For an offensive formation to be legal during a regular play, at least five linemen must be numbered 50 to 79. No matter where they line up, these players are all always ineligible receivers (by number).If I could make one change to the rules of football at every level it would be to eliminate any and all stipulations as to which sorts of players can wear which numbers. The formation already dictates which players are eligible receivers. Nobody cares what their uniform says. Football rules are written by obsessive compulsive nerds.
When an offense is lined up for a scrimmage kick (field goal, extra point, or punt), they get an exception and can have fewer than five. Some coaches have exploited that to trick defenses into covering the wrong players, or lulling them to sleep, before attempting a fake.
The rules committee tightened up the loopholes.
First, to get the numbering exception the offense must have either:
Until this year, they only had to have one player at least seven yards back, leading teams to have him take the snap and run. Now they have to be considerably more strategic with their fakes, if they want to take advantage of the "numbering exception."
- at least one player 10 or more yards behind the line of scrimmage, or
- two players at least 7 yards behind the line of scrimmage.
If Brandin Cooks went out on the field wearing number 77, I'm pretty sure somebody would cover him. Just like if Zach Strief wore an "eligible" number, nobody would. People are aware that he can't catch. I don't care what he does in practice.
FOXBOROUGH, MASS. -- New Orleans Saints right tackle Zach Strief ran toward the end zone on a supposed field-goal attempt during Tuesday's practice with the New England Patriots.Fake field goals are already practically illegal in the NFL anyway. Now the college game is catching up.
He turned around, and punter Thomas Morstead threw a perfect pass to Strief for a touchdown.
"Yeah, I'm one of the more dangerous tight ends on field goal in the league, I feel," said Strief, who's entering his 11th season as an offensive lineman. "I don't think they were quite prepared for us to do that, but I'm glad I didn't drop it. There's a lot of people out here, and I have a poor reputation in that department. So, it was good, and look it's fun (because) I don't get to touch the ball very often."