Why is tripping illegal in the NFL as refs call foul in Packers vs 49ers?

Joshua Rogers September 27, 2021
Why is tripping illegal in the NFL as refs call foul in Packers vs 49ers?
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

During the Green Bay Packers’ recent victory over the San Francisco 49ers, NFL refs called a tripping foul on safety Adrian Amos. Fans were surprised at the call, admitting they didn’t know it was a rule while wondering why tripping is illegal in the NFL.

Refs call tripping foul in Green Bay vs 49ers game

The Green Bay Packers edged a thrilling encounter against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night.

The Packers led 17-0, but the 49ers found themselves one point ahead with only 37 seconds left.

Mason Crosby then kicked a game-winning 51-yard field goal as time expired, giving Green Bay the 30-28 victory.

However, one incident during the game caused a stir on social media, as Packers safety Adrian Amos was called for a tripping foul on 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Fans react to tripping call on Amos

Many fans took to Twitter to share their thoughts, admitting they didn’t even know tripping was illegal in the NFL.

Some knew about the call but declared it ‘egregious’, while others were surprised the refs bothered to call a seemingly minor foul.

Why is tripping illegal in the NFL?

After the foul was called, many questioned why tripping is illegal in the NFL.

If the aim is to take the QB down, tripping seems a logical and legitimate way of doing so.

However, as defined by the 2019 NFL Rulebook (Rule 3, Section 40): “Tripping is the use of the leg or foot to obstruct any opponent (including a runner).”

Rule 12, Section 1, Article 8 makes tripping a prohibited act.

The reason is likely due to the prevention of injuries, in the same way clothes-line and shoulder tackles under the face mask are illegal.

It could also result in a serious injury to the person committing the foul, who could have his leg stamped on or broken.

Other have hypothesised it could be down to rewarding the skill of blocking, rather than tripping.

Whatever the case, it seems an unpopular rule many fans weren’t even aware of.

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
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Joshua is a Senior Sports Writer at GRV Media with over five years of experience in online writing and editing. After receiving a BA (Hons) in Ancient History and an MA in Sports Journalism, he became a writer for a leading social publisher with over 7 million Facebook followers. Joshua then joined Reach PLC, covering the 2018 World Cup for The Mirror Online and regional publications like the Liverpool Echo. He then moved to a social media marketing agency and content studio, Brave Bison, acting as Website Editor for The Hook. Joshua now oversees all sports content on The Focus, specializing in NBA, NFL, F1, and tennis, while also keeping a close eye on his beloved Manchester United.