NFL Video Rulebook Chop Block

Rule 12 Section 2 Article 5

Rule Summary View Official Rule


A Chop Block is a block by the offense in which one offensive player (designated as A1 for purposes of this rule) blocks a defensive player in the area of the thigh or lower while another offensive player (A2) engages that same defensive player above the waist.

All Chop Blocks are illegal, including in the following situations:

Forward pass plays and kicking plays:

  1. A1 chops a defensive player while the defensive player is physically engaged above the waist by the blocking attempt of A2.
  2. A2 physically engages a defensive player above the waist with a blocking attempt, and A1 chops the defensive player after the contact by A2 has been broken and while A2 is still confronting the defensive player.
  3. A1 chops a defensive player while A2 confronts the defensive player in a pass-blocking posture but is not physically engaged with the defensive player (a “lure”).
  4. A1 blocks a defensive player in the area of the thigh or lower, and A2, simultaneously or immediately after the block by A1, engages the defensive player high (“reverse chop”).

Running Plays:

  1. A1 is lined up in the backfield at the snap and subsequently chops a defensive player engaged above the waist by A2.
  2. A1, an offensive lineman, chops a defensive player after the defensive player has been engaged by A2 (high or low).

Note: It is not a foul if the blocker’s opponent initiates the contact above the waist, or if the blocker is trying to slip or escape from his opponent and any engagement with him is incidental.

Penalty: For an Illegal Chop Block: Loss of 15 yards.