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Illegal Hands to the Face

What is Illegal Hands to the Face?

An illegal use of hands by an offensive or defensive player in which the violating player contacts another player’s face mask with his hands.

Sporting Charts explains Illegal Hands to the Face

The hands to the face rule is a part of the overall rules concerning illegal use of hands and applies strictly to a player impacting another player’s face mask with his hands. Any contact above the frame of another player to the face area incurs a 10-yard penalty against the offense or a 5-yard penalty and automatic first down against the defense (although the emphasis of this rule primarily penalizes offensive players). Prior to the 2014-2015 football season, the illegal hands to the face rule required “prolonged contact” but with greater emphasis on protecting players from head and neck injuries, any forcible, non-incidental contact to a player’s face mask can incur this penalty. Officials are also attempting to eliminate the “popping” of the chin by offensive linemen against defensive rushers after the snap with this rule.

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