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voiceoflg Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:18am

Another end zone rationale question
 
I saw both situations in a game. The correct ruling was administered, but I'm curious as to the "why."

62 yard TD run and the ball carriers launches himself and does a mid-air somersault into the end zone. When he comes down, the ball becomes dislodged after hitting the ground. 15 yard USC penalty, but the TD stands.

Later that game a 20 yard pass into the end zone. Same player that made the earlier TD dives for the ball, grabs it, pulls it into his body, then hits the ground where the ball becomes dislodged. Incomplete pass. He had as much control of the ball after the catch as he did when somersaulting into the end zone on the run.

The officials called it right by the rule book, AFAIK, but I'm curious why the running play is a TD but the pass play is an incomplete pass. What's the reason behind those rules?

RadioBlue Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:41am

Quote:

Originally Posted by voiceoflg (Post 636385)
I saw both situations in a game. The correct ruling was administered, but I'm curious as to the "why."

62 yard TD run and the ball carriers launches himself and does a mid-air somersault into the end zone. When he comes down, the ball becomes dislodged after hitting the ground. 15 yard USC penalty, but the TD stands.

Later that game a 20 yard pass into the end zone. Same player that made the earlier TD dives for the ball, grabs it, pulls it into his body, then hits the ground where the ball becomes dislodged. Incomplete pass. He had as much control of the ball after the catch as he did when somersaulting into the end zone on the run.

The officials called it right by the rule book, AFAIK, but I'm curious why the running play is a TD but the pass play is an incomplete pass. What's the reason behind those rules?

As soon as a runner with posession breaks the plane of the goal-line with the ball, it is a touchdown. Nothing that happens after that can change that.

In your pass play sitch, the player is required to maintain possession after returning to the ground.

2-4-1
Quote:

A catch is the act of establishing player possession of a live ball which is in flight, and first contacting the ground inbounds or being contacted by an opponent in such a way that he is prevented from returning to the ground inbounds while maintaining possession of the ball.

mbyron Mon Nov 16, 2009 12:14pm

That's actually 2-4-1 (with hyphens to denote a rule, rather than dots to denote a case).

And yes, that answers voice's question: the runner has possession as the ball breaks the plane, but the receiver must demonstrate possession after coming down with the ball in order to make a catch.

To put it differently: on the running play, the ball is dead once the ball breaks the plane of the EZ, hence no fumble. On the pass play, the ball is not dead until it is caught in the EZ, which doesn't happen until after the player returns to the ground with possession.

Bullycon Mon Nov 16, 2009 01:17pm

It's important to recognize that these are two distinct rules for each of these two plays. In the first play, the question is, "Is the ball live or dead?"

Rule 4-2-2 lists the events which cause a live ball to become dead. Among these are:
a. When a runner goes out of bounds, is held so his forward progress is stopped or allows any part of his person other than hand or foot to touch the ground.
h. When any score occurs.

Rule 8-2-1a: "It is a touchdown when a runner advances from the field of play so that the ball penetrates the vertical plane of the opponent's goal line."

A player with possession of the ball is a runner. The ball penetrated the plane of the goal line during the somersault. Touchdown. Per 4-2-2h, the bal is dead. Say he mistimed his jump and came down at the 2-yard line. When he touched the ground with possession of the ball, the ball is dead per 4-2-2a. The fact that the ball comes out immediately afterwards is irrelevant.

For your second play, the question is, "Did the receiver catch the ball?"

Rule 2-4-1 has been quoted here. Since the receiver did not maintain possession after going to the ground, he did not complete the catch. Without a catch, there is no possession and therefore no runner. Therefore, 4-2-2a, 4-2-2h and 8-2-1a do not apply. When the ball touches the ground, it is an incomplete pass.

I wish they would change 2-4-1 to reflect the difference between control and possession. While the receiver controlled the ball in the air, he did not officially have possession until he landed on the ground while keeping control.


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