- Motion (American football)
Motion and shift
There is a distinction drawn between a shift and motion in football. A shift occurs when one or more players changes their position on the offensive side of the ball before the snap, causing a change in formation. For example, players may line up initially in an I-formation and then shift the two running backs into wide receiver positions to put the offense in a spread formation. A team may shift any number of players into new positions, so long as they all come to a complete stop for a full second before the ball is snapped to start the play.
Motion occurs when a player is moving at the time of the snap. While different leagues have different rules regarding motion, most mandate that no more than one player may be in motion at the time of the snap, and that only players who start in "back" positions (running backs, fullbacks, quarterbacks, flankers, H-backs, etc.) may be in motion at the snap. Additionally, the NFL (professional), NCAA (college), and NFHSAA (high school) require that they must be moving laterally or backwards, and are not allowed to move towards the line of scrimmage. The Canadian Football League and the Arena Football League allow for motion towards the line of scrimmage.
The National Football League defines all motion and shift penalties as "illegal motion", while the NCAA makes a distinction between an "illegal shift" and "illegal motion"; an illegal shift refers to players shifting and not coming to a complete stop before the snap while illegal motion refers to a player who is in motion towards the line of scrimmage, or a player who is not a "back" in motion. In both leagues, however, the penalty for illegal motion/illegal shift is five yards from the previous spot and replay the down.
Additionally, the offensive team may be charged with the penalty of a "false start" if a player on the offense jumps or moves abrutply, simulating the start of the play. This movement is not normally considered a subset of the "motion" or "shift" rules, as the player is not judged to be moving into a new pre-snap position; they are merely starting the play too soon. This is also a five yard penalty.
History and purpose
In the earliest days of American football, offenses were allowed to shift and assemble themselves as much as they wanted, much as defenses do. The famous Notre Dame Box relied heavily on these shifting motions. However, rule changes were eventually implemented that prevented offenses like the Notre Dame Box from ever occurring again. The motion rules seen today resulted from these rule changes. Currently, wholesale formation shifts can only occur before the offensive formation is set, and said formation must be in place for at least one second before a snap or motion can occur.
The purposes of motion are to allow the offense to change formations and, in leagues that allow forward motion, a chance to gain momentum on the defenders.
In all forms of football, only players in the backfield and not on the line of scrimmage may be in motion at the time of the snap. Prior to starting the motion, all players on the offensive side must be in a set formation for a minimum of one second.
In most versions of American football, only one player may be in motion at one time, and the player must not move toward the line of scrimmage in his motion (in other words, he can only move laterally or backward). In no situation may the moving player begin on the line of scrimmage when he moves (in other words, offensive linemen are prohibited from motion prior to the snap).
Exceptions are as follows:
- Pro Bowl: Motion is prohibited.
- XFL, WFL, Arena Football League and most other indoor football leagues: One player in motion is allowed; he can move toward the line of scrimmage only if he is outside the offensive tackles.
- AIFA: Two players in motion are allowed, both can move toward the line of scrimmage outside the tackles.
- Canadian football: All backfield players are allowed to move toward the line of scrimmage at the snap, regardless of their horizontal position.
In leagues that allow forward motion, the moving player(s) cannot cross the line of scrimmage, or else it is a false start.
- National Federation of State High School Associations Rule Book, 2001
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
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
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 — Profi Football aus der NFL American Football (englisch für Amerikanischer Fußball), oder kurz Football, ist eine aus den Vereinigten Staaten stammende Ballsportart. Es versuchen zwei Mannschaften aus je elf Spielern, den … Deutsch Wikipedia
American Football — Profi Football aus der NFL American Football (englisch für „Amerikanischer Fußball“), oder auch kurz Football, ist eine aus den Vereinigten Staaten stammende Ballsportart und die populärste Variante einer Reihe von als Gridiron Football bezeic … Deutsch 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 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
American football plays — A play in American football is a set of player and ball movements to either advance the ball (for offensive plays) or prevent the advancement of the ball (for defensive plays).Order of a playA play begins in one of two ways: *A play from… … Wikipedia
Strafe (American Football) — American Football hat eines der umfangreichsten Regelwerke aller Sportarten. Strafen werden durch die Schiedsrichter mit Hilfe von gelben Flaggen angezeigt, die auf den Ort des Fouls geworfen werden. Eine Strafe muss nicht unbedingt zur… … Deutsch 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
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