Look we get it, no matter how much football you watch there is always going to be a few rules that catch you off guard when watching a football game. This is why we’ve written this article explaining exactly what a leverage penalty is in football.
A leverage penalty is a rule in NCAA, high school football, and the NFL. This penalty is called against the defense when a player intentionally stands on or jumps off a teammate in order to block a field goal or punt.
These penalties are incredibly costly because along with the yardage penalty it is going to give the offense an automatic first down.
Breaking Down The Penalty
This penalty is rarely called in football due to the fact players rarely break this rule. In order to have this penalty called against a player they will have to noticeably use a teammates body in order to get themselves a better chance at blocking a field goal.
The reason players rarely commit this penalty is that it is easily noticed and blatantly illegal. A player attempting to block a field goal knows that climbing onto another player’s back to block a kick is not legal.
Additionally, if a player does successfully block the kick all eyes will be on them. And if they have jumped off another player or are on top of when this will easily be noticed.
The rule itself is in place for two reasons. First player safety and secondly to ensure a fair chance for the field goal kicker.
Climbing onto another player’s back or jumping off another player is going to put you quite high in the air. A player can both injure themselves coming down or land on another player injuring them in the process.
Anytime a player can get significantly high in the air represents increased injury risk. And in today’s game with health being a major factor this sort of play is not going to fly.
Giving The Kicker A Chance
Imagine for a second that this rule was completely eliminated. This would mean players would be able to stack on each other’s back on field goal attempt in order to block the kick.
This wall of bodies would mean the kicker would have to arch the ball exceptionally high in order to get it over the line of would-be field goal blockers.
This of course is not the kind of football we are accustomed to seeing. In order to keep field goal and punt blocks the way they are the leverage penalty has been established.
Outcome Of A Leverage Penalty
The outcome of a leverage penalty has got to be the most devastating part of this rule. At all levels of football, a leverage penalty has been determined to fit under the unsportsmanlike conduct category.
This means that leverage carries a fifteen-yard penalty and an automatic first down. This is especially tough on the offending team as these penalties almost only occur on fourth downs.
Since the opposing team is kicking or punting the ball. The possession is set to switch to the defending team the next play.
Once a leverage penalty occurs the team will be fifteen yards closer to your endzone. And will have a fresh set of downs.
Other Uses Of Leverage In Football
On top of being this term being a penalty there are also different uses for the term leverage in football.
When covering a player’s leverage refers to your advantage over the other player. If you have inside leverage this means you are controlling the player from his inside shoulder.
While outside leverage may mean you are on his outside shoulder and can force him inside.
Leverage is also a term used in blocking. To have good leverage refers to being in a position in which you can move or control the opposing player’s movements.