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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Sun Nov 12, 2017, 01:45pm
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Legal Pass or Not

Team A sends man in motion. The QB hands the ball in front to the man in motion. Runner stops and throws a halfback pass to the receiver after getting the ball.
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Old Sun Nov 12, 2017, 01:55pm
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Originally Posted by mrerrl View Post
Team A sends man in motion. The QB hands the ball in front to the man in motion. Runner stops and throws a halfback pass to the receiver after getting the ball.
Legal. A handoff is not a pass. I assume a halfback pass is some form of forward pass.

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Old Mon Nov 13, 2017, 01:50pm
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Originally Posted by smileyh View Post
Legal. A handoff is not a pass. I assume a halfback pass is some form of forward pass.
It's legal in major codes, but some of them (NFL, CFL, Football Canada) do define handing the ball as a pass. Those that do just make an exception so as not to count a forward handoff against the number of legal forward passes in a down.
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Old Mon Nov 13, 2017, 04:56pm
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NCAA: you can hand the ball off in any direction behind the line any number of times, and this does not remove the ability to throw a legal forward pass. There are some minor restrictions against handing off to interior linemen, but we won't go over that now. Teams now often "flip" the ball forward to a player coming in front of the QB and that IS a forward pass. I've called 2 illegal forward pass fouls this year in varsity games where that happened. Both coaches said, "they're supposed to hand the ball off; that's legal, right??"

Yes, sir.
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Old Thu Nov 16, 2017, 12:37pm
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Originally Posted by Texas Aggie View Post
Teams now often "flip" the ball forward to a player coming in front of the QB and that IS a forward pass.
It may or may not be. The relative positions of the players as one crosses in front of the other is irrelevant to that determination. You have to see the ball at the time of its release and then again at the time it's next touched. And because NCAA defines a backward pass as one that's not forward, they built in a presumption (which would operate in cases where those facts are not known) that a pass is backward.
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Old Fri Nov 17, 2017, 07:34am
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Originally Posted by Robert Goodman View Post
It may or may not be. The relative positions of the players as one crosses in front of the other is irrelevant to that determination. You have to see the ball at the time of its release and then again at the time it's next touched. And because NCAA defines a backward pass as one that's not forward, they built in a presumption (which would operate in cases where those facts are not known) that a pass is backward.
You're kidding, right? How can a ball flipped forward (toward the opponent's end line) to a player coming in front of the passer be anything other than a forward pass?
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Old Fri Nov 17, 2017, 07:01pm
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Originally Posted by CT1 View Post
You're kidding, right? How can a ball flipped forward (toward the opponent's end line) to a player coming in front of the passer be anything other than a forward pass?
Somebody might describe such a pass as "forward" that technically isn't. And if your view is from behind the player receiving it, his body could easily obscure the release point and/or the point he touches the ball.

If the passer is backing up at the time he releases the ball, a ball that doesn't travel forward thru the air can easily seem to because it can wind up closer to the opposing end line than the passer's hands are -- because the passer's hands moved backward subsequent to the release.

A chest pass is nearly always a forward pass under those circumstances, but an underhand flip in a well-timed jet series often isn't. The distinction is important, as there are teams that deliberately choose the pass over handing the ball on such a play, thinking that if the ball is muffed it'll be dead on hitting the ground. I don't think the game should be made any easier for them just because they want it to be considered a forward pass.

Last edited by Robert Goodman; Fri Nov 17, 2017 at 07:06pm.
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Old Sat Nov 18, 2017, 09:08am
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Well, I'm just a poor dumb WH, but I can tell you that nobody -- NOBODY -- involved (offense, defense, peanut vendor) wants such a pass to be anything but forward. And I don't know of any official who would make such a technical distinction on the field.
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Old Sat Nov 18, 2017, 01:43pm
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Originally Posted by CT1 View Post
Well, I'm just a poor dumb WH, but I can tell you that nobody -- NOBODY -- involved (offense, defense, peanut vendor) wants such a pass to be anything but forward. And I don't know of any official who would make such a technical distinction on the field.
You think the defense doesn't want a shot at recovery if it's muffed?

This is a serious point of trade-off in coaching. There are choices in how to run jet series, trading off deception & speed vs. ease of execution. A high speed handoff like that is hard to execute securely. In discussion at coaching sites, some say to make it a pass, which might actually be easier for some receivers to control, and in addition they want it to be an incomplete forward pass if they don't. But the farther in advance of the receiver's getting it does the ball need to be released, so the longer it hangs in the air & the easier it is for the defense to see the ball's been exchanged rather than being kept. So the coaches advocating this would like to get as much benefit as possible of its being a forward pass, plus as un-obvious a pass as they can get. This may result in the ball's barely getting off the passer's hands slightly into the air.

I'm sorry, but if you want the ball to barely move & yet to be a forward pass, you'd better make sure it doesn't just go straight up when it leaves your hands, but actually forward. Otherwise the officials are making this easier for the offense than it should be.

However, I was wrong about NCAA & Fed each building in a presumption that a pass is backward. NCAA defines a backward pass by exclusion, which by itself makes for a presumption in its favor. However, then NCAA added, "When in question a pass thrown in or behind the neutral zone is forward rather than a backward pass." So now the presumption in NCAA is in favor of the forward pass. Meanwhile Fed defines forward & backward passes separately by the initial direction of the ball, so Fed has no presumption of either in case of doubt.

Last edited by Robert Goodman; Sat Nov 18, 2017 at 01:48pm.
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Old Sat Nov 18, 2017, 02:30pm
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Originally Posted by Robert Goodman View Post
You think the defense doesn't want a shot at recovery if it's muffed? This is a serious point of trade-off in coaching. This may result in the ball's barely getting off the passer's hands slightly into the air.
Are you suggesting, being just a tiny bit pregnant, really doesn't matter? The judgments of whether a pass, is a pass, and whether it's forward or not normally is, and God willing will remain, exclusively in the eye of the covering field official.

At some point we may yet be capable of applying satellite GPS precision to rendering such decisions, but there may not be anyone left watching to care.
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Old Yesterday, 09:22am
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Let me put it this way, Robert: I've NEVER had a defensive coach scream, holler, or otherwise lobby for a muff on such a play. N-E-V-E-R. If they're perfectly willing to accept "incomplete pass" as the result of the play, who are we to say otherwise?

We take enough flack during a game for decisions we make that have a material effect on the outcome without trying to pick this particular nit.
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