WarTiger

Football Rules and Interpretations

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I've been doing this thread for several years and we seem to always have good discussion on this.  Since our officiating association has started meeting and JMR has put up his first pod cast of the season, I thought it only right to go ahead and start this thread.   The first post here will deal with some (what most would consider) basic terminology.  But, its terminology that is often misused/misapplied by announcers or they simply don't even know about it.   So, let's start with some extreme basics today and later I'll get some actual plays up for us to discuss.

 

Free Blocking zone = Tackle box in college.  It extends 4 yards laterally on each side of the ball then 3 yards vertically in front of and behind the ball.   (see picture below)  Everything in there is legal but with limitations.  Blocking below the waist, and blocks in the back are legal in the free blocking zone (or tackle box0 provided they happen under the following conditions.  1. It has to be on the players initial charge.  Any delay prior to the block and its illegal.   2.  The ball has to be in the zone when the block occurs.  3.  BOTH the offensive player and the defensive player MUST BE IN THE ZONE at the snap.  Once the ball is out of the zone, those blocks are no longer legal.       The free blocking zone/tackle box for both high school and college ends when the ball leaves the zone.  

image.png

 

 

 

Illegal blocks.   Blocking below the waist and blocks in the back apply equally to both offense and defense.  Rarely will you see it called on the defense but its still illegal.    Blocking below the waist is ALWAYS illegal in high school EXCEPT in the free blocking zone above.    In college the rule is much more convoluted.  Blocking below the waist is legal provided the block is from the front (10 oclock to 2 oclock) and within 5 yards (beyond) the of the line of scrimmage.  If its toward the inside of the field its an illegal block.  Blocking below the waist further down field is now illegal in college.  Blocking below the waist is ILLEGAL by anybody after a change of possession during the down.

Pass Interference – Defensive players have equal right to the ball.  In high school there is no such thing as an uncatchable pass.    The penalty enforcement on this from high school to college is very different.    In college, if the pass interference occurs less than 15 yards from the original line of scrimmage, the penalty is what’s called a spot foul, meaning the ball is placed at the spot of the interference and its an automatic first down.  IF the penalty occurs further than 15 yards downfield from the line of scrimmage, then it’s a 15 yard penalty  from the original line of scrimmage (previous spot) and a 1st down.     In high school all Pass Interference penalties are 15 yards from the previous spot.  HOWEVER, a penalty for defensive pass interference no longer carries an automatic first down.  If the previous down was 3rd and 20 and there is a DPI penalty called, the next play would be 3rd and 5.    It’s also no longer a loss of down for offensive pass interference either.  Contact is required for there to be pass interference.  Face guarding is no longer pass interference in high school football (rule change from 2 years ago.

MUFF vs. FUMBLE – These are two terms that are often misused and in the case of the muff rarely used at all, particularly by announcers.   So, what’s the difference?   MUFF – TOUCHING the ball in an attempt to secure possession (kick returner//punt returner).   FUMBLE – losing the ball AFTER possession has been established. 

Free kicks (kickoffs) – It’s now illegal for the kicking team to block the receiving team before the kicking team is eligible to recover the kick.      In high school it’s illegal for the kicking team to catch the kicked ball in flight.  (KICK CATCHING INTERFERENCE).    In both college and High school, the kicking team cannot advance the ball until the kick ends.  When does the kick end??  It ends when its POSSESSED by a member of the receiving team or kicking team.   IF a member of the receiving team TOUCHES the kick, the kick is NOT OVER.  The kicking team can now legally recover the ball and retain possession but they CANNOT ADVANCE IT.   This applies to free kicks and scrimmage kicks (Kickoffs and punts).     Onside kicks, the kicking team can recover the kick and retain possession once either the kick travels 10 yards OR the receiving team touches the kick.  That same kick CANNOT be advanced by the kickers.  The ball is dead where they gained possession.

Still on kicks.   What is First touching or ILLEGAL TOUCHING.    First the terms mean the same thing.  First touching is the high school term for it and Illegal touching is the college term.    Neither one carries a distance penalty.   So what is first/illegal touching.   It’s basically the touching of a scrimmage kick or free kick by the kicking team before they are legally allowed to touch it.   For example.  On a kickoff from the 40 (high school) 35 (college), the kicking team touches it after it travel 5 yards from the respective kick off location.     Now, what does it mean?  It means the receiving team can advance the ball basically without consequence.   In other words, if they return the kick for a touchdown, the TD will count and we’ll move on to the try for point.  IF however, the receiving team returns the kick (after the touching) and subsequently fumbles and the kicking team recovers it, then the receiving team can take the result of the play (which they won’t since they lost possession) OR they can take the ball 1st and 10 at the spot of the illegal touching.    Can there be more than one spot of illegal/first touching? Yes. 

