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Old 02-07-17, 03:38 AM   #1
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NFL Rules: Sudden Death & Breaking the Plane

Two rules I don't like: Sudden Death (or sudden victory) overtime & touchdowns awarded for 'breaking the plane.'

Evidently others feel the same: Googled after SB and read several articles with the same complaints (sample: http://www.cbssports.com/college-foo...vertime-rules/).

College & arena football rules seem much fairer to both teams. It is dramatic to know that the game can end in the blink of an eye, but so is extending the game by giving the other team an opportunity.

Do any other professional team sports do this? Baseball, b-ball, soccer, hockey, etc. all allow equal opportunities for both teams or a set amount of time during which both teams can score. The game/match doesn't end on one point or run scored; the other team gets its chances to tie.

As one commentator put it, a game that has been fought to a tie in regulation shouldn't come down to a coin toss. And some coaches acknowledge that the team who gets the ball first has a huge advantage (even taking field position into account). Why does the NFL use this rule?

It's also inconsistent in that the game doesn't end if the first team with the ball scores a field goal instead of a TD. In that event, the other team gets the ball on offense. Only a TD can end the game abruptly on the first possession. So it's not about which team scores first...it's about whether the first team on offense can score a TD.

The other thing just seems inconsistent at best and contradictory at worst. If the ball or runner doesn't physically make it into the end zone, there is no "touch down." The ball has merely penetrated the air space beyond the goal line. On the other hand, a receiver can clearly catch the ball in the end zone "air space"..."breaking the plane"...and establish clear control of the ball. Yet the receiver must physically "touch down" with with two feet in bounds.

The goal line stand is one of the most exciting scenarios in football. As a former defensive player, it was one of the greatest challenges & thrills to keep an opposing team lined up on the goal line out of the end zone. If somebody is hurtling the line and gets thrown back...regardless of whether they stuck the ball out in midair over the goal line...why should that be considered a touchdown? It adds a much greater level of suspense...not to mention eliminating the controversy of whether the invisible "plane" was actually broken or not...if the player & ball had to actually land in the end zone. It's not even like the "forward progress" rule; the referees look at where the player's knees hit when tackled or how far they actually went downfield, not how far they stick the ball out.

I would think that a lot of fans would like those rules changed because it would make the game more entertaining, IMO. It adds an additional level of suspense in both cases.
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Old 02-07-17, 04:19 AM   #2
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Re: NFL Rules: Sudden Death & Breaking the Plane

They already tinkered with overtime to make it more politically correct. It seems some people won't be satisfied until both teams win in OT. This would be problematic in a playoff situation.

The breaking the plane complaint...well I know it's late, but this just seems silly. The example of the receiver needing to come down in the field of play in the end zone is a requirement to complete a legal pass reception and has nothing to do with it being a touchdown or not. There has never been a TD scored on an incomplete pass.

At the end of a play the ball is spotted based on the position of the football when the player is tackled - including any forward progress - and not the spot where the play ending body part itself touches. So once the ball is possessed and beyond the goal line (plane is broken) even if the player's body is still outside the end zone the ball would be spotted inside the end zone for the next snap which would obviously make no sense. That is why it is a TD and they move on to the PAT.
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Old 02-07-17, 06:53 AM   #3
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Re: NFL Rules: Sudden Death & Breaking the Plane

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Originally Posted by creekdipper View Post
Two rules I don't like: Sudden Death (or sudden victory) overtime & touchdowns awarded for 'breaking the plane.'

Evidently others feel the same: Googled after SB and read several articles with the same complaints (sample: http://www.cbssports.com/college-foo...vertime-rules/).

College & arena football rules seem much fairer to both teams. It is dramatic to know that the game can end in the blink of an eye, but so is extending the game by giving the other team an opportunity.

Do any other professional team sports do this? Baseball, b-ball, soccer, hockey, etc. all allow equal opportunities for both teams or a set amount of time during which both teams can score. The game/match doesn't end on one point or run scored; the other team gets its chances to tie.

As one commentator put it, a game that has been fought to a tie in regulation shouldn't come down to a coin toss. And some coaches acknowledge that the team who gets the ball first has a huge advantage (even taking field position into account). Why does the NFL use this rule?

It's also inconsistent in that the game doesn't end if the first team with the ball scores a field goal instead of a TD. In that event, the other team gets the ball on offense. Only a TD can end the game abruptly on the first possession. So it's not about which team scores first...it's about whether the first team on offense can score a TD.

