What Is A Chop Block In Football? A Comprehensive Guide

In order to reduce the frequency of player injuries, the NFL had to go as far as prohibiting this particular play. Chop blocking serves as a prime illustration of such extensive and forceful style of gameplay.

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An unauthorized obstruction.

Attacking players two by blocked be will player defensive a which football American in tactics blocking the of one are blocks chop.

Football teams have used the chop blocking method as an effective way to open holes in the scrimmage line. Thanks to this, the ball carrier can easily find space and run through it.

The NCAA has banned this dangerous tactic because it poses a high risk of injury. Chop blocks are the three main types of injury risk that have been banned from the tournament, essentially, when transitioning from the NCAA to the NFL.

High Low

Two attacking players, one positioned high and the other low, work together to obstruct the opponent, hence the name “high-low block” being the prevalent blocking technique in the sport.

The attacking player is usually the lineman in the position. The strategy will be for one player to block the defender above the waist and another player to be responsible for the area below the waist.

The knee and ankle of the player, in addition to posing a significant risk of injury, greatly limits the defender’s mobility due to the exceptionally high success rate of this blocking technique.

This position has been prohibited for a considerable amount of time, therefore defenders must awkwardly stretch their legs or rotate their ankles and face numerous opportunities for serious injuries.

Toward The Play

Another variation of the chop blocking impacts the flow of the game. This strategy remained acceptable in the NFL until 2016.

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A defensive player will be accompanied by two attacking players in a line-up, with the same beginnings as the high-low style, basically.

“The pace of the match leans towards the obstruction” as far as they divide and obstruct defenders above and below the midsection, this style of playing is permissible within the NFL.

Nevertheless, the committee ultimately resolved to prohibit this edition in 2016 as it could still potentially harm the defender’s physique.

Outside The Tackle Box

The final version, similar to the two versions mentioned earlier, is the one that occurs outside the tackle box. It has been against the law to play in this manner for a considerable period of time.

They will make a move to the inside or sideline, blocking the outside. This is a common starting point for this version of the chopping block.

The ball carrier will be in for a surprise when the wide receiver blocks a shot in the blind spot as they run through a sizeable opening, followed by the defending player.

Various locations will be selected, but both editions prohibit the utilization of shoulders to prevent players. The illegalization of this block variation is another crack in the blockback system.

Blocking the chop from the waist down is usually the target areas, which can be dangerous because it can cause the defender’s body to curve abnormally.

On the other hand, a crackback block will aim for the shoulder of the outside linebacker or defensive end.

What Is A Cut Block In Football?

Essentially, chop blocks and cut blocks are quite alike. The distinction rests in the quantity of offensive players.

The cutting maneuver is carried out by a solitary assailant, in contrast to chop blocks, and it entails the offensive player obstructing the lower portion of the defender.

What Is The Penalty For Chop Blocks?

If the offending team commits a chop block more than 15 yards away from their goal line, they will be penalized with a 15-yard penalty kick as determined by the referee.

This only occurs when the referee cancels the penalty for both teams if the defending team also commits a 15-yard foul and if the attacking team commits a chop block and the defending team also commits a foul.

The tournament will have two different scenarios. The penalty will vary if the defender’s mistake is within a range of 15 yards or less.

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The attacker will still incur a 15-yard penalty, and unless it is too significant, the referee will disregard the defensive mistake. As per the NFL rulebook, a chop block will carry much greater severity compared to a minor defensive error.

The remaining yards will contribute to the offensive team. Nevertheless, in other leagues such as the CFL, the two infractions will cancel each other out.

The offender will face a 10-yard penalty. Therefore, if the defending team commits a single 5-yard violation, the two penalties will cancel each other out. This implies that.

Currently, the referee will ultimately determine the outcome. In certain scenarios, when players execute blocking maneuvers without deliberately engaging with the defender, it will not be considered a foul.

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A logging area.

Why Are Chop Blocks Illegal In Football?

The main reason for players easily getting injured and the playing style being dangerous is the blocking. All versions of chop blocks are illegal in any level of football.

The ankle and knee injuries, such as ACL and MCL tears, are the most severe injuries commonly linked to chop blocks.

This notable harm will likely require an operation and render the person unable to perform for several months, or possibly a prolonged duration.

Before the rule was modified, there were specific circumstances where it was still considered permissible; however, the majority of instances involving chop blocks were deemed unlawful in the NFL from 2016 onwards.

Following the modification in regulations, defenders witnessed a statistically similar quantity of knee injuries according to the research published in The Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine.

The results of the research are very clear as the rate of injuries significantly declined after the NFL banned chop blocks during games.

Are Cut Blocks Illegal In Football?

The direction of the block is towards the play, and the referee will give approval as long as there is just one attacker accompanied by a defender for a lawful act in American football, cut blocks.

Many people still consider it a bad style of play, however, this style of play also carries some risk of injury for the player who is blocked.

Penalty Signal

The referee will signal a block chop when he detects the forward point and upward face palm, with his body dropping his outside arms.

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The referee will then execute a strike on their thighs. That gesture indicates that the assailant has committed a violation.


If you have any inquiries concerning chop blocks, kindly refer to the answers in the section provided below.

Commonly asked queries.

Can You Block Below The Waist In The NFL?

The main reason for blocking players who can’t play due to serious knee injuries is that their playing style is affected. The NFL prohibits blocking below the waist in most situations.

When on the offensive, rather than the defensive, this strategy is permissible only when the blocking team is facing the direction of the game, except for cut blocks.

The punishment for obstructing below the waist is a 15-yard penalty. Both offensive and defensive setups are violable.

What Are The Examples Of How Chop Block Is Used In Commentary?

If he drops too low and has a block beneath his waist, it is considered a chop block. Nonetheless, a common scenario occurs when players in the backfield remain upright to halt opposing defenders with blitzes.

When Did Chop Blocks Become Illegal?

The team’s tactics have become more flexible and improved due to the high risk of injuries during the run-up to the 2016-17 NFL season. However, all of these changes and improvements have made it illegal to use chop blocks.

Can Offensive Lineman Chop Block?

Not all players are allowed to perform chop blocks. They can cut block the defender’s legs from the front. However, they are not allowed to perform chop blocks.

The only two offensive positions where chop blocks are prohibited are centers and offensive guards.

Is Chop Blocking Legal In Youth Football?

No. All chop blocking is prohibited in all competitions, including youth football.

Chop Block Vs. Cut Block

Underneath their waistline, a defensive player is obstructed by an offensive player through cut blocks, in contrast to chop blocks where there is an additional blocker above the defender, with the sole distinction being that they are one component of cut blocks.

The sequence of the player’s block is irrelevant using this approach. A permissible upper body block or a slice block can initiate a chop block.

You cannot let your teammates get involved as an immediate foul will lead to it. In order to not make a mistake, players need to be careful when shielding and blocking moves before the opponent.


What is chop blocking in football? It is when an opposing player blocks below the waist area, and two attacking players are involved in the situation, resulting in a chop block penalty.

The obstructed player can cause severe harm, nonetheless, it is simple to discover openings and sprint more rapidly with this assertive strategy.

Because of their dangerous nature, chop blocks have become illegal in every rugby league. You should also not test it when playing.

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