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Football Goaltending Penalty

Football Goaltending Penalty

At 6′ 10″, Morris Stroud is one of the tallest players in NFL history. He played his entire career on the Kansas City Chiefs. Stroud was so tall that he was used on special teams as a field goal blocker from under the goalposts. When the NFL decided to make goaltending illegal, it was known as the Stroud Rule. Let's learn all about goaltending and why it is a penalty in American football.


Goaltending in American football is defined as a player jumping and attempting to swat or deflect the other team's kick as it goes through the goal post. In some situations, if it was clear the ball was going through the posts, the referee will just count the field goal as good, similar to goaltending in basketball. Because it is an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, the most likely situation is that the offense will gain 15 yards and an automatic first down. The offense then continues their drive. The field goal does not need to count if your offense can continue driving for a touchdown. Teams would rather try for seven points than settle for three. Worst case scenario, the offense can always try a shorter field goal later in the drive.


Goaltending15 yards and an automatic first down. Possible chance to count the field goalN/AN/AN/A10 yards and an automatic first down

Penalty Signal

football penalty signal unsportsmanlike conductGoaltending in the NFL is organized in the rulebook under "fouls to prevent score" which falls under unsportsmanlike conduct. This is an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty which means the referee turns their body into a T and then points to the side of the ball that committed the penalty. With this penalty the referee will always point to the defending team because the kicking team would never try to illegally block their own kick.


  • During a long range field goal, a player on the defensive team waits in front of the goalposts waiting for the ball to drop through it. When the ball gets close, the player jumps up and swats it away from the goalposts.
  • During a field goal attempt, a defensive player waits by the goalposts and when the ball is about to go through the posts, they jump up and catch the ball, preventing it from going through.

Similar Penalties To Goaltending