SECTION 3 — OFFSIDE PASS
Article 1 — Definition#
An offside pass is made when the ball is directed towards the opponent's Dead Line
in any manner other than by being kicked.
A team making an offside pass shall not be permitted to advance the ball or retain
possession beyond the point of origin of the pass.
PENALTY: Next scrimmage at point of origin of pass, or option.
EXCEPTIONS: Handoff Pass (Rule 6, Section 2)
Forward Pass (Rule 6, Section 4)
Article 2 — Offside Pass In Field Of Play#
An offside pass shall be ruled as having occurred in the following situations:
- On a scrimmage play, a Team A player makes an offside pass after crossing the line of scrimmage.
- On a play, other than from scrimmage (e.g. kick return, kickoff return, interception return, fumble return, recovery of onside kick or kickoff), a player makes an offside pass.
- In attempting to catch a forward pass, a Team A eligible receiver tips, deflects, knocks or bats the ball in an offside direction, where it is caught by another Team A player, who is not eligible as a receiver.
PENALTY: Ball to team making offside pass, at point of origin of pass (downs continue unless yards gained at that point, or option).
Article 3 — Not An Offside Pass#
An offside pass shall be ruled not to have occurred in the following situations:
- On a scrimmage play, before the ball crosses the line of scrimmage, a Team A player in possession of the ball makes an offside pass — rule as a forward pass.
- On a forward pass play, an eligible Team A receiver, in attempting to catch the ball, tips, deflects, knocks or bats the ball in an offside direction, where it is caught by another eligible Team A receiver.
- In attempting to intercept a forward pass, a Team B player directs the ball in an offside direction, where it is caught by another Team B player.
- On any play where the ball carrier or a player attempting to catch a kicked ball, unintentionally drops or fumbles the ball forward and it is recovered by a player of the same team.
Article 4 — Offside Pass In Goal Area#
- If Team A makes an offside pass in its own Goal Area and retains possession of the ball, Team B shall be awarded two points or option.
- If Team B makes an offside pass in its own Goal Area after gaining possession from a Team A kick, Team A shall be awarded one point, or option.
- If Team B makes an offside pass in its own Goal Area after gaining possession by interception of a Team A forward pass, or by recovery of a Team A fumble, it will scrimmage at its own 25-yard line, or option.
- If a player deliberately throws the ball out of own Goal Area and it is touched or goes Out of Bounds in the Field of Play, the play shall be ruled as an offside pass in the Goal Area and the opponent shall have the option to accept a one-point or two-point score, as applicable, or to accept the play as it terminated.
NOTE: This article applies to a ball fumbled from the Goal Area, into the Field of Play and Out of Bounds without touching an opponent.