This may be a bit unanswerable but seeing if the community can come up with any historical conversations or rules.

We have a quarterback boot we put into the playbook. The wide receivers are trips right and clear out the defensive backs on that side - if they don't one of them is wide open. That leaves at most the defensive end and an outside linebacker somewhat unaccounted. Based on running the play we feel that our tackle will block the end almost all of the time.

That leaves our quarterback one on one with an outside linebacker - literally the only receiver on that side of the field will be 25-30 yards deep. For fun during one of our scrimmages I had quarterback throw a 15 yard lob to himself. The play was very successful because once he rolled and felt the OLB come up hard he threw the ball and the OLB was well out of position.

But that beckons, can this be countered with the OLB just holding the QB after the throw? At what point could the OLB hit/hold the QB? Is there any rule to cite when talking to the refs before the game about the play (I am a ref too so it would be common to talk to the refs about a trick play before we run it) to get them to get their flags ready after my QB takes off for the ball that he threw?

  • 1
    Depends on a lot of things I guess. A QB lined up under center is usually ineligible. Defensive pass interference starts at the LOS so if the defender hit the QB before the LOS, it would just be defensive holding, maybe. And then it would depend on the referee interpretation of the play, whether the pass was catch-able, etc. But no, I don't think there is any rule across the board about pass interference on a QB. It would just be if the QB was an eligible receiver and regular pass interference applied to the play.
    – GB11
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 20:36
  • 2
    Fun fact: Brett Favre's first NFL completion was to himself, although I don't think the play was designed that way.
    – Ben Miller
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 0:56
  • 2
    @GB11 - QB under center can go out for a pass and is eligible unless in a special league that states so. I guess the question comes down to - the ball will for sure be in the air so there can be no "bump" being used within 5 yards but would the refs assume he is a receiver once he starts running for the ball after the throw. Also I am aware that there are no pass interference rules at this level behind the line of scrimmage.
    – Coach-D
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 3:49
  • 1
    Brett Favre was penalized for catching a pass after taking a snap from under center while playing for the Vikings in 2010. But I can't find any such rule in the NFL book, so I am inclined to believe it was a bad call. Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 19:57
  • 1
    Rule 8-1-6e "A player who takes his stance behind center as a T-formation quarterback is not an eligible receiver unless, before the ball is snapped, he legally moves to a position at least one yard behind the line of scrimmage or on the end of the line, and is stationary in that position for at least one second before the snap." (This seems like a contradiction, as I imagine the quarterback under center is indeed already a yard behind the line of scrimmage.) Commented Jan 30, 2018 at 13:49

1 Answer 1


When you say "lob," are you saying that he throws the pass in a very very high vertical arc, so that the passer has plenty of time to get under it before it comes back down (as opposed to a tipped-ball situation)?

In that case, at least under NFL rules pass interference restrictions would apply as normal, once the passer-receiver gets at least one yard beyond the LoS (strictly speaking, it's the violator that has to be at least one yard beyond the LoS, regardless of where the fouled individual is located; but as a practical matter they're going to be really really close to one another):

From the NFL rulebook:

Section 5 - Pass Interference Article 1. Definition

It is pass interference by either team when any act by a player more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage significantly hinders an eligible player’s opportunity to catch the ball. Pass interference can only occur when a forward pass is thrown from behind the line of scrimmage, regardless of whether the pass is legal or illegal, or whether it crosses the line.

Defensive pass interference rules apply from the time the ball is thrown until the ball is touched.

Of course, for it to be a legal pass, he'd have to be behind the line, where there is no pass interference--though defensive holding, defenseless player, and roughing-the-passer rules would of course still apply.

  • That is a partial answer and doesn't really hit what my question was getting at. I understand if the QB gets past defender and is well beyond line a scrimmage (few yards) and the defender renegotiated contact it should be PI given the QB is thought of as a receiver (still no rule suggesting this). But the big question is if the QB lobs and the defenders hits QB or half tackles, bumps out of way - things guys do after QB throws... is that defensive holding?
    – Coach-D
    Commented Oct 20, 2018 at 20:38

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.