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TCfootball70

Illegal Motion vs. False Start

Question

In our game Friday, the opposing teams WR went in motion but started moving towards the line of scrimmage. A flag was thrown, but the play was not blown dead. It was then decided that a false start had occurred and not illegal motion meaning the down had to be replayed. When we asked why wasn't the whistle blown since false start is a dead ball foul, the explanation was, "I thought it was illegal motion, but it was a false start." This was at the end of the game, and it was 4th down for the opposing team. By calling it a false start instead of illegal motion, it gave them another play to run. So, all that to ask, at what point is it illegal motion vs. false start? 

I have a video clip of the play in question if needed, but it is too large to attach to the forum. 

Thanks!

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6 minutes ago, TCfootball70 said:

In our game Friday, the opposing teams WR went in motion but started moving towards the line of scrimmage. A flag was thrown, but the play was not blown dead. It was then decided that a false start had occurred and not illegal motion meaning the down had to be replayed. When we asked why wasn't the whistle blown since false start is a dead ball foul, the explanation was, "I thought it was illegal motion, but it was a false start." This was at the end of the game, and it was 4th down for the opposing team. By calling it a false start instead of illegal motion, it gave them another play to run. So, all that to ask, at what point is it illegal motion vs. false start? 

I have a video clip of the play in question if needed, but it is too large to attach to the forum. 

Thanks!

There are 3 things that constitute a false start:

  1. If a restricted (interior) lineman places a hand on or near the ground and then lifts it.
  2. Any act clearly designed to cause the defense to encroach (like the fast shift while in punt formation on 4th and 4).
  3. Any act that simulates the start of a play.

In the play you described, it’s #3 that comes into play, and it’s a judgment call. When the receiver turned up before the ball was snapped, did he simulate the start of a play? Don’t know without the video. I can tell you, however, that the prevailing philosophy is when in doubt, it’s a false start and the play should be shut down. It’s unfortunate that the crew in your play didn’t make that decision in a timely manner.

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Looks like illegal motion to me.  There was no simulating the snap involved in that, just looks like moving forward at the snap.

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I've got illegal motion. He does not appear to be simulating a snap and could possibly be in the process of resetting, save for the ball being snapped. 

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4 hours ago, TCfootball70 said:

I was able to get it on youtube... here is the clip: https://youtu.be/czlsuXcb_bM

I would consider that a foul for illegal motion. The man in motion turned upfield about 2 steps before the ball was snapped. If he were in a set position, and started toward the line of scrimmage early, beating the snap count, it would clearly be a false start. And you can make an argument for it here, as well. I'd really like to hear from some of the college officials on here and whether they've been given specific guidance about this situation. At the NF level, we have not. I can see the counter-argument, since turning upfield could be construed as simulating the start of the play.

I also put this play out on the NFHS Officials Facebook site and solicited opinions. Right now it's running about 20-1 in favor of illegal motion over false start.

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That should be illegal motion.  It should not have been a dead ball, so they should not have had the chance to run another play.  

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16 minutes ago, bobref said:

There are 3 things that constitute a false start:

  1. If a restricted (interior) lineman places a hand on or near the ground and then lifts it.
  2. Any act clearly designed to cause the defense to encroach (like the fast shift while in punt formation on 4th and 4).
  3. Any act that simulates the start of a play.

In the play you described, it’s #3 that comes into play, and it’s a judgment call. When the receiver turned up before the ball was snapped, did he simulate the start of a play? Don’t know without the video. I can tell you, however, that the prevailing philosophy is when in doubt, it’s a false start and the play should be shut down. It’s unfortunate that the crew in your play didn’t make that decision in a timely manner.

I was able to get it on youtube... here is the clip: https://youtu.be/czlsuXcb_bM

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Thanks all! Fortunately, this call didn't change the outcome of the game, but it certainly could have. Definitely cause me more stress than needed! 

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