 

 

 

Intentional grounding:  We see on the college game that once the QB is outside the tackle box (see first note above concerning the tackle box) that the QB can legally throw the ball away to save lost yardage, provided the throw went passed the line of scrimmage.  However, this rule is NOT in place in the high school game.   There’s no such provision in high school to allow the QB to legally throw the ball away to avoid lost yardage.    Also, in college where this rule is in effect, this rule ONLY applies to the player that took the snap.  In other words, if a QB takes the snap, hands to the RB where he is supposed to pull up and throw the ball downfield, the RB that now has the ball cannot legally throw the ball away to save lost yardage.  That’s Intentional Grounding.

Penalties on scoring plays.   In high school if the defense commits a penalty during a play in which the offense scores, the penalty on that play is no longer automatically declined.  The offense has the option of enforcing that penalty on the try for point OR on the succeeding kick off. 

 

Eligible receivers:   This is a very easy thing to understand.   Who’s eligible to go down field and catch a forward pass?   There are several factors when it comes to being eligible to go down field and catch a pass.  1.  You MUST be numbered 1-49 OR 80-99.     If you are numbered 50-79 you are PERMANENTLY INELIGIBLE to go down field for a pass.  Nothing else matters, you are permanently ineligible.    Now, if you have the right number, then you have to be either in the backfield OR on the end of the line. 

 

Horsecollar tackle – prohibits players from grabbing the INSIDE back or side of the shoulder pads OR jersey of the runner and subsequently pulling that opponent to the ground.  Effective 2017, this now includes the name plate area of the jersey in addition to the inside back or side collar of the jersey or shoulder pads

Targeting.  Any contact above the shoulders against a defenseless player.   The contact does NOT have to be helmet to helmet.  It’s any contact to an opponent ABOVE The shoulders.   Ignore the announcers when they start discussing rule interpretations.  They are usually wrong.

On a fumbled ball.  Here’s a rule many may not know about.   If on 1st, 2nd or 3rd down the offense fumbles and the ball stays inbounds, either team can recover and advance.   However, if its 4th down and the ball is fumbled in advance of the runner, then anybody can recover it, but if the offense recovers it and it wasn’t the player that fumbled it to begin with, the ball still belongs to the offense but returns to the spot of the fumble.     IF the player that actually fumbled the ball, does in fact recover it, it remains where he recovered his own fumble.       If on any down the offense fumbles the ball and it goes out of bounds in advance of the spot of the fumble, then the ball belongs to the offense and is returned to the spot of the fumble. 

 

 

Momentum/Impetus rule:  This is one that we really don't see very often even given the massive number of games on every weekend, but its there, so I'm going to cover it a bit here.   What is momentum/Impetus and how is it applied.  It is only in effect from the 5 yard line to the goal line and only in one direction (TO THE GOAL LINE).  If a player recovers a fumble, catches a kick or intercepts a pass and he is between his own 5 yard line and the goal line AND his momentum takes him into the endzone where he is tackled or otherwise down, the ball will return to the spot of the catch, or recovery.     His momentum HAS to be responsible for him going into the endzone.  If he fields the ball or catches it flat footed for instance and retreats into the endzone on his own and is tackled there, it will be safety.    Kicks, fumbles, interceptions recovered in the field of play and momentum taking them to the endzone will NEVER be a touchback.  It will return to the spot of the catch/recover or if momentum wasn't the cause of him being in the endzone, it will result in a safety.  It will only be a touchback if actually caught or recovered in the endzone and remains in the endzone at the end of the down.

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First of all, thanks for all that info.

5 hours ago, WarTiger said:

Once the ball is out of the zone, those blocks are no longer legal.

So on a shotgun snap, are all those blocks illegal if initial contact hasn't been made before the ball clears the 4 yard barrier?

5 hours ago, WarTiger said:

Blocking below the waist is legal provided the block is from the front (10 oclock to 2 oclock) and within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage.

So if Stidham is in shotgun at 5 yards behind the LOS, and drops 5 more yards, and Kam Martin cuts a blitzer at the knees at say anywhere from 6 to 9 yards before he sacks Stidham, it's a penalty for illegal block?

