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An illegal motion penalty may be several things such as two players in motion at the time of the snap, a player in motion that stops but is not set for at least one second prior to the snap, or a player that is moving forward towards the line of scrimmage at the time of the snap.

In the NFL, one player is allowed to be in motion at the time the ball is snapped to the quarterback. This player in motion must be at least one yard behind the line of scrimmage and rung parallel to or away from the line of scrimmage at the time the ball is snapped.

Two players in motion at the snap are illegally SHIFTING only, not motion. (REMEMBER!! DON'T GO SCREAMING TO THE RFF!!)

Players moving before the snap are considered 'shifting'. The shift doesn't end until all 11 offensive players set for 1 second (2 in HS). After the 'set' if only one player begins moving (not in a quick manner such as simulating the snap, which is a false start) and the ball is snapped, he is in motion. The rules of motion is that the player can only move side to side behind the line of scrimmage, and a back inside the tackle box can move forward while inside the tackle box, but cannot be moving forward at the snap. Therefore, an illegal motion is usually when a motion player is moving forward towards the line of scrimmage

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8y ago
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12y ago

Yes. Illegal motion occurs when an offensive player in motion moves TOWARD the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped. To avoid this penalty a player in motion must move parrallel to the line of scrimmage & must not move towards the line of scrimmage until the ball is snapped.

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Q: Is illegal motion a foul at the snap?
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