The other thing just seems inconsistent at best and contradictory at worst. If the ball or runner doesn't physically make it into the end zone, there is no "touch down." The ball has merely penetrated the air space beyond the goal line. On the other hand, a receiver can clearly catch the ball in the end zone "air space"..."breaking the plane"...and establish clear control of the ball. Yet the receiver must physically "touch down" with with two feet in bounds.

The goal line stand is one of the most exciting scenarios in football. As a former defensive player, it was one of the greatest challenges & thrills to keep an opposing team lined up on the goal line out of the end zone. If somebody is hurtling the line and gets thrown back...regardless of whether they stuck the ball out in midair over the goal line...why should that be considered a touchdown? It adds a much greater level of suspense...not to mention eliminating the controversy of whether the invisible "plane" was actually broken or not...if the player & ball had to actually land in the end zone. It's not even like the "forward progress" rule; the referees look at where the player's knees hit when tackled or how far they actually went downfield, not how far they stick the ball out.

I would think that a lot of fans would like those rules changed because it would make the game more entertaining, IMO. It adds an additional level of suspense in both cases.
The game didn't come down to a coin toss. It came down to the Falcons bedshitting a 25 point lead with 16 mins. to go, making excruciatingly bad play calls when in FG position to clinch the win, horrible execution in what they did call, and allowed the Pats to drive 75 yards in OT without putting up so much as a whimper. To say that game was lost in OT is a joke beyond belief and just shows how little casual fans know about football.

As for the break the plane rule, you are confusing that with the rule for establishing possession during a catch. A running WR/QB/TE can still break the plane the same way. The RB is already in bounds. The WR has to establish himself in bounds.

I'm all for criticisms of the game but these are both ridiculous and nonsensical.
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Old 02-07-17, 07:40 AM   #4
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Re: NFL Rules: Sudden Death & Breaking the Plane

I wouldn't mind seeing both teams getting the ball in OT. Maybe it's something the NFL rules committee could look into to see if it could be added to all games, not just the playoffs and the Super Bowl.
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Old 02-07-17, 08:01 AM   #5
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Re: NFL Rules: Sudden Death & Breaking the Plane

Jesus creek, you even have a problem with calling it sudden death? You need to get your head out of Christs ass.
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Old 02-07-17, 08:11 AM   #6
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Re: NFL Rules: Sudden Death & Breaking the Plane

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Originally Posted by Deadman31 View Post
Jesus creek, you even have a problem with calling it sudden death? You need to get your head out of Christs ass.
That's a little over the top, even for me.
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Old 02-07-17, 08:17 AM   #7
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Re: NFL Rules: Sudden Death & Breaking the Plane

Statistically, it's been shown that teams have an even chance to win an OT game and that it's not based solely on who wins the coin toss.

In a football game there is a thing called "defense" and if you play defense well, the other team won't score. Atlanta failed to realize this on Sunday. That's why they lost. Not because of the coin toss.

If you want to "fix" overtime the only real way to do it is let the teams play out the entire 15 minutes (or decrease it to 10 minutes). Just be ready for more ties if that happens.
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Old 02-07-17, 09:42 AM   #8
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Re: NFL Rules: Sudden Death & Breaking the Plane

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Originally Posted by Goat3001 View Post
Statistically, it's been shown that teams have an even chance to win an OT game and that it's not based solely on who wins the coin toss.

In a football game there is a thing called "defense" and if you play defense well, the other team won't score. Atlanta failed to realize this on Sunday. That's why they lost. Not because of the coin toss.

If you want to "fix" overtime the only real way to do it is let the teams play out the entire 15 minutes (or decrease it to 10 minutes). Just be ready for more ties if that happens.
The defense point is a good one. In fact, if you play good defense, you can end up with the ball in good field position and needing only a FG to win in OT.
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Old 02-07-17, 09:56 AM   #9
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Re: NFL Rules: Sudden Death & Breaking the Plane

I feel like the passing rules in the field should apply to the end zone as well. Quite a few times this season a player has caught a pass in the end zone but it's knocked out fairly quick by the defensive player but it's still called a TD. If that was between the goal lines, it would've been an incompletion.
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Old 02-07-17, 09:58 AM   #10
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Re: NFL Rules: Sudden Death & Breaking the Plane

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Originally Posted by DVD Josh View Post
That's a little over the top, even for me.
But it does demonstrate who is obsessed with what and who has to bring that obsession up in unrelated threads...even in sports forum. So it's a good object lesson.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goat3001 View Post
Statistically, it's been shown that teams have an even chance to win an OT game and that it's not based solely on who wins the coin toss.

In a football game there is a thing called "defense" and if you play defense well, the other team won't score. Atlanta failed to realize this on Sunday. That's why they lost. Not because of the coin toss.

