1. A Quarterback Sack is awarded to a defender whenever the Quarterback is in possession of the ball behind the LOS and is:

    1. Tackled for a loss of yards, or
    2. Forced out of bounds behind the line of scrimmage to avoid imminent contact, or
    3. Forced to fumble the football irrespective of where the ball goes thereafter. For example, a defender who creates this “strip sack” and the ball is then propelled across the LOS by being batted or kicked, will still receive credit for a QB Sack.

    Note: It is possible for the Quarterback to be sacked for a loss of zero (0) yards. However, the ball when re-spotted after the play must clearly have been moved back by at least half the length of the ball as ordinarily observed by the stats crew. The yards lost by Team A in any of the above situations shall be charged as a Team Loss.

  2. A Quarterback Pressure is awarded to a defender who either forces the QB to move off his initial drop back point to avoid contact, contacts the QB in the act of throwing or has the QB in his grasp at the time an Intentional Grounding penalty is called. Only one QB Pressure per play may be awarded to the defence.


It is NOT a Quarterback Sack but a Rushing or Team Loss if when behind the LOS:

  1. The QB voluntarily steps out of bounds without being threatened by imminent contact, or
  2. The Team A player attempting to pass is any player other than a quarterback, or
  3. The QB attempts a short yardage sneak play and fails to gain yards, or
  4. The QB voluntarily terminates the play by dropping to the ground on one knee i.e. QB Kneel, or
  5. The QB is called for intentional grounding. In this case, score a penalty for zero (0) yards and the appropriate yardage lost against Team A as penalty yardage. Do not score the play as either a Rushing or Team Loss.

As a further Guide for determination of QB Sacks, the following specific scenarios must be applied:

  1. Bad or “Early” snap by Centre – QB falls on the ball only with no attempt to advance.

    No Sack awarded. Team Loss only.

  2. Bad or “Early” snap by Centre – QB picks up the ball and continues with the play.

    Sack awarded if he is tackled for a loss

  3. QB fumbles a good snap and falls on the ball with no attempt to advance or pass.

    No Sack awarded. Team Loss only.

  4. QB rolls out and runs out of bounds behind LOS.

    Sack awarded if he is forced out of bounds; No sack awarded if he is not.

  5. Holder on Convert kicks fumbles or does not present the ball.

    No sack will be awarded unless he gets up and makes a clear effort to pass the ball.


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Publication Credits

Content compiled and entered by Jeff Harbin and Andre Proulx

The CFL Official Rule Book is published annually by the Canadian Football League. Any inquiries regarding the CFL Official Playing Rules may be directed to Darren Hackwood, Senior Director of Officiating at Any inquiries regarding CFL Statistical Scoring Rules may be directed to Steve Daniel, Senior Director of Game Information and Statistics at