How Morris Stroud's Height Resulted in a NFL Rule Change

Published on November 1st, 2023 5:52 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

The Stroud Rule in the NFL explained.  The story of the extremely tall player Morris Stroud. Morris Stroud was a physical specimen.

In fact, Morris Stroud was such a physical specimen that he was drafted in the third round of the 1969 NFL Draft, despite having precious little football experience.

Stroud's height - he stood 6'10 - and his jumping ability would ultimate result in a permanent change to the NFL rulebook.


Morris Stroud would play in the NFL for six seasons.

His career as a tight end was unremarkable - he would finish his time in the NFL with 977 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns.

Stroud would make a much bigger impression on special teams, where Kansas City would use his height and jumping ability to their advantage.


You see, the Chiefs had the genius idea to position Stroud directly under the goalposts on opposition field goal attempts.

Stroud had one simple instruction - jump and try to block the field goals from going through the uprights.

Sure, many of the field goals would be out of his reach.

Longer field goals, however, that just barely made it through the uprights? Stroud would leap up and swat the ball away, and there was nothing in the NFL rules to prevent Stroud from doing this.


Opposing teams cried foul, saying that this was a blatantly unfair football play.

The NFL agreed and adopted Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1, which became known as the "Stroud Rule".

The Stroud Rule reads like this:

"Goal tending by any player leaping up to deflect a kick as it passes above the crossbar of a goal post is prohibited. The referee may award 3 points for a palpably unfair act".

So, just like goaltending is against the rules in basketball, so it is also against the rules in football.


Stroud had a fairly unremarkable NFL career, though he changed the game forever.

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