Neutral Zone

Submitted by Ziff72 on April 7th, 2011 at 1:24 PM

I've been involved in football a lot of years, but I seem to have blocked out something.   In watching the Vada Murray tribute I was struck by how big a gap the Oline had from the Dline.  I seem to recall a time when there was a space( I want to call a half a yard) that the defensive player had to leave as a buffer from the ball at the LOS which was the neutral zone.

Does anyone remember when they changed this rule?  Why they changed it?  Was this is even a rule?   If it wasn't a rule was it just a philosophy on defense?  While it is obviously is a disadvantage for really short yardage I could see some benefits in terms of allowing the dline some space to avoid the blocks.  

Kids have killed my memory.  Thanks for the help.




April 7th, 2011 at 1:45 PM ^

AFAIK, the neutral zone has always been the length of the ball, but I'm just a young'n. I went back to the video to see what you were talking about. The first play, the bottom of the DL is lined up right on the edge of the NZ, but the top of the line is a little further back. I'm guessing that's just coaching or player preference.


April 7th, 2011 at 3:04 PM ^

The nose is almost a full yd off the ball.  The end does look closer than that, but if you compare Mike Martin who seems like he was lined up and inch from the ball it's quite a difference.  When you look at old Mich-OSU games that yd gap is pretty standard.


April 7th, 2011 at 3:39 PM ^

Well you have to go by his helmet. The end is about 6 inches from the ball and the nose is probably 1-1.5 feet from the ball, which does seem unusual. However, the end being lined up so close shows that the it can't have been more than the length of the ball.