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Old Mon Nov 15, 2010, 01:34pm
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Purpose of the beanbag....

I'm not a football official, but do officiate other sports so this question is just to satisfy my curiosity...

What is the purpose of an official tossing a beanbag when there is an apparent fumble? That is the only time I have noticed the beanbag being used. Are there other times that the beanbag is used? Thanks.
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Old Mon Nov 15, 2010, 02:01pm
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The beanbag marks the end of a run. This spot is potentially important for penalty enforcement for fouls that occur before the end of the run.

The beanbag has a number of other uses, for example to mark a spot of first touching of a kick or the end of a kick, also potentially important for penalty enforcement.
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Old Mon Nov 15, 2010, 02:06pm
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It marks an important spot that we may need. In the case of a fumble, we are marking the end of the run. If a foul occured during the run before the fumble we may need that spot to enforce the penalty.

example: facemask on the defense during the run but before the fumble. the enforcment spot is the end of the run. if the offense recovers the ball down field they would decline the penalty. If the defense recovers, we will give the ball back to the offense and penalize from the beanbag.
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Old Mon Nov 15, 2010, 03:01pm
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There are any number of times and situations where an official needs, or may need, to mark a spot and two ways to do so. First would be to stand at the particular spot you need to mark, and when you cannot "stay" at the spot, you need to mark or may need to subsequently reference, to drop a bean bag at the spot to mark it as you continue officiating.

At the professional level the custom is to mark certain out of bounds spots with their hat, rather than a bean bag.
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Old Tue Nov 16, 2010, 12:04am
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More examples.

Under NCAA rules.....

1) if a ball is fumbled forward and it goes out of bounds then that ball is coming back to the spot of the fumble. The rationale being that the offense don't get to make yards by a mistake (that "forward fumble2 might have been deliberate to gain yards). if he fumble was backward and out of bounds, then where it went out. Rationale - you made a mistake, you can lose yards.

2) if it is 4th down or a PAT and the ball is fumbled, only the kid who fumbled it can advance it after a recovery. If one of his teammates recovers it, the play is over and if that recovery spot is ahead of the beanbag, then it is coming back to the beanbagged spot.
I've had that happen to me once in 25 years and of course Murphy's Law said it would make a difference. A teammate recovered it and that was enough yards for a 1st down. Brought it back to the beanbag, not enough yards and turned over to Team B. Team A coach had never heard of that rule, only believed we got it right when I showed it to him in the Rule book after the game.
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Old Tue Nov 16, 2010, 12:32am
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Another Example

The bean babg also is used to enforce the momentum exception (defense intercepts, recovers fumble, or catches kick near their own goal line, and the momentum carries them into own end zone) and marks the spot of recovery. Should defender end up downed in own end zone (assuming he did not come out of end zone and re-enter it), they get the ball at the spot of recovery.
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Old Tue Nov 16, 2010, 12:33am
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My first post and I spell bag "babg". Nice job elephant fingers!
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Old Tue Nov 16, 2010, 12:14pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by With_Two_Flakes View Post
More examples.

Under NCAA rules.....

1) if a ball is fumbled forward and it goes out of bounds then that ball is coming back to the spot of the fumble. The rationale being that the offense don't get to make yards by a mistake (that "forward fumble2 might have been deliberate to gain yards). if he fumble was backward and out of bounds, then where it went out. Rationale - you made a mistake, you can lose yards.

