Fake Field Goal – Punts – (confusing) (Rule 2-16-10)
Stay with me here. This one has some “splanin'” to do. For an offensive formation to be legal during a regular play, at least five linemen must be numbered 50 to 79. No matter where they line up, the players are always ineligible receivers (by number)
When an offense is lined up for a scrimmage kick (field goal, extra point, or punt), they get an exception and can have fewer than five.
Some coaches exploited that to trick defenses into covering the wrong players, or lulling them to sleep, before attempting a fake. The rules committee tightened up the loopholes.
First, to get the numbering exception the offense must have either:
- at least one player 10 or more yards behind the line of scrimmage, or
- two players at least 7 yards behind the line of scrimmage.
Until this year, they only had to have one player at least 7 yards back, leading teams to have him take the snap and run. Now they have to be considerably more strategic with their fakes, if they want to take advantage of the “numbering exception”.
The other change is just one word, but that one word changes the entire rule. The rule used to say it has to be “obvious that a kick may be attempted.” That “may” is now, “will”, as in, “it must be obvious that a kick WILL be attempted.”
Now, when a team puts a snapper, wearing number 88 on the end of the line, so he can run out for a pass, the offense must meet standard-play numbering rules. (must have 5 other linemen numbering 50-79). A snapper on the end of the line does not make it clear to everyone in the stadium that a kick WILL be attempted, so the offense gets no exception.
Got a headache yet?
Of course, this creates a different grey area. A kick doesn’t have to be attempting under the rule, it just has to be obvious that one will be attempted. For example, after a muffed snap, the player attempting to kick could roll out and legally run or pass.
More from Rubbing the Rock
- Clemson Football: Q&A with Florida State experts at Chop Chat
- Clemson Tigers News: New commitments, Ian Schieffelin and Jonathan Weitz
- Clemson Football needs their biggest stars to shine against Florida State
- Clemson Football: Receiver by committee could work for the Tigers
- No reason for Clemson Football to fear a Seminole takeover
Actually, the player doesn’t even have to roll out, or the snap doesn’t have to be muffed. They just need to fake the kick really, really well. They should have let sleeping dogs lie within the context of this rule.
And the biggie that is being actually discussed right now is the negating of the kickoff.
No, you read that right. They are trying to do away with kickoffs altogether. They state that it’s not safe. Are you kidding me? 90% of kickoffs are touchbacks now, since they moved the kickoff spot to the 35 yard line, and now they are wanting to do away with them completely.
Might as well just put flags on them and outlaw hitting or physical contact in any way.
Football is a violent game. You know this when you sign up. I’m okay with rules that protect defenseless players, I’m not okay with rules that will re-shape the entire landscape of the game.
Heck, Clemson would probably be defending National Champions if there were no kickoffs, and I’m still not okay with that.
Football is the battle of the fittest. Bigger, faster, stronger. A reckless game of controlled chaos. A violent game of human chess. Modern day gladiators, sweating, bleeding, toiling until exhaustion in front of packed coliseums of rabid fans who can’t get enough. Maybe that’s romanticizing the game a little much, but it’s better than the tutu’s and tea parties that they are pointing us toward.