The NFL, in its 2018 rulebook, has made it a 15-yard penalty if a team has anyone clear the field on a snowy day to make it easier for a player to kick a field goal, extra point or kickoff, or to punt.
In a game late last season, the Indianapolis Colts had several players and sideline personnel clear snow off the field to give Adam Vinatieri better footing for a game-tying extra point against the Buffalo Bills.
Vinatieri’s kick was good and sent the game to overtime, where the Bills prevailed.
At the time, the NFL said the Colts violated league rules, but there was no penalty stipulated in the rulebook.
Now, the rulebook has been amended to read: “It is impermissible for the grounds crew or other team personnel to clear away snow for a Try kick, field goal, punt, or kickoff. The penalty would be 15 yards.”
The most infamous such incident came in 1982, when head coach Ron Meyer of the New England Patriots had snowplow operator Mark Henderson drive onto the field to clear the way for John Smith to kick a game-winning field goal against the Miami Dolphins.
Meyer claimed it was quarterback Steve Grogan who suggested the move.
The Patriots won, 3-0, in what has become known as “The Snowplow Game.”