 

5 hours ago, WarTiger said:

Targeting.  Any contact above the shoulders against a defenseless player.

What are the criteria to be a defenseless player? Is a ball carrier ever defenseless?

5 hours ago, WarTiger said:

If on any down the offense fumbles the ball and it goes out of bounds in advance of the spot of the fumble, then the ball belongs to the offense and is returned to the spot of the fumble. 

This is just out of my curiosity.  Say you're out of time outs and the clock is running.  You throw a completed pass down field but the receiver can't get out of bounds with time running out; can he simply pitch the ball out of bounds laterally or backwards before he is tackled and get the clock stopped?

Again, thanks for all the time writing this up.  Very informative.

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One question and one comment:

Are HS Football rules consistent across the US, or do they vary from state to state?

 

I think it would be interesting, in some cases, to know the rationale or history behind some of the rules.  In most cases, it's obvious why the rule is there, but not always.  I imagine there are some interesting stories behind how some of these rules came about.  For instance,  the rule about the offence not being able to fumble the ball forward on 4th down.  

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In the blocking below the waist section you should add the Chop Block exception.  That is when a defensive player in the box is being blocked by a player and is blocked below the waist by another blocker, even in the tackle box.  

Thanks for the info.  It is always good for us to get refreshers and keep up to date on rule changes. 

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On 7/26/2018 at 9:54 AM, around4ever said:

In the blocking below the waist section you should add the Chop Block exception.  That is when a defensive player in the box is being blocked by a player and is blocked below the waist by another blocker, even in the tackle box.  

Thanks for the info.  It is always good for us to get refreshers and keep up to date on rule changes. 

A Chop block isnt an exception thats why its not there.  Chops blocks are always illegal all the time anywhere on the field.   

Ill answer the other posts when i have more time. 

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Quote

First of all, thanks for all that info.

So on a shotgun snap, are all those blocks illegal if initial contact hasn't been made before the ball clears the 4 yard barrier?

YES.  Those blocks have to executed immediately after the snap, or the way its written in the rule book, on the lineman's initial charge.

 

So if Stidham is in shotgun at 5 yards behind the LOS, and drops 5 more yards, and Kam Martin cuts a blitzer at the knees at say anywhere from 6 to 9 yards before he sacks Stidham, it's a penalty for illegal block?

No.  I need to clarify that in my post above.  The 5 yards its talking about is BEYOND the line of scrimmage not behind it.   However,  Play out your scenario and say the defender in pursuit of Stidham as he rolls out, say the defender is at our 35 yard line, Martin is at our 36, it would be a penalty if he cuts him there.  Why?  Because he's executing the block TOWARD his own goal.  That is specifically outline as illegal.

See if this helps a bit:

Blocking Below the Waist
ARTICLE 6. a. Team A prior to a change of team possession:
Linemen with initial position completely inside the tackle box may legally
block below the waist inside the tackle box until the ball leaves the tackle box.
All other Team A players are allowed to block below the waist only if the force
of the initial contact is directed from the front. “Directed from the front” is
defined as within the clock face region between “10 o’clock and 2 o’clock”
forward of the area of concentration of the player being blocked.
Exceptions:
1. Team A players may not block below the waist when the block occurs
five yards or more beyond the neutral zone.
2. Players outside the tackle box at the snap, or any time after the snap,
or in motion at the snap may not block below the waist toward the
original position of the ball at the snap.
3. Once the ball has left the tackle box, a player may not block below the
waist toward his own end line.

 

 

What are the criteria to be a defenseless player? Is a ball carrier ever defenseless?

Defenseless Player
ARTICLE 14. A defenseless player is one who because of his physical position
and focus of concentration is especially vulnerable to injury. When in question,
a player is defenseless. Examples of defenseless players include but are not limited
to:
a. A player in the act of or just after throwing a pass.

b. A receiver attempting to catch a forward pass or in position to receive a
backward pass, or one who has completed a catch and has not had time to
protect himself or has not clearly become a ball carrier.

c. A kicker in the act of or just after kicking a ball, or during the kick or the
return.

d. A kick returner attempting to catch or recover a kick, or one who has
completed a catch or recovery and has not had time to protect himself or
has not clearly become a ball carrier..

e. A player on the ground.

f. A player obviously out of the play.

g. A player who receives a blind-side block.

h. A ball carrier already in the grasp of an opponent and whose forward
progress has been stopped.

i. A quarterback any time after a change of possession.

j. A ball carrier who has obviously given himself up and is sliding feet-first.

