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What is Clothesline?

An illegal move in which a player strikes another player with an outstretched arm with the intent of catching the player across the throat and driving them to the ground. A clothesline falls under either the unsportsmanlike conduct or unnecessary roughness penalties, and is assessed fifteen yards from the end of the previous play. Clotheslines are illegal due to the risk of having contact to the neck of a player, and is usually considered to be a cheap shot.

Sporting Charts explains Clothesline

The clothesline is a highly illegal play, and is rarely seen in games since it is likely to immediately incur a penalty and possibly an ejection. A clothesline is executed by having a player hold their arm out straight and attempting to catch a player by the throat to stop their momentum and drive them to the ground. The move is common in stylized movie depictions of football, but rare in the actual sport.

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