Eligible Receiver In Football 

On a football field, each team has 11 players, and each one of them has a certain role or duty during plays. The objective of the offence is to run the ball and catch passes that the quarterback throws, however only certain players on the field are authorized to receive passes.

Football Eligible Receiver do?

In football, a player who is qualified to receive a pass is known as an Eligible Receiver. Quarterbacks, defensive backs, wide receivers, and members of the defense are some of these players that are frequently used. Offensive linemen are another group of non-eligible receivers; although, most of them can change their status.

What an Eligible Receiver is, who may be an Eligible Receiver, and how the NFL and NCAA define eligible receivers are all covered in this article. We’ll also discuss the distinction between an eligible and an ineligible receiver as well as how an ineligible receiver might prepare or perform as an Eligible Receiver.

What does a Eligible Receiver mean in Football ?

Football players who really are legally permitted to receive a pass during a play are known as Eligible Receivers. There may be a maximum of 17 eligible receivers on each play, with 11 on defense and 6 on offense. 

Therefore, not every player on the field qualifies as a receiver. Their eligibility is determined by their position, jersey number, or where they line up to begin a play, as well as whether they are on offensive or defence.

The play must be started by a player in one of the eligible spots, which are either behind the scrimmage line or at one of the line of scrimmage’s ends. 

If they identify themselves to the officials and queue up in an authorized position, players who are ineligible by default can modify their availability on each play. The eligible and ineligible players are described in the next section.

Which Players are Eligible Receiver ?

Only a few spots have the opportunity to obtain the ball. No of their role or jersey number, every defensive player is a qualified receiver, as we’ll demonstrate in the following section. 

However, not every offensive player is a qualified receiver. Quarterbacks, tight ends, fullbacks, and quarterbacks are among the receivers that are eligible.

Additionally, in order to qualify for a certain play, they should line up in a particular manner before the start of each play. They can be at minimum one yard behind the scrimmage line or on the ends of the of scrimmage. 

The quarterbacks are nearly always ineligible, but if they identify themselves to the officials at the start of a play, they could become eligible receivers.

Eligible Receiver Number 

Any jersey number outside of 50 through 79 that is eligible for receiving status in the NFL. A player with a number in this range, however, has the option of declaring themselves an eligible receiver by taking up position at the end of the line or in the backside at least a yard behind the scrimmage line. and telling the referee before the snap of their intention.

Rules of Eligibility 

In American football, transferring the ball is one of the most common techniques to move it forward. The passing game of a football team is important to its success, but you can’t just hand it off to any teammate.Which players are permitted to grab the ball and which ones are not is governed by certain regulations. These regulations’ primary goal is to offer the defense a reasonable opportunity to defend against the passing game by reducing the number of offensive players who can catch the ball.

A penalty is assessed to an ineligible receiver who catches a forward pass. Illegal touching is the name of the infraction, which costs the offender five yards and a lost down. The NCAA, CFL, and NFL all apply the same punishment. Defensemen are always qualified receivers.

Rules Of NCAA

In the NCAA, a player’s jersey number and location on the field at the time the ball is snapped serve as the determining factors for eligibility as a receiver. Attacking players with jersey numbers between 50 and 79 are always ineligible. Only those offensive players who meet one of the following criteria are eligible: either they are quarterbacks, running backs, or tight ends who are in the back of the pack on the defensive line, or they receive a kick from behind the centre (usually the quarterback).

Rules Of NFL

The offensive team in the NFL is required to have seven men lined up along the line of scrimmage, but only two of the teams at each end of the line—are Eligible Receivers. There can be up to four backfield players in the NFL and five backfield players in the CFL. Unless the quarterback is set up in the I-formation, often referred to as the T-formation, in which case he is disqualified.

Eligible Receivers must don specific jersey numbers, much like in the NCAA. A player should be wearing whatever number that does not fall between 50 and 79 in order to be an eligible receiver. There are no exclusions unless a player informs the official that they will be lining up in a position that is eligible with the intention of receiving a forward pass.

Even if they returned to the field of play using their feet or another part of the body, NFL wide receivers may be declared disqualified if they leave the area before or during a throw. If a defender pushes the receiving player out of bounds before the catch, as long as they promptly re-enter the field of play, this rule is not applicable.

Rules Of CFL

With a few minor exceptions, the eligibility standards for receivers in the CFL and NFL are nearly identical. All qualifying players must wear jersey numbers that are outside of the range of 50 to 69. Additionally, players beyond the scrimmage line are not required to stay still when the ball is snapped and are free to move in any direction before the snap.


This article will cover all you need to know about Eligible Receiver in Football, including who are actually Eligible Receiver and also what is the rules behind the Eligible Receiver. I really hope you learned a lot from this essay.

ALSO READ :- Special Team Positions 

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