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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Tue Oct 08, 2002, 08:55am
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Question

2nd and 4. QB does a hard count. The fullback starts forward on the first count and stops, then he proceeds to go in motion to the right. I blew it dead and called a false start, since I felt the action of the fullback simulated action that could have drawn the defense offside, even though in this instance it did not. Did I kick this one? The offensive coach seemed to think so.
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Old Tue Oct 08, 2002, 09:51am
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From you description, no, you didn't kick it. If you thought it was action at the snap, then you can penalize this as a false start. A shift cannot simulate action at the snap.

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Old Tue Oct 08, 2002, 10:27am
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There was no snap though. I killed it before they had a chance to snap it.
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Old Tue Oct 08, 2002, 10:51am
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Sounds like the QB got his own running back with his hard count.

Good call!
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Old Tue Oct 08, 2002, 11:10am
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Quote:
Originally posted by Huskerblue
There was no snap though. I killed it before they had a chance to snap it.
I agree with Ed. My wording wasn't good. They SIMULATED action at the snap.
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Old Tue Oct 08, 2002, 11:44am
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I and another official got into a discussion during a junior high game regarding this topic and I want to find out if I was correct in my interpretation of the rules. I had a receiver split wide to my side and prior to the snap he started going forward, but didn't break the plane of the neutral zone. He was going towards the line of scrimmage at the snap and no member of the defense was drawn offside. I threw my flag and allowed the play to continue. The referee was adamant that I should have blown the play dead. Later in the same game, he had a running back start forward and he blew the play dead immediately. I told him that both fouls occured at the time of the snap and they should be penalized as live ball fouls. I looked at the rule book and case book and I found nothing that doesn't support my interpretation. However, I want some second opinions to insure that I haven't lost my mind.
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Old Tue Oct 08, 2002, 12:09pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by jstein61
I and another official got into a discussion during a junior high game regarding this topic and I want to find out if I was correct in my interpretation of the rules. I had a receiver split wide to my side and prior to the snap he started going forward, but didn't break the plane of the neutral zone. He was going towards the line of scrimmage at the snap and no member of the defense was drawn offside. I threw my flag and allowed the play to continue. The referee was adamant that I should have blown the play dead. Later in the same game, he had a running back start forward and he blew the play dead immediately. I told him that both fouls occured at the time of the snap and they should be penalized as live ball fouls. I looked at the rule book and case book and I found nothing that doesn't support my interpretation. However, I want some second opinions to insure that I haven't lost my mind.
This always comes up several times during the year.

In my opinion, this is a false start and I believe the rulebook, casebook, and handbook all back me up on this. Any action that simulates the snap is a dead-ball false start. Did the WR's action simulate action at the snap? If yes, then it is a dead-ball. Just because a back can legally go in motion does not give a back the right to simulate the snap through such motion. Also, just because a team may legally shift, any shift that simulates action at the snap is a false start. A lot of this is covered in the Nat Fed rulebook and handbook.

This may be a bad idea, but I look to what the NFL officials do when rules are common (like a false start). I've seen NFL officials penalize backs on a number of occasions for false starts and they kill the play. I've yet to see any of them flag this as a motion penalty.

Now, some assocations/assignors out there say, "A back cannot false start". If so, do what your association/assignor tells you.

Bottom line, I'm always going to treat this as a false start unless I am instructed by my assocation or assignor to do it differently.


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Old Tue Oct 08, 2002, 02:19pm
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In this situation you have two possible penalties, false start (dead ball) or illegal motion (foul at the snap). The difference bewteen the two is the judgement of the covering official. You have to decide whether the action is "simulating the snap" or the player starting his motion too late.

Huskerblue, in your situation, I would not have had a flag as I read your description of the play. I do not know how "abrupt" the fullbabck's first movement was. To me that is the determining action that will make me decide between FS or no flag. If you do not believe that his initial movemment was simulating a snap then the rest of what he did is legal.

These types of plays are HTBT.

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Old Tue Oct 08, 2002, 03:27pm
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The abrupt movement of the fullback almost caused him to go a$$ over elbows, but he placed his hand down to regain his balance and then went in motion.
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Old Tue Oct 08, 2002, 09:13pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by Huskerblue
The abrupt movement of the fullback almost caused him to go a$$ over elbows, but he placed his hand down to regain his balance and then went in motion.
Our association consistently calls this a false start.
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Old Tue Oct 08, 2002, 10:13pm
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Post False start.

Anybody read the book "Last Call" by Jerry Markbreit? He was a high school, Big Ten, and NFL referee for over 40 years.

In his book he talks about actual play situations where the quarterback draws the defense offsides with a hard head bob.

False start every time.
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Old Tue Oct 08, 2002, 10:25pm
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Post Consistency is the key.

As for movement by the backs prior to the snap, our association allows them the opportunity to reset before the snap. If they don't then we call either an illegal shift or illegal motion.

When I was just starting out at the umpire position I flagged the fullback for a false start and the referee jumped all over my hide.

Now that I've been an umpire for about 5 years I happily let the referee and the wings watch the backs.

We have a team over here that will shift into a punt formation when its 4th down and less than 5 yards to go. Their shift might be flagged for a false start by some other associations.

I understand that the rule regarding false starts can be tricky when applied to the offensive backs. The case book does not offer any plays regarding backs other than the quarterback. Is there any further guidance out there?
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Old Wed Oct 09, 2002, 06:47am
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Re: Consistency is the key.

Quote:
Originally posted by Mike Simonds
As for movement by the backs prior to the snap, our association allows them the opportunity to reset before the snap. If they don't then we call either an illegal shift or illegal motion.

When I was just starting out at the umpire position I flagged the fullback for a false start and the referee jumped all over my hide.

Now that I've been an umpire for about 5 years I happily let the referee and the wings watch the backs.

We have a team over here that will shift into a punt formation when its 4th down and less than 5 yards to go. Their shift might be flagged for a false start by some other associations.

I understand that the rule regarding false starts can be tricky when applied to the offensive backs. The case book does not offer any plays regarding backs other than the quarterback. Is there any further guidance out there?
Mike,

The handbook addresses shifts and "false starts" rather well. In my opinion, if I have a pretty good idea that a back missed the count, I'm going to flag it as a false start but I know some associations in other areas that won't.
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Old Wed Oct 09, 2002, 09:00am
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Huskerblue,

In that case you have a FS. Penalize and play on!
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Old Wed Oct 09, 2002, 09:20am
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Lightbulb Common Practice...

...here in the NE corner of Illinois (and NW Indiana) is to adhere to the axiom "if the player fools you, it's a false start".

I guess the theory is that we don't react to player movement in the same fashion a defensive player would. We are supposed to take our time and see the call before we flag or make some other signal.

Later.
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