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Old Wed Aug 05, 2009, 01:35pm
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Forward pass, does it need to break plane?

Question about NCAA rules:

Does the ball need to break the plane of the goal line (extended) for a forward pass to be a TD?

Say a receiver catches a pass. His feet are touching the ground in the endzone but his body is outstretched back towards the line of scrimmage. (He was "coming back" to his QB.) Receiver then falls, either into the field of play or across a sideline. Either way, the most forward the ball itself gets is the 2 yard line.

8-2-1-b says it's a TD when "a player catches a forward pass in the opponent's end zone."

Main question: what needs to be in the end zone? The player or the pass?

4-2-4-c (Out of Bounds at Forward Point) partially addresses the issue:

"A receiver who is in the opponent's end zone and contacting the ground is credited with a completion if he reaches over the sideline or end line and catches a a legal pass."

But it doesn't mention what, if anything, happens when a receiver reaches (back) over the goal line.

One could infer that since the entry omitted goal line, then reaching across the goal line can't give the offense a forward point in the end zone.

Personally, I've thought the ball needs to be (or have been) beyond goal line. But I hear divided opinions. And indeed, it's very easy to read 8-2-1-b simply as saying: if a player's in the endzone when he catches a forward pass, it's a TD, regardless of how far the ball made it or where it was when it became dead.
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Old Wed Aug 05, 2009, 01:59pm
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Ball is placed at it's forward point. I has to break the goal line while in player possession. IF instead of the Goal line, you are at the 50, where would you have placed the Ball for the next play?
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Old Wed Aug 05, 2009, 02:11pm
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I agree. And I see your point about the forward point of the ball, especially with regard to a play at midfield.

But using the hypothetical play in the first post, tell me which part of 8-2-1-b has not been satisfied:

A player catches a forward pass in the opponent's end zone.

If the offensive coach said to you: "My player caught a forward pass. He was in the endzone when he did so." What could you specifically point to in the book to refute his claim that the conditions of 8-2-1-b had been met?


What nags me, I suppose, is the wording of 8-2-1-b. If "in the opponent's end zone" is NOT meant to refer to the player (and I agree that it probably doesn't), then the thing it refers to is "a forward pass."

So what, exactly, is a forward pass in the end zone?

If you wanted to define it as a ball that has passed over the goal line (extended), I'd say that's a good definition.

Only problem is there is no such definition--at least none of which I'm aware.

4-2-4-c comes closest, I think. Saying that a receiver in the end zone who reaches over a sideline or the endline is credited with a completion. But still, one would have to make an inference that reaching back over the goal line = not in the endzone.

Last edited by chymechowder; Wed Aug 05, 2009 at 02:13pm. Reason: 4-2-4-c
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Old Wed Aug 05, 2009, 02:32pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chymechowder View Post
I agree. And I see your point about the forward point of the ball, especially with regard to a play at midfield.

But using the hypothetical play in the first post, tell me which part of 8-2-1-b has not been satisfied:

A player catches a forward pass in the opponent's end zone.
The forward pass isn't in the EZ, the player is. The forward pass is at the two. So none of it has been met other than the player catching the ball. It doesn't read "a player in the opponent's EZ catches a forward pass".
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Old Thu Aug 06, 2009, 10:24am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chymechowder View Post
A player catches a forward pass in the opponent's end zone.

If the offensive coach said to you: "My player caught a forward pass. He was in the endzone when he did so." What could you specifically point to in the book to refute his claim that the conditions of 8-2-1-b had been met?
Ask the coach if he remembers diagramming sentences in elementary school.

"A player catches a forward pass in the opponent's end zone."

is not the same as

"A player in the opponent's end zone catches a forward pass."
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Old Thu Aug 06, 2009, 11:47am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chymechowder View Post
If the offensive coach said to you: "My player caught a forward pass. He was in the endzone when he did so." What could you specifically point to in the book to refute his claim that the conditions of 8-2-1-b had been met?
"The forward progress of the ball never broke the plane of the goal line, coach." Would you score a TD on a running play if the RB got spun around by a tackle and backed one foot into EZ, even though the ball never broke the plane?

I had that happen on a 2-point conversion two years ago. Offensive team (on my side) was up big, so it wasn't a tough sell, but in a closer game I imagine that discussion might have gotten a bit more heated.

Last edited by VALJ; Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 11:51am.
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Old Thu Aug 06, 2009, 05:52pm
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I understand it's subject to parsing like "I shot an elephant in my pajamas" or "citizens outraged at police being shot", but if you think about it a bit, why would you parse it inconsistently with the general principle that the position of the ball determines the spot?

This one's easier than the one about the player who catches the ball in the air in the end zone, and lands with it between the goal lines.

Robert
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Old Sat Aug 08, 2009, 09:05pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ref1986 View Post
Ask the coach if he remembers diagramming sentences in elementary school.

"A player catches a forward pass in the opponent's end zone."

is not the same as

"A player in the opponent's end zone catches a forward pass."


Bingo!

First one implies the pass (ball) was in the end zone, then caught. Second one implies the player is in the end zone, then catches a forward pass (wherever).

Well played sir!
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