Defenses are allowed one blitz per four downs. A blitz allows any number of defensive players to charge in without first counting to "4 Mississippi", as long as someone audibly shouts "BLITZ!". The player blitzing does not have to shout, but at least one defensive player on the field must shout it. Blitzing without yelling the word "BLITZ!" is a penalty (8 paces and automatic first down).

Fake or phantom blitzes are legal. Defenses can yell "Blintz!" or "Bits!" or "Shlitz" without actually blitzing (beer references are encouraged) in order to scare the offense into doing something stupid. Additionally, the defense can yell "Blitz" and not rush in, although they then lose their blitz for those four downs. Essentially, uttering the word "blitz" constitutes the use of the blitz play.

Defenses can also have a delayed blitz where they begin counting the Mississippi Count but then blitz mid-count.

An accepted penalty which re-plays the down allows the defense to blitz again.


  • If the quarterback is directly under center (for a direct snap), defenders cannot reach across the line of scrimmage for a tag, even on a blitz. The defender must move his feet across the LOS before tagging.
  • No blitzes are allowed on 2-point conversions or X-Point Plays
  • Crossing the line of scrimmage without a valid count (example: crossing early before counting to 4 Misissippi) is an "illegal blitz" penalty: 8 paces and automatic first down.

Last updated: Jan.08.2017