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Get a snapshot of the current NFL game stats, updated weekly during the regular season. This edition of the Official Playing Rules of the National Football League contains all current rules governing the playing of professional football that are in effect for the NFL season.
Member clubs of the League may amend the rules from time to time, pursuant to the applicable voting procedures of the NFL Constitution and Bylaws. Any intra-League dispute or call for interpretation in connection with these rules will be decided by the Commissioner of the League, whose ruling will be final. Because inter-conference games are played throughout the preseason, regular season, and postseason in the NFL, all rules contained in this book apply uniformly to both the American and National Football Conferences.
It is not meant to connote illegality under any public law or the rules or regulations of any other organization. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.
Field 2. Ball 3. Definitions 4. Game Timing 5. Players, Substitutes, Equipment, General Rules 6. Free Kicks 7. Ball in Play, Dead Ball, Scrimmage 8. Forward Pass, Backward Pass, Fumble 9.
Scrimmage Kick Opportunity to Catch a Kick, Fair Catch Scoring Player Conduct Non-Player Conduct Penalty Enforcement Instant Replay Overtime Procedures Emergencies, Unfair Acts Guidelines for Captains The game shall be played upon a rectangular field, feet in length and feet in width.
The lines at each end of the field are termed End Lines. Those on each side are termed Sidelines.
Goal Lines shall be established in the field 10 yards from and parallel to each end line. The area bounded by goal lines and sidelines is known as the Field of Play.
The surface of the entire Field of Play must be a League-approved shade of green. The areas bounded by goal lines, end lines, and sidelines are known as the End Zones. The areas bounded by goal lines and lines parallel to, and 70 feet 9 inches inbounds, from each sideline, are known as the Side Zones.
The lines parallel to sidelines are termed Inbound Lines. The end lines and the sidelines are also termed Boundary Lines.
2019 NFL Rulebook
The Field will be rimmed by a solid white border a minimum of 6 feet wide along the end lines and sidelines. An additional broken limit line 6 feet further outside this border is to encompass the Field in the non-bench areas, and such broken line will be continued at an angle from each yard line and pass behind the bench areas all benches a minimum 30 feet back from the sidelines.
In addition, within each bench area, a yellow line 6 feet behind the solid white border will delineate a special area for coaches, behind which all players, except one player charting the game, must remain.
However, the appropriate yellow line described above must be clearly marked within the bench areas. In special circumstances for example, an artificial surface in a multi-purpose stadium and subject to prior approval from the League Office, a club may omit the 6-foot solid white border during the preseason or later period while football overlaps with another sport, and substitute a single 4-inch white line at what normally would be the outer limit of the solid border 6 feet from the sidelines.
At intervals of 5 yards, yard lines parallel to the goal lines shall be marked in the field of play. These lines are to stop 8 inches short of the 6-foot solid border. The 4-inch wide yard lines are to be extended 4 inches beyond the white 6-foot border along the sidelines. Each of these lines shall be intersected at right angles by short lines 70 feet, 9 inches long 23 yards, 1 foot, 9 inches in from each side to indicate inbound lines.
In line with the Inbound Lines there shall be marks at 1-yard intervals between each distance of 5 yards for the full length of the field. These lines are to begin 8 inches from the 6-foot solid border and are to measure 2 feet in length.
Bottoms of numbers indicating yard lines in multiples of 10 must be placed beginning 12 yards in from each sideline. These are to be 2 yards in length. Two yards from the middle of each goal line and parallel to it, there shall be marked in the Field of Play, lines 1 yard in length. All boundary lines, goal lines, and marked lines are to be continuous lines. These, and any other specified markings, must be in white, and there shall be no exceptions without the authorization of the Commissioner.
Field numerals must also be white. Care must be exercised in any end-zone marking or decoration or club identification at the yard line that said marking or decorations do not in any way cause confusion as to delineation of goal lines, sidelines, and end lines.
Such markings or decorations must be approved by the Commissioner. The four intersections of goal lines and sidelines must be marked, at inside corners, by weighted pylons. In addition, two such pylons shall be placed on each end line four in all.
All measurements are to be made from the inside edges of the line marking the boundary lines. Each goal line marking is to be in its end zone so that the edge of the line toward the field of play actual goal line is 30 feet from the inside edge of the end line. Each goal line is to be eight inches wide. All lines are to be marked with a material that is not injurious to eyes or skin. It is desirable that the yard line markers be flexible in order to prevent injury.
No benches or rigid fixtures should be nearer than 10 yards from sidelines. In League parks where ground rules are necessary, because of fixed conditions that cannot be changed, they will be made by the Commissioner.
In the plane of each end line, there shall be a centrally placed horizontal crossbar 18 feet, 6 inches in length, the top face of which is 10 feet above the ground. The goal is the vertical plane extending indefinitely above the crossbar and between the lines indicated by the outer edges of the goal posts.
Above and below rule book vs rule book
All goal posts will be the single-standard type, offset from the end line and bright gold in color. The uprights will extend 35 feet above the crossbar and will be no less than 3 inches and no more than 4 inches in diameter.
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An orange-colored ribbon 4 inches by 42 inches is to be attached to the top of each post. Note: Goal posts must be padded in a manner prescribed by the League. In such a case, the end of each bench shall start at the yard line and continue towards the adjacent goal line. Note: When both benches are so located, the chain crew and linespersons are to operate during the entire game on the opposite side to the benches.
White shirts are to be worn by members of the chain crew. The home club must provide and use the standard set of sideline markers that have been approved by the Commissioner.
The Referee shall be the sole judge as to whether all balls offered for play comply with these specifications. A pump is to be furnished by the home club, and the balls shall remain under the supervision of the Referee until they are delivered to the ball attendant just prior to the start of the game.
Each team will make 12 primary and 12 backup balls available for testing by the Referee no later than two hours and 30 minutes prior to the starting time of the game to meet League requirements.
These balls are to be specially marked by the Referee and used exclusively for the kicking game. In the event a home team ball does not conform to specifications, or its supply is exhausted, the Referee shall secure a proper ball from the visitors and, failing that, use the best available ball.
Any such circumstances must be reported to the Commissioner. The Game Clock shall not stop for such action unless undue delay occurs. Note: It is the responsibility of the home team to furnish playable balls at all times by attendants from either side of the playing field.
An Approved Ruling A.