Football Rules

Monday, June 28th, 2004

I found an excellent history of Football Rules, including these dates and rules changes:

  • No tackling out-of-bounds.
  • No Hurdling or piling on after play called dead.
  • No tackling below the knee.
  • No stricking the ball carrier in the face.
  • No locking of legs, except for the two players on either side of the center.
  • Referee called the end of the play.
  • Offense had to have 6 players on line of scrimage.
  • Only one player in motion before the snap.
  • Any player moving from the line of scrimage had to be replaced prior to the snap of the ball.
  • The length of the game shortened to 2 thirty minute halves.
  • The number of yards need for a first down increased from 5 to 10.
  • Neutral zone increase to length of the ball.
  • Legalization of the forward pass.
    • If the pass was incomplete, it was a turnover.
    • A pass completed in the endzone was a touchback for the defending team (turnover)
    • If the ball wasn’t thrown within 5 yards, either side of the middle of the field, or hit an ineligble receiver, it was a turnover. Hash marks were added.


  • Seven players on the line of scrimage. End of mass-formation plays.
  • No pushing or pulling the ball carrier.
  • No interlocked interference.
  • No crawling.
  • Flying tackle banned.
  • Score for forfeited game set at 1 point.


  • A player leaving the game could not return until the start of the next quarter.
  • Forward passes limited to 20 yards in length or under.


  • Team had 4 downs to make a firstdown. (10 yards)
  • Length of field reduced to 100 yards from 110 yards. 10 yard endzone created behind each goal.
  • Value of a touchdown increased from 5 to 6 points.
  • All distance restrictions for a forward pass were removed.
  • A pass completed in the endzone was now a touchdown and no longer a turnover.
  • An incompleted pass was a loss of down and no longer a turnover.

Leave a Reply