 

This is just out of my curiosity.  Say you're out of time outs and the clock is running.  You throw a completed pass down field but the receiver can't get out of bounds with time running out; can he simply pitch the ball out of bounds laterally or backwards before he is tackled and get the clock stopped?

NO.  He cannot intially toss the ball out of bounds to get the clock to stop

During Live Ball
ARTICLE 1. A ball carrier may hand or pass the ball backward at any time,
except to throw the ball intentionally out of bounds to conserve time.
PENALTY—Five yards from the spot of the foul; also loss of down if by
Team A before team possession changes during a scrimmage
down (A.R. 3-4-3-III) [S35 and S9].

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On 7/26/2018 at 8:32 AM, triangletiger said:

One question and one comment:

Are HS Football rules consistent across the US, or do they vary from state to state?

The Federation rule book is used in every state except Texas.  Texas high school plays under college rules.   However, each state has an addendum or supplement to the federation rule book.  A few that the state of Florida has is:  1.  Mercy rule.  If the point spread reaches 35 points at any point in the SECOND HALF there is a mandatory running clock for the remainder of the game.   2.  Federation rule book allows player number to be announced when reporting a penalty.  The state of Florida prohibits the players number from being announced by the referree when announcing the penalty to the crowd.( on the rare occaions where a wireless mic is provided).  This isn't all of them, but an example of what individual states my have.

I think it would be interesting, in some cases, to know the rationale or history behind some of the rules.  In most cases, it's obvious why the rule is there, but not always.  I imagine there are some interesting stories behind how some of these rules came about.  For instance,  the rule about the offence not being able to fumble the ball forward on 4th down.  

When it comes to the process as to how they come with some of these, who knows.  Some are really puzzling, like the one you mentioned above.  Oh, but you can fumble it forward provided the player that fumbled it, actually recovers it.  If that happens, it would remain at the spot of the recovery.

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WarTiger,

Thanks for doing this thread again this year.  Always proves useful and good conversation/information.

Have you heard of any rule changes (NCAA) for this year?

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18 hours ago, GBAU83 said:

WarTiger,

Thanks for doing this thread again this year.  Always proves useful and good conversation/information.

Have you heard of any rule changes (NCAA) for this year?

There are quite a few but most of them are administrative changes.  Field markings, Jersey Design restrictions, headsets for coaches.     There are a few that can/will impact the actual game on the field. 

The biggest (and quite frankly most ridiculous) is the new fair catch rule on free kicks.   Any free kick caught inside the 25 yard line where the receiver signals for a fair catch, will now be treated as a touchback and brought out to the 25.  

SECTION 5. Fair Catch
Dead Where Caught
ARTICLE 1. a. If a Team B player makes a fair catch, the ball becomes dead
where caught and belongs to Team B at that spot. [Exception: If a Team B
player makes a fair catch of a free kick behind Team B’s 25-yard line, the ball
belongs to Team B at its own 25-yard line.

The next snap shall be from midway between the hashmarks, unless a different
position on or between the hashmarks is selected by the team designated to put
the ball in play before the play clock is at 25 seconds or before any subsequent
ready-for-play signal. After the play clock is at 25 seconds or any subsequent
ready-for-play signal, the ball may be relocated only after a charged team
timeout unless preceded by a Team A foul or offsetting fouls.]

 

The rule for blocking below the waist for Team A has been adjusted.  I touched on it a bit in the first post.  Here's the entire rule on blocking below the waist for Team A.
(note:  My opinion has long been they need to make blocking below the waist illegal everywhere just like it is in the high school game)

Blocking Below the Waist
ARTICLE 6. a. Team A prior to a change of team possession:
Linemen with initial position completely inside the tackle box may legally
block below the waist inside the tackle box until the ball leaves the tackle box.
All other Team A players are allowed to block below the waist only if the force
of the initial contact is directed from the front. “Directed from the front” is
defined as within the clock face region between “10 o’clock and 2 o’clock”
forward of the area of concentration of the player being blocked.
Exceptions:
1. Team A players may not block below the waist when the block occurs
five yards or more beyond the neutral zone.
2. Players outside the tackle box at the snap, or any time after the snap,
or in motion at the snap may not block below the waist toward the
original position of the ball at the snap.
3. Once the ball has left the tackle box, a player may not block below the
waist toward his own end line.

