An eligible receiver in football comes up with some of the best plays in the sport of football. Eligibility enables a player to legally catch the football. It is crucial for football players and coaches to understand what an eligible receiver is. Let’s take a look at what an eligible receiver is and answer some questions that many have.
What is an eligible receiver in football?
The definition of an eligible receiver is an offensive player that can legally catch the ball from a forward pass. Importantly, eligible receivers are the only players of the offensive team that can receive a forward pass without a penalty. This is a rule across all major football leagues.
- Eligible receivers can include quarterbacks, slot receivers, running backs, full backs, tight ends, and offensive linemen that declare eligibility before the play.
- Ineligible man downfield and illegal touching are the two penalties against ineligible receivers.
- Any member of the offense may catch the ball with no penalty once a ball is deflected.
- Once eligible receivers voluntarily step out of bounds, they forfeit their eligibility and can no longer receive a pass.
- If players change positions, they must also change jersey numbers that correspond to their position change to make it easier for the officials.
What makes you an eligible receiver?
Offensive teams must have a minimum of seven players lined up on the line of scrimmage. Of those lined up on the line of scrimmage, the two ends are the only players eligible to receive a pass. Players lined up as wide receivers and running backs are eligible to receive a pass. Covered-up receivers are ineligible to receive a pass.
Eligible Receivers Explained Video
What positions are eligible receivers?
Two players on each end of the line of scrimmage are ruled as eligible receivers. This could be one lined up as a wide receiver and one lined up as a tight end or two wide receivers. In addition, quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers are the most common eligible receivers.
What numbers do they wear?
Eligible receivers wear eligible numbers for their position. Running backs wear numbers 20-49, tight ends wear numbers 40-49 and 80-89, and wide receivers wear numbers 10-19 and 80-89. Players without eligible numbers must declare their eligibility to a referee before the play to be considered eligible.
Can a lineman be an eligible receiver?
The only way a lineman can be an eligible receiver is if they are on either end of the line of scrimmage and announce their eligibility to a referee. This also goes for any other member of the team that doesn’t typically line up as an eligible receiver.
What NFL lineman has scored the most touchdowns?
William “The Refrigerator” Perry. However, he ran for more TDs than he caught passes for touchdowns.
How many eligible receivers are there?
There can be no more than six eligible receivers on each play. These players can include the quarterback, slot receivers, running backs, full backs, and tight ends. The other five players are ineligible receivers. They receive a penalty if they catch the ball.
Exceptions to the eligible receiver rule
Players that wear an eligible jersey number at an ineligible position on special teams plays are exempt from this rule. Next, if a player is forced out of bounds, they must re-establish their eligibility by taking three steps in bounds before catching the ball.
Only offensive players with jersey numbers between 50 and 79 are ineligible in the NCAA. Players outside those numbers must be at the end of the line of scrimmage, be behind the line of scrimmage by at least one yard, or receive the snap as the quarterback.
What happens if the receiver isn’t eligible?
If a receiver isn’t eligible and catches a pass, the offensive team will receive an illegal touching penalty, and the team will lose five yards and a loss of a down. If an ineligible receiver isn’t in the neutral zone at the time a pass is thrown, the offensive team will receive an ineligible man downfield penalty. Five yards is the penalty.
Why is there an eligible receiver rule?
Finally, the eligible receiver rules exist for player safety reasons. Without this rule, you would have many blindside hits from downfield players, and it would endanger the defensive players.
So, there you have it. It’s a fairly straightforward rule, but if it comes on a big play, the penalty can be a game-changer.
You’re on our Eligible Receiver in Football Definition page.
You might like: