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18 Forward Progress

Forward Progress

Chapter 18. Forward Progress
Pg. 86

Correctly marking forward progress
throughout the game isone of
the most important responsibilities of
officiating. Unless the play ends in a
score or a touchback, forward progress
must be determined on every play.
Every runner’s progress is exactly
the same: The forward-most part
of the ball when it’s declared dead
in possession of the runner (when
progress is declared dead inbounds
or where it crossed the sideline when
declared dead out of bounds), whether
the ball is parallel to or perpendicular
to the sideline, is the forward progress
spot. The spot where the runner’s knee
touches the ground is seldom, if ever,
the forward progress spot. When the
knee, elbow, hip, etc., touches the
ground, ask yourself, “Where is the ball
at that moment?” That is the forward
progress spot.
Once a runner’s forward progress
is ruled to have stopped while being
tackled and the runner is then driven
backwards or sideways, forward
progress is exactly where the ball was
at that moment. The whistle is blown
and the play ended. No fumble may
occur behind the forward progress spot
because the ball is dead by rule. If this
action occurs near the sideline, wind
the clock to indicate the ball became
dead inbounds. Keep your head up and
eyes on the players as they go out of
bounds.
Forward progress for an airborne
receiver is the spot where he gains
possession and maintains control of
the ball while being tackled and driven
backward while still in the air. Should
an airborne receiver have possession,
be contacted, lose possession, then
regain possession prior to hitting the
ground with anything but his hand or
foot, his progress is the spot where he
last gained possession.

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