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Old Thu Nov 08, 2012, 12:04am
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Forward or Backward Pass

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Originally Posted by JasonTX View Post
I agree with Welpe for his NCAA answer. One thing to point out is that a backwards pass IS NOT a fumble. Both of these play situations involve an intentional act. A fumble is not an intentional act.
It might be better if that was the distinction the various codes made, but it's not. Consider a "leave pass" (as it would be called in hockey or probably soccer): a player puts the ball on the ground and runs away from it while a teammate picks it up. That's not a pass but a fumble in the USAn codes, even though it's an intentional act. I've suggested a leave pass as an effective way to not waste a blocker or time in passing the ball; it's not legal in current Fed or NFL codes if done by team A in the vicinity of the snapper, but it could be useful in other circumstances.

Since you've gotten answers to the question for the major USAn & Canadian codes, I'll throw one more code in: Rugby Union (not sure about Rugby League). According to a Usenet discussion that really surprised me over a decade ago -- and several referees as well as fans & players participated -- although there was some dissent, the consensus was that the forward vs. backward pass distinction was according, not to the objective movement of the ball w.r.t. the field, but to the subjective movement of the ball relative to the passer! In other words, if you're moving forward with the ball, and you throw the ball in such a way as to put it behind you initially, then even if the ball continues to travel forward over the ground, it's a backward pass. The opposite, i.e. a forward pass that travels backward over the ground (because of the combined vectors of the passer's body movement before the pass and arm movement during the pass), would be a rare event, but theoretically possible as well.
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Old Sun Nov 11, 2012, 03:00pm
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I take it this was moved here, but unfortunately half of it concerns American football codes:
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Originally Posted by Robert Goodman View Post
It might be better if that was the distinction the various codes made, but it's not. Consider a "leave pass" (as it would be called in hockey or probably soccer): a player puts the ball on the ground and runs away from it while a teammate picks it up. That's not a pass but a fumble in the USAn codes, even though it's an intentional act. I've suggested a leave pass as an effective way to not waste a blocker or time in passing the ball; it's not legal in current Fed or NFL codes if done by team A in the vicinity of the snapper, but it could be useful in other circumstances.
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