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BAFA Rules Committee

 

Blocking below the waist rules

From 2019, the blocking below the waist rule has been changed. (Changes are in blue.)

Restrictions on Team A (the offense)

  • Linemen completely inside the free-blocking zone (the tackle box extended 3 yards onto the defensive side of the line of scrimmage) at the snap may block below the waist in any direction provided they and the ball are still inside the zone.
  • Other players (and all players once they or the ball have left the zone) may only block below the waist if the force of the contact is from the front. The rule talks about a clock face region between "10 o'clock" and "2 o'clock" forward of the player being blocked.
  • Once the ball has left the zone, nobody can block below the waist back towards the end line (a "peel back" block).
  • A "crackback" block (i.e. infield towards the position of the snap) below the waist is still prohibited. This rule now covers backs within the tackle box as well as players outside it.
  • No offensive player can block below the waist more than five yards beyond the neutral zone.

Restrictions on Team B (the defense)

  • Defensive players can only block below the waist within an area within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage.
  • As before, defensive players are prohibited from blocking below the waist any eligible receiver beyond the line of scrimmage, or an opponent in position to receive a backward pass.

Restrictions on both teams

  • As before, blocking below the waist is prohibited by both teams after there has been a change of possession.
  • As before, blocking below the waist is prohibited by both teams on a kicking play.
  • The one exception to both of the above is that a block below the waist can be used to tackle the ball carrier.
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