What Is a Blindside Block Penalty In Football?

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What Is a Blindside Block Penalty Football?

To be considered a blindside block, the blocker must approach their opponent from an angle that prevents them from having time to brace or protect themselves. This block is often used to gain an advantage on the field but can also lead to serious injuries. Because of this, it’s widely considered a dirty play.

With that said, let’s look at what constitutes a blindside block penalty in football. 

Blindside Blocks vs. Traditional Blocks 

The biggest difference between a traditional and blindside block is the angle of approach by the blocker. A conventional block involves two players facing off against each other. While a blindside block requires the blocker to come in from an angle that does not give their opponent enough time to prepare for contact.

As such, these blocks are often seen as more dangerous than traditional ones and will be penalized accordingly if the rules are not followed correctly.  

Rules & Regulations of the Blindside Block

For a blindside block to be legal, it must follow all of the NFL’s rules and regulations regarding player safety. If the defender does not have enough time to adjust or protect themselves from contact, it is considered an illegal hit and will result in a 15-yard penalty.

Furthermore, any contact with the head or neck area is strictly prohibited and could even lead to suspension or expulsion, depending on the severity of the infraction. 

Impact on Player Safety 

The main goal behind any rule change is always player safety, which is why these protective measures have been implemented regarding blindsiding blocking penalties. Making sure that players do not get tackled unexpectedly or without warning reduces their risk of serious injury due to a lack of preparation for impactful contact.

Any player who disregards these guidelines will face harsher punishments which further reinforces why following all rules related to safe play is important for everyone involved in American football games.  

How To Best Avoid The Blindside Block Penalty

To avoid a blindside block penalty, the blocker must make contact with the defender’s chest or shoulder, not their head or neck. The blocker must also give the defender a chance to defend themselves by giving them time to react to the block. If the defender is unable to react in time and is knocked down, then the blocker may be called for a personal foul.


Although it may seem like just another rule change among many others, this particular regulation has impacted how teams play defense since its introduction into professional leagues like the NFL several decades ago.

At its core, blindsiding blocking penalties are meant to ensure player safety during American football games by preventing unexpected tackles without giving defenders enough time to prepare for them.