Philadelphia Eagles News

Football 101: Block Below The Waist


*In this feature, Football 101, NFL officials help explain and clarify some of the rules that impact the game. This week, back judge Tony Michalek explains what and what does not consitute a block below the waist:

Summary from the Official NFL Rule Book - Rule 3, Section 4

This year, the NFL Rule Book changed its rule on blocks below the knee to prohibit a blocker from rolling up on the side of the legs of a defender. According to the rule book, a block below the waist occurs when ...

"The initial contact with any part of the blocker's body is below the waist of an opponent, other than the runner, who has one or both feet on the ground."

A blocker has not blocked below the waist when ...

"A blocker who makes contact above the waist and then slides below the waist has not blocked below the waist. If an opponent uses his hands to ward off a block, and the blocker contacts the opponent below the waist, it is not a block below the waist unless the blocker is obviously intending to deliver a low block."

The Official Point of View

"One of the things the rules had written is that the roll-up blocks, or blocks that are below the waist, if a player didn't go down, the offensive lineman would roll and try to continue," Michalek explained. "So the rules state that if you roll up - it turns out that most of these injuries are from the side, so this year they added the verbage in there that it's also from the side.

"If you think about it, as they're going down the line the majority of those roll-up blocks are happening from the side. So they added that verbage. And right away offensive line coaches feel like they're taking the cut block out of the game, they're not. What happens is there's a second act to it. Players say, "Am I just supposed to stop? Am I supposed to stop my 300-pound body from rolling?" And I said, if you roll up on them, it's a foul."

*Last week, umpire Tony Steratore explained what is meant by illegal contact.

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