If you want to "fix" overtime the only real way to do it is let the teams play out the entire 15 minutes (or decrease it to 10 minutes). Just be ready for more ties if that happens.
Citation re: statistics proving that contention?

Some of the comments about the rules favoring the team which goes on offense first were made by highly-respected coaches...who, contrary to one poster above, are more than "casual fans."

I would think that getting the ball first would always favor teams with highly-efficient offenses. The teams who logically might benefit from allowing the other team to have the ball first would be those with great defenses.

The point about Atlanta not playing good defense in overtime could also be made for why NE didn't win in regulation, or why Atlanta allowed a comeback. Likewise, one could say that NE "failure to realize that they had to play offense" in the first half was responsible for the OT in the first place.

The question is not about how teams played at respective points of the game. It's about whether the system is fair. I totally agree that Atlanta is responsible for their loss & NE for their win. But the coin toss gave NE the opportunity to win the game without a response from Atlanta. It would be the same as if one said, if the defense stops the team who gets the ball first, the defensive team wins...and it's the offensive team's fault for not scoring when they had the ball. I don't think anyone would think that to be fair.

When you suggest that the "only" real way of fixing overtime is to play a set number of extra minutes (just like the NBA), that's not how college solves the problem. And there is more drama in the college game than the pro game, IMO. And the system seems fairer to both teams, and the defensive/offensive strengths of a team still are factors. So do other factors such as depth, endurance, etc.

If the system is so good, why don't other sports use it? First team to score a run in extra innings wins. First team to score ten points in basketball wins. First team to score in a soccer shootout wins. Etc., etc.
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Old 02-07-17, 10:11 AM   #11
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Re: NFL Rules: Sudden Death & Breaking the Plane

Of course the team that gets the ball first has a decided advantage. That's why everyone who wins the coin toss chooses to go on offense. Almost nobody chooses to go on defense in overtime. The "you can't win on a field goal on the first drive" rule was just added a few years ago, because a very high percentage of the time, the team that got the ball first was winning on a field goal on the first drive.

Even with the new rule, I believe that the team that gets the ball first wins >50% of the time.
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Old 02-07-17, 10:13 AM   #12
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Re: NFL Rules: Sudden Death & Breaking the Plane

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As for the break the plane rule, you are confusing that with the rule for establishing possession during a catch. A running WR/QB/TE can still break the plane the same way. The RB is already in bounds. The WR has to establish himself in bounds.

I'm all for criticisms of the game but these are both ridiculous and nonsensical.
No, I'm not confusing the rules. As both a defensive back and WR, I am fully aware that of the rules of establishing possession and the fact that a receiver becomes a runner after establishing control of a completion & that the "plane" rule then applies equally to him/her.

I'm not arguing that the rules regarding receptions should be changed. I'm saying that, logically, the rules are inconsistent in requiring feet to come down within end zone bounds for receivers but not for runners. If advancing the ball beyond the goal line plane in mid-air is the criteria, then the receiver has also done that by clearly catching a ball in that same space while clearly in bounds. I wouldn't tamper with the receiver rules...I just think that the "breaking the plane" rule regarding runners is ridiculous and counterproductive from an entertainment standpoint.

I'm sure that most would acknowledge that rules are constantly being changed to amp up the entertainment value, whether it's about kickoffs, penalties that favor offense/defense, rules to protect particular position players, and all other areas. All sports do the same. But, to me, the "breaking the plane" rule goes not only against the logic of "getting the ball into the end zone," it works against the entertainment value by penalizing the defense and rewarding the offense for an oxymoron.

I understand how the rules are applied. I just think they're silly, counter-intuitive, and counterproductive. I think that the offense should have to earn a touchdown by physically getting the ball into the end zone and that most fans would like that requirement.
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Old 02-07-17, 10:15 AM   #13
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Re: NFL Rules: Sudden Death & Breaking the Plane

The receiver doesn't officially have possession of the ball until his feet come down in bounds. If he does not have possession, it cannot be a touchdown.

A runner already has possession, so the ball just needs to break the plane while it is in his possession.

The rules are not inconsistent.

The key is that the ball must be, in whole or in part, beyond the goal line while in possession of the offensive player.
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Old 02-07-17, 10:21 AM   #14
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Re: NFL Rules: Sudden Death & Breaking the Plane

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goat3001 View Post
Statistically, it's been shown that teams have an even chance to win an OT game and that it's not based solely on who wins the coin toss.

In a football game there is a thing called "defense" and if you play defense well, the other team won't score. Atlanta failed to realize this on Sunday. That's why they lost. Not because of the coin toss.

