ARTICLE 1. After a dead ball is ready for play, it becomes a live ball when it is legally snapped or legally free-kicked. A ball snapped or free-kicked before it is ready for play remains dead (A.R. 2-16-4:I) (A.R. 4-1-4:I and II) (A.R. 7-1-3:IV) (A.R. 7-1-5:I and II)
ARTICLE 2. a. A live ball becomes a dead ball as provided in the rules, or when an official sounds his whistle (even though inadvertently), or otherwise signals the ball dead (A.R. 4-2-1:II) (A.R. 4-2-4:I)
b. If an official sounds his whistle inadvertently or otherwise signals the ball dead during a down (Rules 4-1-3-k and 4-1-3-m):
1. When the ball is in player possession, then the team in possession may elect to put the ball in play where declared dead or replay the down.
2. When the ball is loose from a fumble, backward pass or illegal pass, then the team in possession may elect to put the ball in play where possession was lost or repeat the down (Exception: Rule 12).
3. During a legal forward pass or a free or scrimmage kick, then the ball is returned to the previous spot and the down repeated (Exception: Rule 12).
4. After Team B gains possession on the try or during an extra period, then the try is over or the extra-period possession series is ended.
c. If a foul or violation occurs during any of the above downs, the penalty or violation privilege shall be administered as in any other play situation if not in conflict with other rules (A.R. 4-1-2:I and II)
ARTICLE 3. A live ball becomes dead and an official shall sound his whistle or declare it dead:
a. When it goes out of bounds other than a kick that scores a field goal after touching the uprights or crossbar, when a ball carrier is out of bounds, or when a ball carrier is so held that his forward progress is stopped. When in question, the ball is dead (A.R. 4-2-1:II)
b. When any part of the ball carrier's body, except his hand or foot, touches the ground or when the ball carrier is tackled or otherwise falls and loses possession of the ball as he contacts the ground with any part of his body, except his hand or foot. (Exception: The ball remains alive when an offensive player has simulated a kick or at the snap is in position to kick the ball held for a place kick by a teammate. The ball may be kicked, passed or advanced by rule.) (A.R. 4-1-3:I)
c. When a touchdown, touchback, safety, field goal, or successful try occurs; or when an unsuccessful field goal attempt that has crossed the neutral zone and is then untouched by Team B, lands in Team B's end zone or out of bounds (A.R. 6-3-9:I)
d. When, during a try, a dead-ball rule applies. (Rule 8-3-2-d-5).
e. When a player of the kicking team catches or recovers any free kick or a scrimmage kick that has crossed the neutral zone.
f. When a free kick, scrimmage kick or any other loose ball comes to rest and no player attempts to secure it.
g. When a scrimmage kick beyond the neutral zone or a free kick is caught or recovered by any player after a valid or invalid fair catch signal; or when an invalid fair catch signal is made after a catch or recovery by Team B (Rules 2-8-1, 2-8-2 and 2-8-3).
h. When a return kick or scrimmage kick beyond the neutral zone is made.
i. When a forward pass is ruled incomplete.
j. When, before a change of team possession on fourth down or a try, a Team A fumble is caught or recovered by a Team A player other than the fumbler (Rules 7-2-2-a, 7-2-2-b and 8-3-2-d-5).
k. When a live ball not in player possession touches anything inbounds other than a player, a player's equipment, an official, an official's equipment or the ground (inadvertent whistle provisions apply).
l. When a simultaneous catch or recovery of a live ball occurs.
m. When the ball becomes illegal while in play (inadvertent whistle provisions apply).
n. When the live ball is in possession of an official (inadvertent whistle provisions apply).
o. When a ball carrier simulates placing his knee on the ground.
p. When an airborne pass receiver from either team is so held that he is prevented from immediately returning to the ground (A.R. 7-3-6:IV)
q. When a ball carrier's helmet comes completely off.
ARTICLE 4. No player shall put the ball in play before it is ready for play (A.R. 4-1-4:I and II)
ARTICLE 5. The ball shall be put in play within 40 or 25 seconds after it is made ready for play (Rule 3-2-4), unless, during that interval, play is suspended. If play is suspended, the play-clock count will start again.
a. A player is out of bounds when any part of his person touches anything, other than another player or game official, on or outside a boundary line (A.R. 4-2-1:I and II)
b. A player who touches a pylon is out of bounds.
ARTICLE 2. A ball in player possession is out of bounds when either the ball or any part of the ball carrier touches the ground or anything else that is on or outside a boundary line except another player or game official.
ARTICLE 3. a. A ball not in player possession, other than a kick that scores a field goal, is out of bounds when it touches the ground, a player, a game official or anything else that is on or outside a boundary line.
b. A ball that touches a pylon is out of bounds behind the goal line.
c. If a live ball not in player possession crosses a boundary line and then is declared out of bounds, it is out of bounds at the crossing point.
ARTICLE 4. a. If a live ball is declared out of bounds and the ball does not cross a boundary line, it is out of bounds at the ball's most forward point when it was declared dead (A.R. 4-2-4:I) (Exception: Rule 8-5-1-a, (A.R. 8-5-1:I)
b. A touchdown is scored if the ball is inbounds and has broken the plane of the goal line (Rule 2-12-2) before or simultaneous with the ball carrier going out of bounds.
c. A receiver who is in the opponent's end zone and contacting the ground is credited with a completion if he reaches over the sideline or end line and catches a legal pass.
d. The most forward point of the ball when declared out of bounds between the goal lines is the point of forward progress (A.R. 8-2-1:I) (A.R. 8-5-1:VII) (Exception: When a ball carrier is airborne as he crosses the sideline, forward progress is determined by the position of the ball as it crosses the sideline (A.R. 8-2-1:II-IX)
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Editor: Jim Briggs, BAFA/BAFRA Rules Committee