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Professional Football/NFL Rule Interpretation


Rule 7 Sec 5..Illegal motion...Backfield receiver (BFR) is in motion (parallel or back from LOS) at time of snap is legal..question is..does the BFR have to be looking straight ahead (in this case parallel or towards backfield)? I'm running along the 35yrd line, can I be looking up field at time of snap? I see a provision for "player behind center" being free to turn his head, but no other reference.

Baltimore Stallions at Memorial Stadium 1994, 95
Baltimore Stallions at  
Dear Refdavis,

If you read Section 7, article 5 pertaining to a man in motion, there is no mention pertaining to the what is the proper direction of the BFR's head.  I suspect that a few BFR's may have allowed their attention to drift towards the cheerleading squad.
The intent of the rule is to prevent a BFR from towards the LOS before the snap.  No "head starts" are permitted if you will.

To follow is the text from the 2013 NFL Rule Book.

Best wishes from Baltimore, and a fan of the CFL.

Jim Considine


Article 7:  Illegal Motion.  When the ball is snapped, one player who is lined up in the backfield may be in motion, provided that he is moving parallel to or away from the line of scrimmage.  No player is permitted to be moving towards the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped.  All other players must be stationary in their positions.

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Jim Considine


The subject of my expertise pertains to "American Football", as opposed to "Futball" or the game we refer to in the USA as soccer. --------------------------------------------------------- I can answer statistical questions about professional football. I am especially strong on the subject of the Baltimore Colts from 1947 through 1983, Washington Redskins, and the Baltimore Ravens. My services are best used when an older, obscure question is posed. The newer NFL records are easily accessible through I do not appraise memorabilia. I am not an expert on Canadian Football, though I will take a shot at any questions you might pose. I have a good understanding and recall of the folklore about Baltimore football. Some of this information may be subjective in nature. I will give the best answer possible if this is the case.


I was an NFL Statistician with the Washington Redskins. I grew up during the days of the Baltimore Colts in the 1960's. (Please refer to the movie "Diner" for more information about the Baltimore Colts fans)

Washington Redskins Statistician, 2005-2010 Baltimore Ravens, 1996-2003

The records were used by author Jon Morgan in his book, "Glory For Sale". The records have been part of the Baltimore Ravens Media Guides since their inaugural season in 1996. I was interviewed for the cover story of The Press Box, a local, monthly sports tabloid newspaper.

I researched and was able to piece together the statistical history of the AAFC Baltimore Colts 1947-49, and the 1950 NFL Colts. This information was used by The Baltimore Ravens for their 1996 Media Guide. The records were entitled "Baltimore Football Records". It was considered "unofficial" since the AAFC league records were not incorporated with the NFL records when the leagues merged. The reason that this information was created was due to the fact that the NFL had prohibited the 1996 Baltimore Ravens from bringing the records, colors, and team name from the Cleveland Browns. The Baltimore football records were presented in order to create a frame of reference. The Ravens have kept these records since 1996, adding and amending as the Ravens football team challenge these records.

Awards and Honors
I was awarded two game balls from the Ravens and was recognized for my work as the top game day employee.

Past/Present Clients
Baltimore Ravens, Wise Guides, Washington Redskins

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