If you want to "fix" overtime the only real way to do it is let the teams play out the entire 15 minutes (or decrease it to 10 minutes). Just be ready for more ties if that happens.
ITA. It's amusing to me that this is ever seen as a default advantage for the team that gets the ball first. It's basically like the original coin flip where you see teams defer more often than not. I expect that unless changes are made to OT rules, we'll see the same happen quite often for OT coin flips as well.

Personally I think the NFL OT rules are fine as-is. If they are changed to a fixed time there will be more more ties, and they might as well at that point get rid of OT all together.

Quote:
Originally Posted by badlieut View Post
I feel like the passing rules in the field should apply to the end zone as well. Quite a few times this season a player has caught a pass in the end zone but it's knocked out fairly quick by the defensive player but it's still called a TD. If that was between the goal lines, it would've been an incompletion.
If there is no clear possession, then no TD. Already like this. the break the plane rules once somebody has possession is clear, and logical. The lines are part of the end zone. Touch line with ball, TD. Just like the sidelines are part of the out of bounds area. Touch line, out of bounds.

But the catch/no catch rule in the NFL needs to be looked at for far more than just TD's. Same goes for all the BS pass-interference, holding by WR/DB's, and the constant pick plays on passing plays that seem to be never called consistently. The NFL passing scheme has basically become the same as a basketball half court offense.
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Old 02-07-17, 10:23 AM   #15
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Re: NFL Rules: Sudden Death & Breaking the Plane

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Originally Posted by Obi-Wan Jabroni View Post
The receiver doesn't officially have possession of the ball until his feet come down in bounds. If he does not have possession, it cannot be a touchdown.

A runner already has possession, so the ball just needs to break the plane while it is in his possession.

The rules are not inconsistent.

The key is that the ball must be, in whole or in part, in the end zone while in possession of the offensive player.
This. It seems perfectly logical and consistent to me.
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Old 02-07-17, 10:24 AM   #16
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Re: NFL Rules: Sudden Death & Breaking the Plane

Quote:
Originally Posted by Obi-Wan Jabroni View Post
The receiver doesn't officially have possession of the ball until his feet come down in bounds. If he does not have possession, it cannot be a touchdown.

A runner already has possession, so the ball just needs to break the plane while it is in his possession.

The rules are not inconsistent.

The key is that the ball must be, in whole or in part, beyond the goal line while in possession of the offensive player.
Yes, thank you, said much better than me. This is the right answer.
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Old 02-07-17, 10:32 AM   #17
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Re: NFL Rules: Sudden Death & Breaking the Plane

It is Football, not Hockey, not Soccer. Stay the fuck away from watching Baseball.

Guess they need to extend the chains now because of some nitwits. The rule of the game is to prevent the other team from breaking the plane, whether it is the end zone or the first down marker. Same idea with a safety, if a tiny bit of the ball is touching the plane when the player is down, it is a safety.
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Old 02-07-17, 10:34 AM   #18
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Re: NFL Rules: Sudden Death & Breaking the Plane

Just continue the game from the 4th quarter. If the other team has the ball,oh well. It would change a lot of coaching decisions towards the end of regulation time.
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Old 02-07-17, 10:34 AM   #19
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Re: NFL Rules: Sudden Death & Breaking the Plane

Quote:
Originally Posted by Obi-Wan Jabroni View Post
The receiver doesn't officially have possession of the ball until his feet come down in bounds. If he does not have possession, it cannot be a touchdown.

A runner already has possession, so the ball just needs to break the plane while it is in his possession.

The rules are not inconsistent.

The key is that the ball must cross into the end zone while in possession of the offensive player.
Here's an example of how this can create problems:

My problem is not with "the ball crossing the end zone but not the runner." I read an example in which someone asked what would happen if a runner sticks the ball over the goal line but goes down & knees hit at one-foot line. He pointed out that it would be absurd to spot the ball one foot into the end zone since that's how far the ball advanced. And I agree (although that could easily be fixed by spotting the ball where the runner goes down or where the ball actually lands on the ground). If it's about forward progress, when a runner reverses field and loses ground before being tackled, the refs don't spot the ball at the farthest point the runner got, so that rule is also inconsistent.

My problem is when the ball momentarily "breaks the plane" but never actually comes down in the end zone while in the runner's possession. If a runner falls short of the goal line but extends the ball over the line...and retains possession before being ruled down...no problem. But leaping over the pile and sticking it out in the air isn't a "touchdown"...it's a "stick over."

