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Old Mon Dec 31, 2018, 03:42pm
Robert Goodman Robert Goodman is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2007
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Originally Posted by Rich Ives View Post
Yes - wondering why?
This is one of those things the NFL inherited from the old Football Rules Committee.

Originally the rules were not specific regarding a player's gaining possession of the ball while not touching the ground. There was no special coverage of such situations, which came up so rarely as to hardly affect the game. It was first addressed some time after the forward pass was legalized, originally saying just that the "player" had to touch down in bounds, no body parts specified. Later it was decided it would be easier to see if both feet in bounds were required. If a player landed straddling a boundary, this obviated the need to tell which foot came down first. When the rule was made making the ball dead if a player possessing it touched the ground w some part of the body other than hands or feet, the Football Rules Committee -- unlike the NFL of recent years -- thought it consistent to also rule possession of the ball at that tiime.

After the NFL started making its own rules, they went back to the old rule on a tackle, so that a player on the ground w the ball in his possession was not down unless "so held" by an opponent (altered again later). But they kept the case of possession for a player who caught the ball in the air and then came down w some body part other than hands or feet on the ground. (You probably know about the recent tinkering back & forth on that point by NFL that for a while kept possession in abeyance while action continued out of bounds or with a ball that would be ruled retroactively dead.)

Meanwhile NCAA & Fed revised their rules to make it any body part in bounds -- usually stated as 1 foot, because that's the most common case. So it's back to the original wording of simply contacting the ground, but with an understanding that wasn't necessarily there originally that it really doesn't matter how much or what key parts of the body touch, and trusting a covering official to have quick eyes when body parts touch bang-bang.

Last edited by Robert Goodman; Mon Dec 31, 2018 at 03:44pm.
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