2) if it is 4th down or a PAT and the ball is fumbled, only the kid who fumbled it can advance it after a recovery. If one of his teammates recovers it, the play is over and if that recovery spot is ahead of the beanbag, then it is coming back to the beanbagged spot.
I've had that happen to me once in 25 years and of course Murphy's Law said it would make a difference. A teammate recovered it and that was enough yards for a 1st down. Brought it back to the beanbag, not enough yards and turned over to Team B. Team A coach had never heard of that rule, only believed we got it right when I showed it to him in the Rule book after the game.
One play I've wondered about for a long time as to how it'd be officiated, since #2 above was adopted, is a desperation no-look backward pass. Does it count as a pass or a fumble if a player being tackled lets the ball go backward in a haphazard way, and it hits the ground? Do you rule that to be throwing the ball, hence a pass, or some other loss of possession, hence a fumble? I guess what I'm really looking for is whether the benefit of the doubt (as to whether the motion of the ball is a throw) goes to the player getting rid of the ball or the opponents, when the 4th down funble rule is a consideration. Is it the same amount of presumption as would be the case for distinguishing between an illegal forward pass and a fumble, or different?
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Old Tue Nov 16, 2010, 01:42pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Goodman View Post
One play I've wondered about for a long time as to how it'd be officiated, since #2 above was adopted, is a desperation no-look backward pass. Does it count as a pass or a fumble if a player being tackled lets the ball go backward in a haphazard way, and it hits the ground? Do you rule that to be throwing the ball, hence a pass, or some other loss of possession, hence a fumble? I guess what I'm really looking for is whether the benefit of the doubt (as to whether the motion of the ball is a throw) goes to the player getting rid of the ball or the opponents, when the 4th down funble rule is a consideration. Is it the same amount of presumption as would be the case for distinguishing between an illegal forward pass and a fumble, or different?
Backwards pass, whether purposely thrown or not, is a lateral (aka:fumble) and is a live ball. If the QB's arm would be going forward, but the ball backwards...it is a fumble by rule. Whatever takes place during the loose ball fumble on 4th down would dictate where the ball was placed to start a new series for A. Illegal forward pass carries loss of down, so if the ball was thrown forward beyond LOS, or for grounding, etc...B would take over on downs, provided no penalties against them during the play....siting NFHS.
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Old Tue Nov 16, 2010, 02:46pm
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In addition to what everyone has said, I'll also add that the NFL bean bags all interceptions for use as an enforcement spot.
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Old Tue Nov 16, 2010, 02:58pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Goodman View Post
One play I've wondered about for a long time as to how it'd be officiated, since #2 above was adopted, is a desperation no-look backward pass. Does it count as a pass or a fumble if a player being tackled lets the ball go backward in a haphazard way, and it hits the ground? Do you rule that to be throwing the ball, hence a pass, or some other loss of possession, hence a fumble? I guess what I'm really looking for is whether the benefit of the doubt (as to whether the motion of the ball is a throw) goes to the player getting rid of the ball or the opponents, when the 4th down funble rule is a consideration. Is it the same amount of presumption as would be the case for distinguishing between an illegal forward pass and a fumble, or different?
A very good philosophy question.

The NCAA rules are pretty clear about what is a fumble (2-10-1 "any act other than passing, kicking or successful handing") and what is a pass (2-19-1 "Passing the ball is throwing it").

The Rules do not appear to require that there be a receipient of the backward pass, 7-2-1 "A ball carrier may hand or pass the ball backward at any time, except to throw the ball deliberately OOB to conserve time".

The 4th down fumble rules specifically address fumbles, but not backward passes. If you are covering this play you have to decide - did the kid deliberately throw a backward pass or did the ball simply pop out.

The one time (mentioned earlier in this thread) that I've had this play happen to me, it was clearly a fumble and the ball happened to bounce forwards to where it was recovered by a Team A teammate. So it was an easy call.

To be honest I have no real clue which way I would lean if I didn't know whether the act was deliberate or not. I think I would probably err on the side of a fumble...
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Old Tue Nov 16, 2010, 05:16pm
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Originally Posted by Canned Heat View Post
Backwards pass, whether purposely thrown or not, is a lateral (aka:fumble) and is a live ball.
What? How can a backwards pass be a fumble when the definition of a fumble is "any loss of player possession other than by handing, passing or legal kick"? It says right there that a pass isn't a fumble. Backward pass (no S on the end) is also defined. They are completely different acts. And how is a lateral also known as a fumble? I thought lateral was a made up word for a backward pass. Just another reason why you should not be using made up undefined terms when explaining the rules.

In NCAA rules backward passes and fumbles are treated very differently. As you can see on this play it was 4th down and a backward pass was thrown which hit the ground. It was then recovered by A (someone other than the player who threw the pass) and advanced past the line to gain.



Fumbles on 4th down can't be advanced by someone else but a backward pass is different.
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Old Tue Nov 16, 2010, 05:26pm
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Thanks, guys.....

After I posted the question, I found a few threads on the topic....so I should have looked first. Oh well.....
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Old Tue Nov 16, 2010, 08:20pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy View Post
I'm not a football official, but do officiate other sports so this question is just to satisfy my curiosity...

What is the purpose of an official tossing a beanbag when there is an apparent fumble? That is the only time I have noticed the beanbag being used. Are there other times that the beanbag is used? Thanks.
CANADIAN MECHANIC:

The bean bag could be used for:

- point of fumble
- point of recovery
- point of possession (after a KO or punt)
- point of offside pass
- point where QB releases when grounding the ball
- other spots to remember
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Last edited by JugglingReferee; Tue Nov 16, 2010 at 08:22pm.
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Old Tue Nov 16, 2010, 10:21pm
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NCAA bean bags:

-- most fumbles (behind the LOS it isn't necessary unless near the OOB area)
-- illegal touches by kicking team
-- end of scrimmage kick
-- end of free kick if inside 5 and momentum takes into end zone
-- interception if inside 5 and momentum takes into end zone

There may be some more I'm not remembering right now. Back Judges usually carry 2 bags as they will often have both an illegal touch and end of kick. As an R, I rarely throw one.
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