I totally understand how the rules are applied. I'm questioning why the rules are designed to call something a "touchdown" when the ball never actually comes down within the end zone. And saying that requiring the ball to physically be on the ground to be ruled a touchdown would be a much more exciting scenario for the fans and would reward defensive effort to shove back runners in the air. If the guy can leap the pile and come down in the end zone, more power to him. Make the rules for scoring like rugby (ironically, their scores are called a "try" when they actually touch the ball down).

I'm not even arguing that the runner should have to physically be in the end zone (although I don't see a problem with that). Just saying that a extending the end zone to outer space seems silly. It makes sense for field goals and extra points, which are in the air anyway. But not for running touchdowns on the ground. And it spoils a lot of the fun/drama associated with goal line stands.
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Old 02-07-17, 10:42 AM   #20
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Re: NFL Rules: Sudden Death & Breaking the Plane

Football isn't Rugby.
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Old 02-07-17, 10:43 AM   #21
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Re: NFL Rules: Sudden Death & Breaking the Plane

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The key is that the ball must be, in whole or in part, beyond the goal line while in possession of the offensive player.
No problem with that. It's whether the player should have to keep the ball beyond the goal line all the way to the ground.

Sticking the ball across air space and then getting knocked back without either the ball or the runner ever landing in the end zone is just silly. It rewards partial effort and penalizes the defense. And robs the fans of a potentially great moment.

If receivers have to come down onto the end zone turf to establish possession, then the runners should have to advance the ball onto the turf to establish possession of the ball in the end zone. When a runner can stick the ball across the "plane," get hit and cough up the ball, and it's still ruled a touchdown, that's silly.

If a runner is tackled in midfield and the ball comes out before he is ruled down, it's a fumble. He has to maintain possession all the way to the ground. Why should the goal line be treated differently? Just require the ball to physically come down to the turf, just as elsewhere on the field. Problem solved...and I think fans would approve.
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Old 02-07-17, 10:55 AM   #22
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Re: NFL Rules: Sudden Death & Breaking the Plane

The receiver has to follow through with the reception to establish possession. The RB already had possession. He took 4 giant steps before leaping.

The moment the ball breaks the plane while in established possession, the play is over. Touchdown.
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Old 02-07-17, 11:01 AM   #23
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Re: NFL Rules: Sudden Death & Breaking the Plane

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Here's an example of how this can create problems: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihvPSszVu74
I agree there is sometimes inconsistency in enforcing it (meaning I could see (and have seen) times when similar plays might have been called touchdowns), but those passes would have been called incomplete if they occurred within the field of play. Because of that, it is not inconsistent to call them incomplete in the endzone. It would be more inconsistent to call them touchdowns. If you're going to call them touchdowns, then you have to call the same play a fumble if they occur within the field of play.


Quote:

My problem is when the ball momentarily "breaks the plane" but never actually comes down in the end zone while in the runner's possession. If a runner falls short of the goal line but extends the ball over the line...and retains possession before being ruled down...no problem. But leaping over the pile and sticking it out in the air isn't a "touchdown"...it's a "stick over."
Again, the rules are enforced the same as they are within the field of play. The rule of forward progress would spot the ball at the furthest position that the ball reached before the player was knocked back. In this case, it is in the endzone, thus touchdown.

As far as the player who gets the ball knocked away after it crosses the plane, again, the play is over as soon as the ball crosses the end line while in possession of the offensive player.
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Old 02-07-17, 11:08 AM   #24
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Re: NFL Rules: Sudden Death & Breaking the Plane

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If receivers have to come down onto the end zone turf to establish possession, then the runners should have to advance the ball onto the turf to establish possession of the ball in the end zone. When a runner can stick the ball across the "plane," get hit and cough up the ball, and it's still ruled a touchdown, that's silly.
We are not establishing possession "in the end zone," we are establishing possession, period. The receiver has to maintain possession to the ground for it to be called a catch, in any situation, endzone or otherwise. The runner already has possession, so as soon as it crosses the line in in his possession, the play is over, touchdown.
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Old 02-07-17, 11:29 AM   #25
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Re: NFL Rules: Sudden Death & Breaking the Plane

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lt Ripley View Post
The receiver has to follow through with the reception to establish possession. The RB already had possession. He took 4 giant steps before leaping.

The moment the ball breaks the plane while in established possession, the play is over. Touchdown.
Exactly. Can't really be more straight forward. Even if it was changed to the whole ball being over the line, you're only changing the rule by the length of the football. Given that, it makes far more sense for it to be the just touching the goal line.

What I would like to know is when they are going to permanently put in RFID chips at both ends of the ball so this stuff is automatic when it comes to first downs and touchdowns. Far too often we end up with judgement calls because the ball is hidden from view.
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