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18 Forward Progress

Forward Progress – Sideline Plays

Chapter 18. Forward Progress
Pg. 87

Sideline Plays
For tackles near the sideline,
determining the forward progress spot
can be challenging. When the runner
is airborne as he crosses the sideline,
forward progress is where the ball
crosses the plane of the sideline, not
where the ball is when the runner first
touches out of bounds.
If the runner is stopped in the field
of play, the clock is not stopped, but
if he went out of bounds, the clock is
stopped. A runner who is contacted by
an opponent and crosses the sideline as
he is moving forward has been forced
out of bounds and the clock is stopped.
If the runner is displaced laterally or
backwards and goes out of bounds, his
progress has been stopped in the field
of play and the clock continues to run
unless it is stopped for another reason
such as a penalty or the awarding of a
new series. The wing official will indicate
the clock should run by using the wind
the clock signal.
When a runner steps on the sideline,
wing officials almost always mark the
progress spot where the runner’s foot
contacted the sideline. That usually is a
fairly accurate spot. However, since the
progress spot is at the location of the
ball, the spot where the runner’s foot
touched the sideline is not necessarily
the correct location. The ball’s location
can be judged depending on whether
the ball was held in the arm closest to
the sideline or the arm away from the
Good wing officials can accurately
discern the spot based on the ball
location. If the runner steps out of
bounds with his lead foot and is carrying
the ball in his outside arm, the location
of the ball and the spot where his foot
touches the sideline are virtually identical.
However, if the ball is in his inside arm,
it should be spotted about the length
of the ball behind the spot where his
foot touched out of bounds. The extra
precision is most appropriate for plays
that end near the goal line or the line-togain.