Rule interpretations for 2018 from rules interpreter Walter Berry

Will post rule questions submitted to Walter . Please send you request to Walter via Facebook

Questions for the Rules Interpreter Walter Berry

From Facebook

(3) June 21 DYFOA

Team A convert attempt. The ball is snapped over holder A2’s head as he is about to pick up the ball at the 15 yd line B1 pushes him out of the way and B44 jumps on the ball. The referee calls B1 for LBI. What options should the referee give to the team A captain.

Walter's ruling

On this play Team A option would be accept the penalty and try the convert again from the 15-yard line or let play stand convert is no good, next play would be kick-off.

Illegal interference on a loose ball is point of foul application.


(2) June 18 Toronto FOA question

What is the application for the following?
A punt, ball bounces, A is called for no yards, B returns ball for touchdown. What is the application for the no yards foul?

Walter’s response

Team B has two choices

Decline the No-yards penalty and take the touchdown or accept the No-yards penalty which would be applied up 5 yards from the point of possession first down and 10 for team B.

Yes a 5 yard no-yard can be applied from PBD but it is not a carry over application.


Well it is that time of year, the 2018 rule changes are out. The changes this year are mostly minor adjustments with the exception of the new targeting rule:

  • Added the definition of a play.
  • Clarification when time starts / when stopped as part of the mercy rule.
  • Provided for easier management of inappropriately numbered players.
  • Redefined line movement to align with what is happening in today’s game.
  • Added a new point of application for a kick off being illegally touched.
  • Changed the definition of a completed pass so that it is more concise.
  • Added targeting towards eliminating hits to the head.

Since targeting is a new rule let us review the key elements required:

  • “TARGETING” (taking aim) indicates the hit could have been avoided.
  • FORCIBLE contact to the head or neck area, with the helmet, forearm, hand fist, elbow or shoulder.

There will still be times when players may have helmet to helmet contact. The ones we need to focus on are the forcible contacts that go beyond making a legal tackle, a legal block or playing the ball.