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RUNANDGUN

5 man on the line rule

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so in effect a offense only has to have 5 players on the line rather than 7?

does this mean the players at the "end" of the formation do not have to be on the line so now 6 players can be off but no more than 4 in the backfield box?

and if that is the case then there are potentially more players that can go in motion

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It does say, "no more than 4 backs", so I believe if a team does not have enough players on the field but have at least 5 on the line and no more than 4 backs, it is still a legal formation.

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In theory, yes an offense could run a legal play with 5 players (1 on line...snapper, 4 in backfield).

Players are either on the line or off (in backfield).  There can be a maximum of 4 players in the backfield.

No change to motion rule or illegal shift rules. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, fbofficial said:

In theory, yes an offense could run a legal play with 5 players (1 on line...snapper, 4 in backfield).

Players are either on the line or off (in backfield).  There can be a maximum of 4 players in the backfield.

No change to motion rule or illegal shift rules. 

 

 

Incorrect. They still need 5 linemen numbered 50-79 (which is what the rule change is essentially referencing). The snapper needs to legally snap it to a back so you need at least 1 of them. The smallest number you could legally snap with is 6. In your example the team would be guilty of illegal numbering because they don't have 5 players numbered 50-79 on the line of scrimmage.

One confusion I've now heard a couple times is the backfield by coach's terminology and rules aren't the same. Any back is in the backfield whether he's behind the guard or next to the sideline. The previous rule said you had to have at least 7 on the line. That also meant no more than 4 in the backfield. Most officials just counted the backfield once they knew they had 11 players. If there were 4 they knew they had 7 linemen. The issue is if a team only has 10 players on the field and 6 of them were on the line they were guilty of an illegal formation because they were short a lineman. This rule change means that is no longer a foul. The offense is already at a disadvantage, why penalize them more? This is really more of a language change than anything to get to the same place.

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So this is still illegal?...hope it formats right when I post (sorry for the depth of the wideouts)

 

                     OOOOO

O                    O Q O                   O

                           O

Because this is 6 backs?  What is the book definition of a back?

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Yes that is still an illegal formation. The rule clarification was in the case where the offense lines up with 10 men on the field. This will keep them from also getting a penalty for an illegal formation if say a wideout forgot to go out on the field. 

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9 minutes ago, mbennett40 said:

 

So this is still illegal?...hope it formats right when I post (sorry for the depth of the wideouts)

 

                     OOOOO

O                    O Q O                   O

                           O

Because this is 6 backs?  What is the book definition of a back?

“A back is any A player who has no part of his body breaking the plane of an imaginary line drawn ­parallel to the line of scrimmage through the waist of the nearest teammate who is legally on the line, except for the player under the snapper, who is also considered a back.”

 

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17 hours ago, JustRules said:

Incorrect. They still need 5 linemen numbered 50-79 (which is what the rule change is essentially referencing). The snapper needs to legally snap it to a back so you need at least 1 of them. The smallest number you could legally snap with is 6. In your example the team would be guilty of illegal numbering because they don't have 5 players numbered 50-79 on the line of scrimmage.

One confusion I've now heard a couple times is the backfield by coach's terminology and rules aren't the same. Any back is in the backfield whether he's behind the guard or next to the sideline. The previous rule said you had to have at least 7 on the line. That also meant no more than 4 in the backfield. Most officials just counted the backfield once they knew they had 11 players. If there were 4 they knew they had 7 linemen. The issue is if a team only has 10 players on the field and 6 of them were on the line they were guilty of an illegal formation because they were short a lineman. This rule change means that is no longer a foul. The offense is already at a disadvantage, why penalize them more? This is really more of a language change than anything to get to the same place.

Good point about the 5 lineman numbered 50-79.  

This change will make it easier for the wings to determine an illegal formation in that they are looking for more than 4 backs instead of 7 on the line.  

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57 minutes ago, fbofficial said:

Good point about the 5 lineman numbered 50-79.  

This change will make it easier for the wings to determine an illegal formation in that they are looking for more than 4 backs instead of 7 on the line.  

That's how I was taught nearly 20 years ago anyway and how most officials I know did it. This rule change aligns with how it was usually viewed anyway. I don't ever remember having a flag for only 6 linemen when a a team had 10 players. I'm sure it's happened though and was correctly called if it did.

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On 3/6/2019 at 8:46 AM, Bobref said:

“A back is any A player who has no part of his body breaking the plane of an imaginary line drawn ­parallel to the line of scrimmage through the waist of the nearest teammate who is legally on the line, except for the player under the snapper, who is also considered a back.”

 

 

2017 this was a "legal" 2 pt attempt formation at the "Snake Pit" for the home team. 😂

Also comes with 17 penalties on the visiting team. 😂

Screenshot_2017-10-14-20-10-34.png

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8 minutes ago, 1984 said:

 

2017 this was a "legal" 2 pt attempt formation at the "Snake Pit" for the home team. 😂

Also comes with 17 penalties on the visiting team. 😂

Screenshot_2017-10-14-20-10-34.png

That's not close to only being a warning, especially when the slot guy is telling you he's a back (arm punched backward). The wing on top was asleep on that one. The only possible "out" is he may not have seen all 4 guys back with the QB from his angle. Because of how they are stacked one of those players could be blocked from his view. It's still an incorrect no call though unless the slot guy got on the line before the snap.

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6 hours ago, JustRules said:

That's not close to only being a warning, especially when the slot guy is telling you he's a back (arm punched backward). The wing on top was asleep on that one. The only possible "out" is he may not have seen all 4 guys back with the QB from his angle. Because of how they are stacked one of those players could be blocked from his view. It's still an incorrect no call though unless the slot guy got on the line before the snap.

I tell my wings on EVERY play know how many guys you have on your side of the ball. When in doubt throw the flag, they're easy to pick up, if after the play we discover they're unbalanced. That being said, it does get missed. 

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1 hour ago, Impartial_Observer said:

I tell my wings on EVERY play know how many guys you have on your side of the ball. When in doubt throw the flag, they're easy to pick up, if after the play we discover they're unbalanced. That being said, it does get missed. 

You are old school my friend. When I started 20 years ago I was told that was the old school way of doing it. I was taught to just count the backs. As long as there weren't more than 4 and we knew we had 11 there had to be 7 on the line. I knew the 3 on your side of the ball was the original mechanic, but you then had to give 3rd base coach signals to the opposite wing to agree on balanced or unbalanced. This is a much better rule and it matches what most crews have been doing tor years anyway.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, JustRules said:

You are old school my friend. When I started 20 years ago I was told that was the old school way of doing it. I was taught to just count the backs. As long as there weren't more than 4 and we knew we had 11 there had to be 7 on the line. I knew the 3 on your side of the ball was the original mechanic, but you then had to give 3rd base coach signals to the opposite wing to agree on balanced or unbalanced. This is a much better rule and it matches what most crews have been doing tor years anyway.

Just as you mentioned above, QB could be missed due to alignment. Pretty easy to count to three. The guys I learned from were so old they were school. We don’t mess with signals. If there’s time, wing will say on the radio, I’m heavy or I’m light.

That being said, 9 times out of 10, they report it to me, I got 5 in the backfield. 

Edited by Impartial_Observer

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