 

They have also adjusted/redefined the leaping rule on field goal or try attempts.

b. It is a foul if a defensive player moves forward and tries to block a field goal
or try by leaving his feet and leaping into the plane directly above the frame
of the body of an opponent.

c. It is a foul if a defensive player who is inside the tackle box tries to block a
punt by leaving his feet and leaping into the plane directly above the frame
of the body of an opponent.

2. It is not a foul if a player leaps through or over the gap between players.

New Penalty enforcement option on successful FG/try.

When the field goal is successful, Team A shall have the option of canceling
the score and have the penalty enforced from the previous spot or declining
the penalty(ies) and accepting the score. Team A may accept the score with
penalties for personal fouls and unsportsmanlike conduct fouls enforced
on the succeeding kickoff or from the succeeding spot in extra periods.

 

They also made an addition to the 10 second run off provision

c. With less than one minute in either half and a replay review results in
the on-field ruling being reversed, and the correct ruling would not have
stopped the game clock, then the clock will be reset to the time the ball is
declared dead by replay. The referee will subtract 10 seconds from the game
clock and the game clock will start on the referee’s signal. Either team may
use a team timeout to avoid the runoff.

 

 

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Read the last section of the initial post in the thread when I talk about Momentum and then read this play from one of our games vs. Clemson a few years ago.    Officials were right on top of this one and got it exactly right. 

Clemson at Auburn:

Auburn with possession on between the 25-30 yard line (I think). Pass is thrown towards the sideline. Pass is intercepted by a Clemson defender at their own 1 yard line and his momentum takes him a step into the endzone and out the side of the endzone. Where do you spot the ball??

Answer: Spot the ball at the 1 yard line. 1st and 10. Why?

Rule 8-5 exception:

When a Team B player intercepts a forward pass, fumble or backward pass or catches a scrimmage or free kick between his five-yard line and the goal line and the ball carrier’s

original momentum carries him into the end zone, where the ball is declared dead in his team’s possession, the ball belongs to Team B at the spot where the pass or fumble was intercepted or the kick was caught (A.R. 8-5-1-V-VII).

An intercepted pass or fielded scrimmage kick will NEVER be a touchback unless physically CAUGHT in the endzone. If the player catches the ball OUTSIDE the 5 yard line (say the 6) and he ends up in the endzone and is tackled there, this will result in a safety.

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6 minutes ago, WarTiger said:

Read the last section of the initial post in the thread when I talk about Momentum and then read this play from one of our games vs. Clemson a few years ago.    Officials were right on top of this one and got it exactly right. 

Clemson at Auburn:

Auburn with possession on between the 25-30 yard line (I think). Pass is thrown towards the sideline. Pass is intercepted by a Clemson defender at their own 1 yard line and his momentum takes him a step into the endzone and out the side of the endzone. Where do you spot the ball??

Answer: Spot the ball at the 1 yard line. 1st and 10. Why?

Rule 8-5 exception:

When a Team B player intercepts a forward pass, fumble or backward pass or catches a scrimmage or free kick between his five-yard line and the goal line and the ball carrier’s

original momentum carries him into the end zone, where the ball is declared dead in his team’s possession, the ball belongs to Team B at the spot where the pass or fumble was intercepted or the kick was caught (A.R. 8-5-1-V-VII).

An intercepted pass or fielded scrimmage kick will NEVER be a touchback unless physically CAUGHT in the endzone. If the player catches the ball OUTSIDE the 5 yard line (say the 6) and he ends up in the endzone and is tackled there, this will result in a safety.

Thank you WT for this. Two questions.

1. If the Clemson player had intercepted the ball at the 1, but the player was in the air the whole time (i.e. dove for the pick) and his momentum took him into the endzone, would the ball be a touchback then? Since he never got one foot down outside the goal line.

2. To clarify that last paragraph, even if the player’s momentum is what carried him into the endzone, if he catches the ball at the 6 and goes down in the endzone it is a safety?

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On 7/31/2018 at 1:00 PM, djg0017 said:

Thank you WT for this. Two questions.

1. If the Clemson player had intercepted the ball at the 1, but the player was in the air the whole time (i.e. dove for the pick) and his momentum took him into the endzone, would the ball be a touchback then? Since he never got one foot down outside the goal line.  Remember, its not a catch until he gets a foot down or some other body part down in bounds.  If he's in the air and doesn't touch the ground until he lands in the endzone, it would be a touchback. 

