How Well Do You Know the Rules? - V
October 19, 2009: Bucs kick returner Clifton Smith attempts to make a fair catch at the 20y line of a Panthers punt. Well before the ball reaches Smith, Panthers S Dante Wesley smashes into Smith full-speed. The ball rolls out of bounds at the 18 while Smith lies flat at the 20, apparently unconscious.

Which choice is the correct ruling or combination of rulings?

  1. Fair catch interference on Wesley - 15y
  2. Personal foul on Wesley - 15y
  3. Ejection for Wesley with suspension for one game
  4. A and B
  5. A, B, and C
  6. A and C

Which of the following statements are true about the NCAA's football Targeting rule as of 2020?

  1. A player disqualified for Targeting is ineligible for further participation in the game.
  2. The player disqualified for Targeting may remain in the team area during the remainder of the game.
  3. If the targeting foul is committed in the second half, the disqualified player may not participate in the first half of his team's next scheduled game but may participate in pre-game warm-up activities and stay in the team area during the first half.

NFL game: Fourth-and-10 on the defensive team's 25. The offensive team tries a field goal from the 32, but it is partially blocked. The ball hits on the 22 then bounces back to the 27, untouched by anyone beyond the line of scrimmage. A member of the kicking team picks up the ball and runs with it to the 14, where he is tackled.

2012 Official Casebook of the National Football League
On Team A's try for an extra point in an NCAA game, a player from the defensive team, Team B, intercepts a pass and returns the length of the field to the end zone. On the return, a player from Team B launches and drives his forearm into the neck of a player from Team A from the blindside. The Team B player is charged with a targeting foul and disqualified from the game.


    College Football Officiating, LLC 2013 Play Interpretations Bulletin No. 2
Evaluate these four NFL plays for a potential fair-catch signal.
  1. On a punt during a 2009 game, Titans punt returner Cortland Finnegan signaled for a fair catch as soon as the ball was kicked by Steelers punter Daniel Sepulveda.


  2. A punt returner is attempting to catch a punt without calling for a fair catch. To block the sun, he puts his hand up in front of his face.


  3. A punt is kicked high, and a gust of wind blows the ball back behind the line of scrimmage, where a player on the receiving team signals for a fair catch.


  4. During the NFC Championship game against the 49ers on January 22, 2012, Giants punt returner Will Blackmon put his hand over his shoulder pads but not over his helmet, and he did not wave his hand side to side.


  5. So You Think You Know Football? The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules, Ben Austrob (2015)
The following situation takes place in an NCAA game.

The offensive team lines up to punt. Seven players are on the line of scrimmage and are numbered (left to right): 80, 74, 63, 50, 67, 79, 83. After the snapper has touched the ball, #22 moves from the backfield to take a position on the line to the right of #83 while #80 moves into the backfield. All are set for one second before the snap. When the ball is snapped and punted, the line judge throws his flag. Why?


What is the correct ruling in each of these NFL situations?
  1. During a 2011 NFC Wild Card game against the New York Giants, the Atlanta Falcons had 12 players in their offensive huddle. Before the penalty flag was thrown, the Falcons called a timeout.



  2. In a 2013 NFC Divisional Playoff game against the Carolina Panthers, the San Francisco 49ers had 12 men in the huddle when an incoming player reported as an eligible receiver. The player reported to the referee after a penalty enforcement but before the ready-for-play signal. On the ready-for-play, one player exited the huddle immediately and ran to the sideline.

Source: So You Think You Know Football? The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules by Ben Austro (2015)

Situation: In an NCAA game, the score is tied. Team A snaps the ball at the their 35. The QB drops straight back to pass and, under a heavy rush, throws an incomplete forward pass into an area where there are no Team A eligible receivers. Time in the fourth quarter expires during the play. This happens on (a) third down; (b) fourth down.

Situation: In an NCAA game, the offensive team punts on fourth and 10 at its own 30. While the kick is in the air, a player from the receiving team blocks below the waist at his 42, and an official throws his flag. The deep receiver catches the kick at his 35 and is tackled at the 45. What happens with regard to the penalty?

