NFL and NCAA Rules Regarding Snappers

In a recent post, I described the enhanced Rule 7, Section 2, Article 2 that takes effect this season in the NFL to better protect snappers on punts and placements.  The NCAA also has Rule 9-1-2-o that prohibits a defensive player from making contact with the snapper until one second has elapsed after the snap.  In addition to the NCAA Rule, there are also three Approved Rulings that relate to the protection of the snapper.

Below are the new NFL Rule, NCAA Rule and Approved Rulings.

I.          NFL Rule 7, Section 2, Article 2

Article 2  During a punt, field-goal attempt, or a Kick Try, a Team B player, who is within one yard of the line of scrimmage at the snap, must have his entire body outside the snapper’s shoulder pads.

Note: This restriction does not apply if a team does not present an apparent punt, field goal, or Kick Try formation, or if, after the offensive team has assumed a set position, there is a shift, or a player goes in motion.

II.                NCAA Rule 9-1-2-o

When a team is in scrimmage kick formation, a defensive player may not initiate contact with the snapper until one second has elapsed after the snap (A.R. 9-1-2-XVIII-XX).

III.             NCAA Approved Ruling 9-1-2-XVIII-XX

XVIII. A10 is in a shotgun- type formation 7-1/2 yards behind the snapper, who has his head down and is looking backward through his legs.  Immediately after the snap, nose guard B55 charges directly at the snapper and contacts him by pushing him backwards.  RULING: Legal.  The snapper is not afforded any special protection because it was not reasonably obvious that a kick might be attempted (Rule 2-15-10).  The snapper does have the usual protection against any personal foul for unnecessary roughness.

Team A is in an obvious scrimmage kick formation.  Immediately after the snap, nose guard B55 charges directly at the snapper, contacts him, and drives him backward.  The ball is snapped to an upback three yards behind the scrimmage line or to the potential kicker, who instead runs with or passes the ball.  RULING:  Foul.  Penalty – 15 yards and automatic first down.  The snapper may not be contacted until one second has elapsed after the snap when Team A is in a scrimmage kick formation and it is reasonably obvious that a kick might be attempted.

Immediately after the snap, with Team A in an obvious scrimmage kick formation, noseguard B71 attempts to “shoot the gap” between the snapper and the adjacent lineman.  B71’s initial legal contact is with the lineman next to the snapper.  RULING: Legal.  Incidental contact with the snapper after this initial legal contact is not a foul (Rule 2-15-10).

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