Football Chop Block

Football Chop Block

A chop block is a penalty in football that is called on an offensive player when they block a defensive player, who is engaged with another offensive player, below the thigh. The chop block is illegal due to the extreme risk of injury surrounding the move. A player will be penalized 15 yards for a chop block.


A chop block penalty, also known as a high/low double-team block, in football is called if two or more players on the offense (blockers) block the same player on the defense. One offensive player will block the defensive player at or below the thigh, while another offensive player will block above the waist.

A chop block is not called if the defensive player is the one to make first contact with the offensive player. Chop blocks are also not called on offensive players if they are actively trying to evade the defensive player.

The chop block is illegal due to the extreme risk of injury surrounding the move, especially to defensive players and their lower body. In 2012, Houston Texans player Brian Cushing was injured due to a chop block in a game against the New York Jets, which sparked a major debate about chop blocks and the danger that they pose to the players. Before the 2016 season, chop blocks were legal under certain circumstances, but are now banned.


The result of a chop block penalty in football is 15 yards.

PenaltyNFLNCAACFLHigh School FootballArena Football League
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Penalty Signal

On the penalty signal for a chop block the referee will swing their arms down towards the top of their knee and below the waist.


  • Two offensive players block a defensive player, one above the waist and the other at or below the thigh.
  • Reverse Chop: one offensive player blocks at the thigh or below while another blocker chops the same player above the waist.
  • Lure: a blocker chops the defensive player while another blocker immediately or soon after blocks high.