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The NFL rule that led to critical Patriots penalty

Bill Belichick argued against the call to no avail.

JOE CAMPOREALE/USA TODAY

Bill Belichick argued against the call to no avail.

Here’s the exact language of the rule in the 2013 NFL Official Playing Rules that led to the Patriots’ 30-27 loss to the Jets on Sunday.

Patriots defensive lineman Chris Jones was called for pushing a teammate during a 56-yard field goal attempt by the Jets in overtime. The 15-yard penalty gave the Jets a first down (the kick was wide), and they then hit a game-winning field goal from 42 yards.

Continue reading below

It is Rule 9, Section 1, Article 3 of the official NFL rules.

Article 3:

Defensive Team Formation

(a) When Team A presents a punt, field-goal, or Try Kick formation, a Team B player, who is within one yard of the line of scrimmage, must have his entire body outside the snapper’s shoulder pads at the snap.

(b) When Team A presents a field-goal or Try Kick formation:

(1) No more than six Team B players may be on the line of scrimmage on either side of the snapper at the snap; and

Note: These restrictions do not apply if a team does not present a standard punt, field goal, or Try Kick formation (an equal number of players on the line of scrimmage on either side of the snapper in a tight formation), or if, after the offensive team has assumed a set position, there is a shift, or a player goes in motion.

Penalty: For illegal formation by the defense: Loss of five yards.

(2) Team B players cannot push teammates on the line of scrimmage into the offensive formation.

Penalty: For unnecessary roughness: Loss of 15 yards.

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