2. To clarify that last paragraph, even if the player’s momentum is what carried him into the endzone, if he catches the ball at the 6 and goes down in the endzone it is a safety?    YES.  Momentum is ONLY in effect from the 5 yard line to the goal line.    Anything caught outside the 5 would result in a safety if he ends up in the endzone.

Keep it in mind also, that momentum HAS to be responsible for him going into the endzone to bring the ball back out and avoid the safety.  If he catches a punt say flat footed at the 3 and retreats on his own to get around a defender and gets tackled in the endzone that would result in a safety because momentum wasn't responsible for placing him in the endzone.

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Play:   4th and 8. Team with possession elects to punt.

After the kick has touched the ground, but still loose, a member of the kicking team touches the ball at the receiving teams 28 yard line. The ball continues to bounce towards the Receiving teams goal line. The receiving team fields the ball at their own 19 yard line and tries to advance it. The receiving team advances it to their own 32 yard line where the player fumbles and the kicking team recovers on the receiving team's 35 yard line. Who's ball is it?? and Why??

ANSWER: The ball will belong to the receiving team at their own 28 yard line, 1st and 10. Why?? Because a kick is not over until it is POSSESSED by the receiving team or downed by the kicking team. The kicking team touching the ball at the 28 does not "DOWN" the ball. It's what's called in High School football as FIRST TOUCHING, in college its referred to as ILLEGAL TOUCHING (although there is no distance penalty for this). The ball remains alive and the receiving team may advance it. Here's the kicker. Once the kicking team touches the ball, it basically gives the receiving team a free play. The receiving team can still advance it since the ball is still live, but when the play is over they have options. They can take the results of the play OR they can take the ball at the spot of first touching by the kicking team, which in this case would be the 28 yard line. So, if the receiving team fields the ball and turns it over, they can and will keep the ball based on the first touching by the kicking team. Likewise if the kicking team touches it and the receiving team advances it without a turnover they get the ball at the spot of the end of the run. (in the above example would be the 32 yard line) It can be confusing, but I hope I made it make sense.

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Here's a little tidbit some may not fully know.  TOUCHDOWN VS. SAFETY    We all know what a touchdown is.  When the ball breaks the front edge of the goal line it's a touchdown. So, in the image below we can see the ball resting on the goal line which would be a touchdown.   

58135960-an-american-football-resting-just-over-the-goal-line-for-a-touchdown.jpg

Now, let's say the line of scrimmage was the offensive teams 2 yard line, ball is snapped and QB is in endzone under pressure.  He dives forward to prevent getting tackled in the endzone and the ball comes to rest as we see in the same picture above.      Did the QB successfully get the ball out of the endzone and avoid the safety?   Answer:  NO.   This is a safety.  Why?   Because when coming from the endzone to the field of play, the ENTIRE BALL has to get out of the endzone.  If a portion of the ball remains on or touching the goal line, it would be a safety.    It does not matter where the player is. The only thing that matters is where the ball is.  If the ball is entirely out of the endzone, then its not a safety.  If even a portion of the ball is on the goal line, it is a safety.

How Scored
ARTICLE 1. It is a safety when:

The ball becomes dead out of bounds behind a goal line, except from an
incomplete forward pass, or becomes dead in the possession of a player
on, above or behind his own goal line
, or becomes dead by rule, and the
defending team is responsible for the ball being there

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Boise State vs. Virginia Tech:

VT QB scrambles to avoid a sack. As a result during his scrambling, he uses a hand to maintain his balance. Well. after that, he uses the hand that is holding the ball to maintain his balance. Should this play be blown dead at this point??

Answer NO. The Ball is declared Dead when: Rule 4-1-3b

b. When any part of the ball carrier’s body, except his hand or foot, touches the ground or when the ball carrier is tackled or otherwise falls and loses possession of the ball as he contacts the ground with any part of his body, except his hand or foot [Exception: The ball remains alive when an offensive player has simulated a kick or is in position to kick the ball held for a place kick by a teammate. The ball may be kicked, passed or advanced by rule] (A.R. 4-1-3-I).

The player with the ball, can actually touch the ball to the field of play to maintain his balance provided he maintains possession. If in the process of putting his hand on the field, he loses possession, this is a FUMBLE. This destroys the myth that the ground cannot cause a fumble. The player is NOT down by rule, so the ground clearly caused the ball to become loose. It’s a free ball.

