A chop block occurs in football when one player initiates contact with a player above his waist while another player makes contact with that same player in the thigh or lower.
Essentially a chop block occurs when one teammate blocks a players high while another blocks him low.
These blocks do not have to be initiated at the same time to be illegal. If one player is blocking another player you are not able to them cut block them.
If you do this will be considered a chop block.
Are Chop Blocks Legal?
Chop blocks are not legal regardless of what play it happens on. Whether it’s a kick return, passing play, or field goal attempt two players can not engage on a block with one going high and the other going low.
This will always result in a 15 yard penalty.
Though back in 2016 chop blocks were legal under certain circumstances. Offensive players could legally perform chop blocks so long as:
(i) the blockers were aligned next to each other on the line of scrimmage. (ii) The blockers were lined up anywhere on the line and the flow of the play is towards the block. Or (iii) the cut blocker was aligned in the backfield and the chop block took place outside the original tight end position.
Though due to that 2016 rule change chop blocks are now illegal across the board.
Why is a chop block illegal?
The chop block has been made illegal for safety reasons. When engaging a player high and low at the same time you are offering them a minimal chance to protect themselves.
The NFL has been taking player safety more importantly in recent years as the NFLPA fights for more rights for their players. Longer careers and less frequent injuries are plans both the NFL and NFLPA would like to see as a trend.
What Is A Reverse Chop In Football?
A reverse chop block in football is exactly what it sounds like. A normal chop block involves a player being blocked in the chest area. Followed up by then being cut blocked by another player.
A reverse chop occurs when a player is being cut blocked and another offensive player blocks him up high at the same time the chop is happening.
This sort of chop block is less common in football. As the time frame to block a player up high after he is cut blocked is quite small.
Are chop blocks legal in college?
No chop blocks are now considered illegal in every level of football. This play represents a clear health risk for defensive players and does not allow them a way to defend themselves.
Outlawing this rule also should not have much of an impact on the offense’s ability to block.
At the end of the day, you are still double-teaming a player. You should be able to block them without resorting to a chop block.