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Danland Fri Nov 25, 2005 10:02am

So while I was enjoying the football games yesterday a play came up that brought up some controversy. Maybe someone can help.

Regarding touchbacks - My friends argue that when "team A" punts the ball and recovers the ball on the 1 yard line the ball is down there regardless of whether the player's body crosses the goal line and touches the end zone. Let me be clear - the ball is on the 1 yard line but the player inadvertantly swipes his right hand across the goal line while cradling the ball in his left.

I think this should be a touchback because a part of the players body is touching the EZ - they argue that it doesn't matter where the player's body is only where the ball is.

Second question: What constitutes a downed ball, just touching it by the punting team or does the punting team have to control it for it to be down.

For instance Team A punts the ball and the punting team tries to down the ball at the three yard line, but they inadvertantly kick the ball into the EZ, is the ball down at the 3 or is a TB? What if the ball came to rest on the 1 and was then controlled. Is the ball on the 1 yard line or the 3 yard line?

Can someone help us straighten out this mess?

Thank you so much and have a great Thanksgiving weekend.

[Edited by Danland on Nov 25th, 2005 at 03:45 PM]

Dommer1 Fri Nov 25, 2005 10:12am

To give you a slightly oversimplified answer:

NFL goes by the position of the player: Touchback.

NCAA goes by the position of the ball: Dead at the 1.

ljudge Fri Nov 25, 2005 11:07am

Federation answers:

As soon as an A player ("K") catches or recovers a kick beyond the neutral zone the ball becomes dead immediately. In contrast to the NFL the K player in fed can have part of his body in the endzone. In other words, the K player can be standing just inside R's goalline and extend his hands out into the field of play and catch a punt. This is NOT a touchback because the kick never penetrated the plane of R's goal line.

In yesterday's Dallas v. Denver game I believe Austin correctly ruled on the play. If I recall the play correctly the kick became dead so even if the player in the EZ subsequently touched the ball it couldn't be a TB.

Now let's address the inadvertent kick. If the K player inadvertently kicks the ball and it crosses the goalline it's still considered to be the scrimmage kick and also force is never a factor in kicks entering R's endzone. So this would be a touchback.

On your last question I'm a little confused in how you phrased it so I'll give you two correct, and complete answers.

If the ball is touched by K at the 3 and then controlled at the 1 it immediately becomes dead at the 1. Team R however may take the ball at the 3 because that is the spot of first touching.

If the ball is flat out first touched and recovered at the 1 (never touched at the 3) then it's R's ball at his own 1.

Now I have a question: How much money was lost on this bet between you and your buddy? And, can I have 1/2?

Happy Holidays!

BktBallRef Fri Nov 25, 2005 12:04pm


Originally posted by Dommer1
To give you a slightly oversimplified answer:

NFL goes by the position of the player: Touchback.

NCAA goes by the position of the ball: Dead at the 1.

NFHS goes by the position of the ball: Dead at the 1.

Danland Fri Nov 25, 2005 03:40pm

Thank you for your prompt responses. You have fully answered our question and yes I was right! My take from the bet was a cool nickel (5 cents) - You can expect a check in the mail (LOL). Thanks again for your clear and concise answers.
Best Regards,

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