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Illegal “Trick” Football Plays In Youth Football

Illegal “Trick” Football Plays In Youth Football

There are a number of trick football plays that are perfectly legal and ethical to run in youth football. There are others that are not legal, but we still see them from time to time at both the youth and High School levels.

One illegal football play that has reared its ugly head again the last few year is the old “Where”s the Tee” or “Wrong Ball” plays. These are plays where the quarterback yells out to the defense that “we’ve got the wrong ball, I need a different ball” or “Where’s the Tee, We need a Tee”. In the meantime the center places the football in the quarterbacks hands and the quarterback slowly walks off the field feigning he is replacing the ball. All the other offensive players act like nothing is going on, but once the defense lets down its guard, the quarterback is off to the races. In the “Where’s the Tee” version of this football play, as the QB takes off to the sidelines to supposedly get a tee that he has supposedly forgotten, the ball is snapped and another player takes off with the ball. In most cases with both of these football plays, the sideline is in on it and the “coach” is at the sidelines with a ball or tee and or yelling for the QB to switch out the ball or “come get the tee”.

Not only is it Bush League it is an illegal football play.

Any action or verbiage used to deceive the defense into thinking that the ball is not about to become live is an UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT PENALTY, 15 yards.

This is the old “Where’s the Tee” play that was made illegal many many moons ago.

Nearly all Youth Football Leagues use Federation High School Rules with a few exceptions of “Special Rules” that they all make very clear to their teams often in a mini rule manual. This manual covers exceptions to the High School Rules only. Unsportsmanlike Conduct is not one of the exceptions and is covered in the Federation Rule Book under 9.5.1b. Again, Any action or verbiage used to deceive the defense into thinking that the ball is not about to become live is illegal. Acting like you need a new ball or have the wrong ball or are missing the kicking tee are all illegal under this rule if the ball is snapped during said baloney.

There are plenty of ways to compete in youth football and for some, a trick play is something they like to put in. I’m not a big believer in trick plays, we are going to fundamental you to death and I don’t like stealing practice time to perfect trick plays. I do however like to put in one trick play later in the year just to keep the players attention and keep them interested in midseason. We rarely run it to gain advantage, but as a reward to the kids, often as an extra point play when we are up a touchdown or two.

We do practice against the above illegal play in our defensive walk throughs and fit and freeze. But fortunately we have yet to see it in 15 years of coaching.