NFL Video Rulebook

The NFL Video Rulebook explains NFL rules with video examples.

Illegal Formation

Rule Summary View Official Rule

RULE 7 SECTION 5 ARTICLE 1. OFFENSIVE TEAM

The offensive team must be in compliance with the following at the snap:

  1. (a)  It must have seven or more players on the line (3-19)
  2. Eligible receivers must be on both ends of the line, and all of the players on the line between them must be ineligible receivers
  3. No player may be out of bounds

Penalty: For illegal formation by the offense: Loss of five yards.

RULE 9 SECTION 1 ARTICLE 3. DEFENSIVE TEAM FORMATION

Item 1. Punt Formation. When Team A presents a punt formation:

    1)  A Team B player, who is within one yard of the line of scrimmage, must have his entire body outside the snapper’s shoulder pads at the snap.

Item 2. Field Goal or Try Kick Formation. When Team A presents a field goal or Try Kick formation:

    1)  A Team B player, who is within one yard of the line of scrimmage, must have his entire body outside the snapper’s shoulder pads at the snap.
    2)  No more than six Team B players may be on the line of scrimmage on either side of the snapper at the snap.

Penalty: For illegal formation by the defense: Loss of five yards.

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