NFL Video Rulebook Illegal Block Above the Waist

Rule 12 Section 1 Article 3

Rule Summary View Official Rule


Blocks an opponent (from behind) in the back above the opponent’s waist, or uses his hands or arms to push an opponent from behind in a manner that affects his movement, except in close-line play.

Note: The prohibition applies to a player of the kicking team while the ball is in flight during a scrimmage kick.

The use of hands on the back is not a foul when:

  1. a player is making a personal attempt to recover a loose ball
  2. the opponent turns away from the blocker when contact is imminent
  3. both of the blocker’s hands are on the opponent’s side. (If either hand is on the back, it is a foul.)

Penalty: For an illegal block in the back above the waist by the offense: Loss of 10 yards.