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On 8/2/2018 at 1:49 PM, WarTiger said:

Now, let's say the line of scrimmage was the offensive teams 2 yard line, ball is snapped and QB is in endzone under pressure.  He dives forward to prevent getting tackled in the endzone and the ball comes to rest as we see in the same picture above.      Did the QB successfully get the ball out of the endzone and avoid the safety?   Answer:  NO.   This is a safety.  Why?   Because when coming from the endzone to the field of play, the ENTIRE BALL has to get out of the endzone.  If a portion of the ball remains on or touching the goal line, it would be a safety.    It does not matter where the player is. The only thing that matters is where the ball is.  If the ball is entirely out of the endzone, then its not a safety.  If even a portion of the ball is on the goal line, it is a safety.

The perfect example of this is Mike Blanc tackling LaMichael James for a Safety in the BCSCG.

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Here's one from several years ago that some may remember and its one I know for a fact the officials screwed up and screwed up BAD....

Play 6: Vanderbilt/Tennesse from 2011. My memory on the specifics has faded, but basically the game was in OT. Vanderbilt had the ball. Down and distance don't matter in this situation. Vanderbilt runs the play and Tennessee intercepted (I think) the pass. The official on the sideline was screened by several players and thought the Tennessee players knee was down. He clearly blew the whistle and video footage shows him stepping in and stopping the clock. UT players apparently didn't hear the whistle and kept running... Well, Tennessee scored on the play. They reviewed the play to see if he was down and he clearly wasn't down. Where they screwed up is they completely ignored the whistle had blown. This is called an Inadvertent Whistle. Once a whistle blows the play is dead. If its in a players possession its dead there. There are rule provisions to cover this. When its blown, the team in possession has the option to accept the results of the play OR replay the down. Clearly Tennessee would have accepted the results of the play to keep the ball. It should have been 1st and 10 for Tennessee at Vanderbilts 25 yard line (normal overtime possession). Vanderbilt was screwed because they didn't get a chance to stop Tennessee on their OT Possession. It's extremely obvious in the video footage that the covering official blew the whistle. They SCREWED THIS UP BAD and it cost Vanderbilt.

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Thank you so much, WarTiger !  It is amazing what I don't know after watching college ball for over 50 years.

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A new play:

Play 7: down and distance don't matter...but let's say the snap is at the offensive teams 30 yard line. QB back to pass. An eligible receiver #34 is at his own 28 yard line as the QB is under pressure. He throws it towards #34. Defensive player #90, hits #34 after the pass is in flight but before #34 can secure possession. Do we have Pass Interference on the defense in this situation?

Answer: NO. Why? Because the line of scrimmage is the 30 and the player was on the 28 when contact occurred. Pass Interference rules only apply during a down where a legal forward pass crosses the neutral zone.

Contact Interference

ARTICLE 9. a. Either Team A or Team B legally may interfere with opponents behind the neutral zone.

d. Pass interference rules apply only during a down in which a legal forward pass crosses the neutral zone (Rules 2-19-3 and 7-3-8-a, b and c).

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New play

Georgia/Nebraska: Georgia runs a first down play from the opponents 10 yard line. QB takes the snap from the shotgun formation and hands off to #22...he runs right parallel to the line of scrimmage, where he pulls up to throw the ball approx. 4 yards or so behind the LOS and right at the sideline. Under heavy rush, he heaves the ball forward to save the lost yardage. The ball just reaches the line of scrimmage. Do we have a penalty here of any kind and if so, what?

Answer: INTENTIONAL GROUNDING - Loss of down at the spot of the foul. Why? While the player that threw the ball away was clearly outside the tackle box and the ball just barely reached the line of scrimmage (did not pass it), this rule only applies to the player that took the snap. The announcers were questioning why they make that call because he was "outside the tackle box". This is yet another example of how the announcers DO NOT know the rules. NEVER listen to the announcers when it comes to rule interpretations.

f. The passer to conserve time throws the ball directly to the ground (1) after the ball has already touched the ground; or (2) not immediately after controlling the ball.

g. The passer to conserve time throws the ball forward into an area where there is no eligible Team A receiver (A.R. 7-3-2-II-VII).

h. The passer to conserve yardage throws the ball forward into an area where there is no eligible Team A receiver (A.R. 7-3-2-I).

[Exception: If the passer is or has been outside the tackle box he may throw the ball so that it crosses or lands beyond the neutral zone or neutral zone extended (Rule 2-19-3) (A.R. 7-3-2-VIII-X). This applies only to the player who controls the snap or the resulting backward pass.]

