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SuzyPeppercorn
12-07-2010, 03:48 PM
I have been wondering about a weird play and if it would be legal in the NFL.

If a player throws a legal forward pass to a receiver (Ben to Ward), the receiver would obviously not be able to throw the ball forward again on the same play.

But what I have been thinking is about different deflections and how that factors into the equation. So Ben throws to Ward and it deflects past Ward to another receiver. I think we can all agree that this would be a legal play since Ward never had control of the ball it is not another forward pass.

So what would happen if a receiver catching the ball made sure he never completed the catch (jumping in the air, only standing on 1 leg) and then threw the ball forward. Would this still be legal if the receiver never made the catch?

I guess the deciding factor would be does a person throwing the ball forward count as a forward pass if the person does technically not have control of the ball.

I know this is out there but I have not been able to find any rules that would make this illegal or not. Thoughts?

Stu Pidasso
12-07-2010, 04:45 PM
Happens all the time on Hail Mary passes. I would say it's legal, just don't make it look obvious.

SuzyPeppercorn
12-07-2010, 04:55 PM
What about the legality of catching a pass on one leg and then throwing the ball forward? The receiver technically wouldn't have control so would the "pass" be a forward pass?

4xSBChamps
12-07-2010, 06:40 PM
in SB9, Tarkenton had a forward pass batted (by Hollywood Bags?) backwards towards himself, which he caught behind the line-of-scrimmage, and he then threw another forward pass downfield, which (I recall?) was incomplete:
althought technically it should've been a penalty, because it was so unheard-of, and the 2nd pass fell to the ground, I believe it went as an incompletion

SuzyPeppercorn
12-07-2010, 07:35 PM
in SB9, Tarkenton had a forward pass batted (by Hollywood Bags?) backwards towards himself, which he caught behind the line-of-scrimmage, and he then threw another forward pass downfield, which (I recall?) was incomplete:
althought technically it should've been a penalty, because it was so unheard-of, and the 2nd pass fell to the ground, I believe it went as an incompletion

The 2nd pass would be illegal since there can only be 1 forward pass per play. However, the situation I am talking about, I am arguing that the 2nd pass would not technically be a pass since the receiver has not established possession of the ball.

tony hipchest
12-07-2010, 10:07 PM
very interesting. its probably not happened before (although in a college game last week a player jumped out of bounds and tipped an errant throw back to a teammate before he landed for an int.)

no matter what the rule is, im pretty sure the refs would screw it up either way.

SuzyPeppercorn
12-07-2010, 10:16 PM
very interesting. its probably not happened before (although in a college game last week a player jumped out of bounds and tipped an errant throw back to a teammate before he landed for an int.)

no matter what the rule is, im pretty sure the refs would screw it up either way.

that play is exactly what got me thinking in this direction. I was thinking if he could bat the ball forward to his teammate since he didn't have possession, what would stop an offensive player doing the same thing.

I think it is really an interesting idea. Could you imagine a final play of a game where the team throws the ball to a receiver 20 yards down the field who is only standing on 1 leg. He waits for a few seconds and then throws the ball into the endzone!

I really think that this could be used in a desperation situation and it would be legal although highly controversial.

MattsMe
12-07-2010, 10:46 PM
This was part of the controversy surrounding the Immaculate Reception. (other than whether or not the ball hit the ground)

At the time, a ball could not touch an offensive player and then be deflected forward and caught. The question was whether Bradshaw's pass hit Frenchy Fuqua or not before Franco caught it, or whether it just hit the defender.

I'm not sure if the rule is still the same though.

SuzyPeppercorn
12-07-2010, 10:53 PM
The ball was deflected backward during the Immaculate Reception so I think that is slightly different then the situation I am talking about but thank you for the input.

I like to think that the Immaculate Reception was legal in every way and that the ball never hit the ground, but I guess we will never know for sure.

MattsMe
12-07-2010, 11:19 PM
The ball was deflected backward during the Immaculate Reception so I think that is slightly different then the situation I am talking about but thank you for the input.

I like to think that the Immaculate Reception was legal in every way and that the ball never hit the ground, but I guess we will never know for sure.

:doh: You're right. I should turn in my Terrible Towel for that one.


It seems like the same rule would apply, but I've seen balls glance off one receiver's hands and into the arms of another receiver, and it not get flagged.

If I had to guess, I would say it's legal, but James Harrison would get fined for it.

lionslicer
12-07-2010, 11:33 PM
It would be illegal if the reffery deemed it so. If a player caught the ball in the air, and then threw it foward before touching the gound, and he made it obvious he was throwing it foward, a ref would probably throw the flag. Its one of those "depends on the refs interpretation" rules.

SuzyPeppercorn
12-08-2010, 10:13 AM
I agree that it would be flagged if it ever happened, but I don't think it is illegal. My argument is what is the difference between a glancing deflection forward and a player standing on 1 leg and clearly throwing the ball forward?

In both cases the throwing player does not technically have control of the ball. Does anyone else agree or disagree. I think it is a fascinating idea.

steelax04
12-08-2010, 10:58 AM
I think it would be looked at the same way as if an offensive player knowingly pushed or hit a fumble forward. Even though he didn't have possession, you can't advance a fumble like that.

SuzyPeppercorn
12-08-2010, 11:15 AM
That is a good point. My only response to that would be since it is a pass the ball would be dead if it hit the ground so it is slightly different than in a fumble scenario.

I think this would probably be the penalty called if it happened during a game.

steelax04
12-08-2010, 12:51 PM
That is a good point. My only response to that would be since it is a pass the ball would be dead if it hit the ground so it is slightly different than in a fumble scenario.

I think this would probably be the penalty called if it happened during a game.

I think this is the college rule... but I didn't have to time to find out

The only thing I can think of where it may be considered illegal, is the batted ball rule. Here is the rule

Exception: A forward or backward pass may be batted, tipped, or deflected in any direction at any time by either the offense or the defense.

Note: A pass in flight that is controlled or caught may only be thrown backward, if it is thrown forward it is considered an illegal bat.

steelax04
12-08-2010, 12:53 PM
And I was able to find the link...

http://www.nfl.com/rulebook/useofhands

SuzyPeppercorn
12-08-2010, 01:22 PM
And I was able to find the link...

http://www.nfl.com/rulebook/useofhands

Looks like the end of that page kills this idea. When it says, "controlled or caught" it is not saying that the player must complete the catch for a forward throw to be illegal.

An interesting idea none the less. Thanks for your help guys :tt02: