How can a time out be called during a field goal attempt if the ball is not dead. The center has the ball placed, the play clock is running.

The Referee shall suspend play while the ball is dead and declare a charged team timeout upon the request for a timeout by the head coach or any player to any official.

Article 1. Dead Ball

A Dead Ball is one that is not in play. The time period during which the ball is dead is Between Downs. This includes the interval during all timeouts, including intermission, and from the time the ball becomes dead until it is legally put in play.

Article 2. Ball Ready for Play

A Dead Ball is Ready for Play while the 40-second Play Clock is running when the ball is placed down by an official at the spot where the ball will next be put in play, or when the Referee signals for the 25-second Play Clock to start

3 Answers 3


There is a question here about what might be a dead ball. The ball is considered dead until the center snaps the ball. Offside is considered a dead ball foul as is delay of game. The center possessing the ball is not a sign that the ball is in play. Ready for play is not the same as in play. Therefore, up until the ball is snapped by the center or long snapper a player or coach can call timeout.


From the NFL rulebook



ARTICLE 1. LIVE BALL. After the ball has been declared ready for play, it becomes a live ball when it is legally snapped or legally kicked (a free kick or fair catch kick)....

After the ball has been declared ready, it remains a dead ball. Only when the ball is snapped does it become live. So the timeout can be called at any point prior to the snap. The play clock running does not affect this status.


I'm not sure what you're trying to ask, but you can call a timeout (assuming you have one) anytime between the official signaling the previous play is over and when the ball is snapped for the next play.

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.