 

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@WarTiger I have a question based on announcer's comments during the LSU game.  What is the ruling for the ball over the goal post for a field goal?  I thought the rule was as long as the ball travels between the outside edge of the post to the outside edge of the other post then it is good.  The announcer said that the ball has to be completely inside the goal post.  Can you please clarify?

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1 hour ago, LKEEL75 said:

@WarTiger I have a question based on announcer's comments during the LSU game.  What is the ruling for the ball over the goal post for a field goal?  I thought the rule was as long as the ball travels between the outside edge of the post to the outside edge of the other post then it is good.  The announcer said that the ball has to be completely inside the goal post.  Can you please clarify?

Not WarTiger, but logic would dictate that the ball would have to pass completely inside of imaginary vertical lines (or imaginary, pole-like cylinders) extending from the two upright posts, just as it would have to do if it was lower.   Of course, this is sports rules, so logic may not apply.

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27 minutes ago, triangletiger said:

Not WarTiger, but logic would dictate that the ball would have to pass completely inside of imaginary vertical lines (or imaginary, pole-like cylinders) extending from the two upright posts, just as it would have to do if it was lower.   Of course, this is sports rules, so logic may not apply.

Yes, but based on that logic would you not have to have the ball inside the white box in order for it to be a TD?  You only have to break the "plain".  Not trying to be a pain, just seems like the rule has been outside edge of pole.  Thanks for the input!

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1 minute ago, LKEEL75 said:

Yes, but based on that logic would you not have to have the ball inside the white box in order for it to be a TD?  You only have to break the "plain".  Not trying to be a pain, just seems like the rule has been outside edge of pole.  Thanks for the input!

Honestly, I don't know the rule; I was just trying to apply logic.  The endzone rule for how far the ball has to cross to be a TD (or a safety) is something that had to be decided and set 'by convention'.  Contrary to this, the reason why I say that a field goal or PAT must be fully inside the plane extending up from between the uprights is because I am imagining the uprights extending up infinitely (or at least, say, another 50 feet).  If the uprights were extended and the ball was not kicked completely inside (or almost completely inside), the ball would likely ricochet off the upright and be a miss. Of course, they do sometimes hit the upright and bounce through, but it does seem that they have to hit more on the inside (toward the middle) curve of the pole in order for this to happen (and probably with a favorable spin on the ball). 

In reality, I doubt whether the officials standing under the goalposts making the call can really tell whether or not a ball the goes above the goal posts is inside or outside the inner surface of the upright bar.  If it's close, they probably tend to call it good. 

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4 hours ago, LKEEL75 said:

@WarTiger I have a question based on announcer's comments during the LSU game.  What is the ruling for the ball over the goal post for a field goal?  I thought the rule was as long as the ball travels between the outside edge of the post to the outside edge of the other post then it is good.  The announcer said that the ball has to be completely inside the goal post.  Can you please clarify?

Absolutely.  This is one of the rare occasions where the announcer is actually right.  The entire ball must pass between the uprights.  If even a portion of the ball is above the upright the kick is no good.  Not able to find the rule reference, but I'll look for it and post it when I find it.  

1 hour ago, triangletiger said:

Honestly, I don't know the rule; I was just trying to apply logic.  The endzone rule for how far the ball has to cross to be a TD (or a safety) is something that had to be decided and set 'by convention'.  Contrary to this, the reason why I say that a field goal or PAT must be fully inside the plane extending up from between the uprights is because I am imagining the uprights extending up infinitely (or at least, say, another 50 feet).  If the uprights were extended and the ball was not kicked completely inside (or almost completely inside), the ball would likely ricochet off the upright and be a miss. Of course, they do sometimes hit the upright and bounce through, but it does seem that they have to hit more on the inside (toward the middle) curve of the pole in order for this to happen (and probably with a favorable spin on the ball). 

In reality, I doubt whether the officials standing under the goalposts making the call can really tell whether or not a ball the goes above the goal posts is inside or outside the inner surface of the upright bar.  If it's close, they probably tend to call it good. 

I can answer with absolutely certainty that we can.  I am a backjudge and one of my duties is to be on one of the uprights from trys and field goal attempts.  We position ourselves approx. 2 yards behind the endline and behind the upright.  Once the ball is kicked, if it approaches the upright that I'm responsible for, I step up to be directly under it if necessary to make sure the entire ball is inside the upright.  I've called numerous kicks no good because the ball crossed over the upright.   It's a surprisingly easy call to make.

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