Week In Review
Rules Question of the Week?
This weeks question deals with players jumping, spinning, diving or leaving their feet & feet placement. It is important to know the rules as many coaches come from other leagues and don't understand all the rules or assume rules are different. It is our job to read the rules week to week so that we know, without a doubt, what is the proper interpretation of the rules. All players are legally allowed to jump, spin, dive or leave their feet, however we must address some issues and penalties that arise out of that situation. When a player leaves their feet for any reason you need to know that rules state that the ball is placed where their feet are in-bounds and that they are only required to have 1 foot in-bounds to be considered in the field of play. This means catches where a player jumps to catch the ball and comes down with 1 foot in-bounds it is a legal catch and the ball is placed where the in-bound foot came down. A Knee touching the ground counts towards placement of the ball and is considered part of the feet in-bounds as well. This is especially important as it pertains to scoring plays. Case in point: I had a player this week in my game running towards the end zone and right before he entered the end zone he jumped to avoid a player over the pile-on landing with both feet out of bounds. Unfortunately it is not a touchdown due to the rules as neither of his feet were in the end zone after he jumped into the air, although he crossed the plane of the goal. Remember regardless if the ball crosses the end zone plane or not the player must establish at least 1 foot or knee in-bounds to be considered a touchdown. The ball is considered to be placed where the feet are located not where the ball is located, please remember this when spotting the ball, it is not where the defender grabs his flag that is the spot it is where the players feet are as many times the defender is grabbing the flag as the player is in front of them. We need to get better at placing the ball where the feet are as the spot where the play ends. Last we need to know when a player leaves their feet if they are the initiator of contact with another player while in the air it is a penalty is on the player who left their feet. Remember leaving the feet is allowed but can be very dangerous for either of the players, as I have penalize a player who left their feet and kneed another kid in the face as he was attempting to pull his flag. Know that a player in the air has no control over his body direction and it was their decision to leave their feet, so if they initiate the contact they will receive the penalty for illegal contact. Also it is very easy for a player to go to the ground hard as a result of a flag pull, while they are in flight as they have no stability since their feet aren't in contact with the ground. Let's do our best and try to keep the kids safe out there.
Organizing member of iCanReferee & Head Offiicial of Friday Night Lights flag football league. Over 12 years experience with youth flag & tackle football. Major responsibilities are education, on-field training, game assignments, rules interpretation & expanding the organization.