- 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.
Gridiron football concepts Codes Levels of play Field Equipment PositionsOffense: Quarterback • Running backs (Halfback, Fullback, H-back) • Receivers (Wide receiver, Tight end, Slotback) • Linemen (Center, Guard, Tackle)
Defense: Linemen (Defensive tackle, Defensive end, Nose tackle) • Linebacker • Defensive back (Cornerback, Safety, Nickelback, Dimeback, Halfback)
Special Teams: Placekicker • Punter • Kickoff specialist • Long snapper • Holder • Punt returner • Kickoff returner • Return specialist • Gunner
Other: Utility player • Triple-threat man • Skill position
Play typesOffense: Rush • Pass • Incomplete pass • Lateral • Bootleg play • Draw play • End-around • Flea flicker • Flexbone formation • Fourth down conversion • Hail Mary pass • Halfback option play • Hook and lateral • Kneel • Motion • Hurry-up offense • Option run • Option offense • Play-action pass • Quarterback keeper • Quarterback sneak • Quick kick • Reverse • Scramble • Screen pass • Spike • Statue of Liberty • Sweep • Trick play • Wildcat formation
Defense: Tackle • Blitz • Rush • Sack • Shooting the gap • Stunt • Zone blitz
Special Teams: Kickoff • Kickoff return • Punt • Punt return • Drop kick • Fair catch • Fair catch kick • Icing the kicker • Onside kick • Squib kick • Try
Scoring PenaltiesBlocking below the waist • Block in the back • Chop block • Clipping • Delay of game • Encroachment • Equipment violations • Face mask • False start • Horse-collar tackle • Illegal contact • Illegal formation • Illegal forward kick • Illegal forward pass • Illegal hands to the face • Illegal motion • Illegal participation • Illegal shift • Illegal substitution • Illegal touching • Illegal touching of a free kick • Illegal use of hands • Ineligible receiver downfield • Intentional grounding • Holding • Leaping • Neutral Zone Infraction • Offside • Palpably unfair act • Pass interference • Personal Foul • Roughing the kicker • Roughing the passer • Roughing the snapper • Sideline infraction • Spearing • Time count • Tripping • Unsportsmanlike conduct Turnovers Downs Play clock Statistics Celebrations Miscellaneous
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