be lined up inside the tackle box (deemed to be 7 yards laterally from the ball, and usually within the tackles if no odd formation is used.) If there is any doubt, the referee will call a penalty.

Blocking out of bounds
It is illegal for any player to initiate a block against an opponent who is out of bounds. The spot of the foul is where the blocker crosses the sideline in going out of bounds. The current rules do not prohibit a player from going out of bounds to block an opponent. A consistent spirit of the rules and a principle of player safety is that the game should be played between the lines.

While it may happen that a block initiated in bounds might continue as the players cross the sideline, no player should go out of bounds to block an opponent, just as the ball carrier may not be tackled out of bounds. This rule is somewhat bizarre, I can see situations where it is illegal, for instance someone missing a tackle and ending up out of bounds and you coming in to block them. However, situations such as a pursuing player moving out of bounds to avoid one block are now unblockable by another player. 15 yard unsportsmanlike

10-second runoff the game clock
With the game clock running and less than one minute in either half, if a player of either team commits a foul that causes the clock to stop, the officials may subtract 10 seconds from the game clock at the option of the offended team. The fouls that fall in this category include but are not limited to:

(a) Any foul that prevents the snap (e.g., false start, encroachment, defensive offside by contact in the neutral zone, etc.);
(b) Intentional grounding to stop the clock;
(c) Illegal forward pass thrown from beyond the neutral zone;
(d) Backward pass thrown out of bounds to stop the clock;
(e) Any other foul committed with the intent of stopping the clock.

The offended team may accept the yardage penalty and decline the 10-second subtraction. If the yardage penalty is declined the 10-second subtraction is declined by rule

Locking-legs by offensive linemen
This is perhaps something many people were not aware of but as an offensive linemen in any formation (including kicks) you are not allow to have overlapping splits, in the sense that your legs are crossed. I have only seen this penalty called once on a field goal formation. It is now no longer illegal, HOORAY!
Three-on-one on field-goals
It is illegal to align 3 defensive players shoulder to shoulder on 1 offensive player and move forward at the snap.  This may seem a bit odd, but this is definitely a place where linemen can pick up some serious injuries from, especially as most of the time legs are interlocked during field-goal plays. Might mean there is less middle pressure on field goals though. I can’t see refs ever calling this though. 5yd live ball foul.

1 comment:

  1. And of course there's the one everyone will no doubt whine about... Unsportsmanlike conduct fouls are now assessed from the spot of the foul instead of being treated as dead ball ones.


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