The Cardinals' 'clap snap' gets called for more false start penalties

Yahoo Sports

After Kyler Murray got called for two false-start penalties on a “clap snap” last week, Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said he’d been in contact with the NFL and they had “great conversations” about it.

Apparently, more great conversations are in order before the regular season.

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Late in the first half, right after Brett Hundley replaced Murray, officials quickly called two false-start penalties on Hundley. Each seemed to be related to the clap that signals to the center to snap the ball, something that is becoming common in college football but not the NFL.

This is how the Cardinals start offensive plays, and they have to worry about giving up five yards at inopportune times when officials interpret it as an illegal move.

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury talks with officials during a preseason game. (AP)
Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury talks with officials during a preseason game. (AP)

Brett Hundley called for false start

On Hundley’s first play, he motioned from the shotgun as if he was going to clap, then stopped. A whistle came after he lifted his leg, another signal for the snap. That’s nothing new to the NFL. It was called a false start, though no explanation was given for what Hundley did to deserve it.

Shortly after Hundley clapped from the shotgun, as usual for the Cardinals. Then he lifted his leg. The whistle came just as Hundley was lifting his leg, and appeared to be a delayed reaction to the sudden clap, not the leg lift. No explanation was given.

Offensive players in the NFL can’t make abrupt movements to draw the defense offsides. That draws a false start penalty. It is incredibly rare to see a quarterback get called for a false start. But it is becoming a regular occurrence for the Cardinals.

You won’t see a team’s official social media account chime in on officiating too often, but ...

Cardinals have to figure out ‘clap snap’

The Cardinals are presumably frustrated by the interpretation of the “clap snap.” It has been interpreted differently depending on the officiating crew.

Arizona needs to figure out a solution and fast. They can’t go into the regular season not having a firm grasp on whether their preferred method of calling for the snap is going to cost them five yards.

We knew there would be adjustments for the Cardinals with rookie NFL head coach Kingsbury. We didn’t know one of those adjustments would be how to snap the ball legally.

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

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