Re: Illegal formation
The rule (as applied in HS ball) is that the HAND of each person on the LOS must pass between the neutral zone and the leg of the center.
In other words, if you were to draw a straight line from the hip of the center straight down to the ground--perpendicular...as long as the hand of the guard, tackle, tight end, etc. is in front of that line and behind the neutral zone--then they are "on the line of scrimmage" and not off.
I see illegal formation ALL THE TIME in the NFL, and as Cak pointed out--it's the staggered line. And it DOES allow the lineman to gain an advantage; particularly if you're pass blocking. It gives you an extra step or two to anticipate the move. I know that it sounds foolish to most, but it actually does allow an unfair advantage to the OL.
I've had coaches try and convince me (in HS games) that as long as the hand of the tight end is in front of the leg of the tackle...and the tackle is in front of the guard...and the guard intersects the center's leg...then it's legal. Bologna!
Now with that said, I'm not familiar w/the way the NFL rule is written, so take it fwiw.
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