Originally Posted by s0phr0syne
This is a total n00b question but it's something I haven't understood despite watching football for so long now:
Obviously, I understand the penalty for defense having 11+ players on the field AT THE SNAP. What I don't get it is when well in advance of the snap, there is a penalty for defense having too many on the field? In what circumstances is this illegal such that there is a penalty BEFORE THE SNAP? Broncos seem to have had this called against us a few times this season, and I don't think I get when the penalty is called at the snap versus whistling the play dead well in advance.
The new rule is that if the defense lines up with 12 men on the field it's a penalty at that point if no player is obviously attempting to get off the field once the offense is set. This is a dead-ball penalty.
If a player is attempting to get off the field the referee will allow the play to run and the rule will be enforced as before.