Neutral zone (American football)


Neutral zone (American football)

In American football, the neutral zone can be described as the length of the football from one tip to the other when it is spotted (i.e. placed on a certain spot) on the field during a scrimmage down and the area between the two free kick lines during a free kick down. For a scrimmage down, no member of either team, other than the snapper, may be in the neutral zone when the ball is snapped or a foul will be called. On a free kick down no member of either team except the holder and kicker may be in the neutral zone before the ball is kicked, nor can any onside kick be recovered by the kicking team until it has completely passed through the neutral zone.

Knowing whether the ball has passed beyond the neutral zone or remained in or behind the neutral zone is important during forward pass plays and during scrimmage kicks.

  • "Behind the neutral zone" refers to the "offensive" side of the neutral zone.
  • "In the neutral zone" refers to the actual neutral zone.
  • "Beyond the neutral zone" refers to the "defensive" side of the neutral zone.

An additional definition of the neutral zone came into effect after a September 12, 2005, fight between the Philadelphia Eagles' Jeremiah Trotter and the Atlanta Falcons' Kevin Mathis that occurred prior to the opening kickoff. The NFL then instituted a rule that each end of the field from the end zone to the 45-yard line is reserved for one team, and that no player other than a kicker may be between the 45-yard lines prior to the game.



Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Neutral zone — may refer to: In sports: Neutral zone (American football), the length of the football from one tip to the other in American football Neutral zone (ice hockey), zone between the blue lines in ice hockey A non competitive segment of a few miles at… …   Wikipedia

  • American football — For other uses, see American football (disambiguation). American football The U.S. Naval Academy Midshipmen (left) face off against the …   Wikipedia

  • American football strategy — concerns the deployment of offensive, defensive, and special teams players in American football. Contents 1 Offensive strategy 1.1 Offensive players …   Wikipedia

  • American football rules — The Tennessee Titans and the Houston Texans in formation before a play Game play in American football consists of a series of downs, individual plays of short duration, outside of which the ball is dead or not in play. These can be plays from… …   Wikipedia

  • American football positions — A diagram showing an I Formation on offense and a 4 3 Formation on defense In American football, each team has eleven players on the field at one time. Because the rules allow unlimited substitution between plays, the types of players on the… …   Wikipedia

  • neutral zone — noun 1. : the position on the armature of a direct current machine where the magnetic flux from the field poles is zero, being midway between the poles at no load 2. a. : a space between the two lines of scrimmage in American football equivalent… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Glossary of American football — The following terms are used in American football and Canadian football, but see also the glossary of Canadian football. Contents: 0–9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V …   Wikipedia

  • Penalty (American football) — A penalty flag on the field during a game on November 16, 2008 between the San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams. In American football and Canadian football, a penalty is a sanction called against a team for a violation of the rules, called a… …   Wikipedia

  • Formation (American football) — A formation in American football refers to the position players line up in before the start of a down. There are both offensive and defensive formations and there are many formations in both categories. Contents 1 Offense 1.1 Offensive positions… …   Wikipedia

  • Tackle (American football) — Not to be confused with Tackle (football move). The positioning of the offensive tackles in a formation …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.