Obscure NFL Rules We Had No Idea Existed

Consecutive Timeouts Are Not Allowed

Be careful if you’re trying to ice the kicker. You can’t call two consecutive timeouts in the same dead ball period. Something has to happen on the field before you can call the nexttimeout. Ifyou don’t, a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty is called.

Don’t Snap The Ball Between the QB’s Legs

If the QB is under center, misses the ball as it’s snapped and it goes through his legs, the QB has to be the one to touch the ball. If any other player touches the ball before the QB, even the defense, it’s ruled a false start. It got called back in 2007 during a Bears and Eagles game.

Illegal Leverage

The concept behind this rule is simple enough: during field goal attempts or extra point conversions, a defensive player is not allowed to use one of his teammates for leverage to gain extra momentum or height to block a field goal. Violation of this rule results in a 15 yard penalty. Bill Belichickwas less than pleased when his Patriots were slapped with this rarely called penalty last season against the Jets, arguing that the Jets should have penalized for violating the penalty as well.

Fielding Out Of Bounds Kicks

During a kick off, if the ball stops and you’re near the boundary line, wait to pick up the ball. First step of bounds, then pick up the ball. If any part of the player is out of bounds when he touches the ball, the kick is ruled out of bounds and is moved to the 40-yard line.

A Palpably Unfair Act

One ofthe rarest called penalties in all of sports, a palpably unfair act is any illegal action that the officials deem has clearly and indisputably deprived a team of a score. That may sound vague, but it’s deliberately put in the rulebook that way. The penalty has never been called in the history of the NFL, but should a player on the bench ever decide to tackle a runner in order to prevent a score, the deprived team would be awarded with a touchdown.

The Fair Catch Kick

When a receiving team calls for a fair catch during a kickoff, they then have two choices: They can either begin an offensive drive, or they can attempt a field goal. With the Fair Catch Kick rule in place, the field goal attempt must be made from the spot of the fair catch. Also, the kicker cannot use a tee, but instead must employ a placed kick or drop kick. During the attempt, the defense is not allowed within ten yards from the spot of the kick. The Chargers were the last team to successfully turn a fair catch kick into three points thanks to Ray Wer-sching back in 1976.

Possession After a Touchdown

In the early days of the NFL, after each touchdown, the team captains would meet in the center of the field to decide who would kick off. That’s because the Possession After a Touchdown rule states that after a touchdown, the team that was scored on can choose if they want to receive the ball or kick off. The rule still stands to this day, even though it seems highly unlikely that a team would choose to kick off after their opponents just scored on them.

The Drop Kick

In the early days of the NFL, the Drop Kick rule was established to prevent players from bouncing the ball off the ground and then kicking it when punting or attempting a field goal. Essentially inherited from rugby, the rule made infinitely more sense back when the ball itselfwas rounder and a player could more easily predict where it would go when bounced. Though antiquated, the rule is still in the books today. If you want to see it in action, check out Doug Flutie’s drop kick field goal against the Miami Dolphins, which also happened to be the last play of his professional career. No one has done it successfully since.

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