Punt Partially Blocked
Situation: In an NFL game, the offensive team faces 4th-and-10 on its 25. The punt is partially blocked, hits on the 28 and then bounces back to the 22, untouched by anyone beyond the line. A member of the punting team recovers the ball at the 22. What happens in each of these cases?
  1. He is downed there.
  2. He runs with the ball to the 33.
  3. He runs with the ball to the 36.
  4. He throws a pass from the 22 which is complete at the 50.
Intentional Grounding in Last Minute of Play

Situation: An NCAA team has 2nd-and-5 at their own 40. The offensive team trails with less than a minute remaining in the game. The QB drops back to pass and, unable to find an open receiver and under a heavy rush, throws the ball forward into the ground behind the line of scrimmage. The referee throws a flag for intentional grounding. What happens now?

Ball Fumbled Forward
Situation: In an NCAA game, Team A punts from its 45 to Team B. During the punt, a player on Team B is flagged for holding at his 48. The receiver catches the kick at the 26 and returns it all the way to Team A's 3 where he fumbles. The ball strikes the goal-line pylon.

Shanked Punt Advanced

Situation: In an NCAA game, team A faces 4th-and-12 at its 40. The punter shanks the ball to his right, and a teammate catches the ball behind the neutral zone and carries the ball to Team B's 45 where he is tackled.

QB Grounds Ball Beyond Line of Scrimmage

Situation: In an NCAA game, the offensive team trails 20-18 late in Q4 and has no timeouts left. On 3rd-and-7 at the opponent's 40, the QB drops back to pass, cannot find an open receiver, and scrambles to the 25. Unable to get out of bounds, he throws the ball forward to the ground to stop the clock, which reads 0:38 when the play ends.

Holding with Intentional Grounding

Dallas vs Cleveland 11/18/2012:

Dallas QB Tony Romo goes back to pass. Under a heavy rush, he throws the ball at the feet of two offensive linemen 5y in front of him while being hit. The referee throws a flag for intentional grounding. However, defensive holding is also called on TE Jason Whitten, Romo's intended receiver.

Muffed Kickoff in OT

An NFL game goes into OT. Team A receives the kickoff and moves downfield far enough to kick a FG.

Team A's kickoff is muffed by a player on the receiving team, and a player from Team A recovers it.

What happens now?

Multiple Penalties on Punt

In an NCAA game, the offense, Team A, faces 4th-and-10 at its 40 late in Q2. Team A has five players in the backfield at the snap as it punts. A member of Team B catches the kick at his 30 and is tackled at his 45. During the return, a member of Team B clips at his 40. Time in the first half expires during the down.

Opening Coin Toss

Which of these statements are true about the opening coin toss in the National Football League?

  1. Only the referee need be present for the toss.
  2. The referee must confirm the choice of the visiting captain (heads or tails) before flipping the coin.
  3. If the coin lands on its edge (as on a muddy or snow-covered field), the referee must reflip it.
  4. If the coin lands on a player's school, the flip counts.

Lateral Batted over End Line

In an NFL game, the offensive team faces 3rd-and-5 at its 7. The QB attempts a backward pass to a HB. A defender bats the pass in flight over the end line.

Punter Smashed after Kicking Ball

In an NCAA game, the offensive team faces 4th and 10 at their own 10. The punter lines up deep and takes the snap. He carries the ball outside the tackle box and kicks it, rugby-style on the run. After the ball is away and as the punter is regaining his balance, a defensive player launches and drives the crown of his helmet up under the punter's facemask.

Kicking Shoes

Which is true about the kicker in NFL football?

  1. Every player in the field of play, including the kicker, must wear shoes on both feet every play.
  2. A kicker may have no shoe on his kicking foot but must wear a shoe on the other foot.
  3. A kicker may have no shoe on either foot.

Ten Second Runoff

In the NFL, which of the following situations with the clock running under one minute in the half would result in a 10-second runoff?

  1. False start
  2. Fifth charged timeout for injury for the defense if the defense is trailing on the scoreboard
  3. Intentional forward fumble out of bounds
  4. Intentional grounding
  5. Pass interference on either team

Bats Punt Back into Field

In an NFL game, a team faces 4th-and-10 on the 50. The punt is bounc­ing toward the pylon. A member of the kicking team steps on the side­lines at the 1 and then dives for the ball, which is still airborne 1y in the EZ and bats the ball back to the 2. Another member of the kicking team recovers and falls to the ground in 3.

Muffed Fair Catch

Team A punts, and a member of Team B signals for a fair catch. He muffs the kick at Team B's 25 and completes the catch at the 30. During the kicking, a Team B player blocks in the back against an opponent at Team B's 45.

Where will the ball be placed for the start of Team B's possession?