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Old 12-15-2008   #1
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Default Steelers / Ravens touchdown controversy (question)

So there is this controversy about the touchdown from Big Ben to Santonio Holmes. Holmes caught the ball with two feet in the endzone but it appears the ball never crossed (or touched) the plane of the endzone.

I understand the rule that the ball has to cross the front of the endzone but aren't there other instances where there's a TD when that doesn't happen? Hypothetically:

1. If Slaton is running for the corner of the endzone and runs though the very front corner but the ball is extended over the outside of the pilon (out of bounds), is that still a touchdown? He had complete control of the ball and possession of the ball while in the endzone, but the ball never crossed the plane.

2. What if Schaub throws a bullet to AJ on the side of the endzone. AJ is leaning out of bounds but has both tip toes in the endzone. Essentially its a sideline catch but for a TD. Technically the ball crosses the plane, but AJ didn't have control of the ball. He only gained control when the ball crossed the side plane of the endzone to go out of bounds. AJ managed to maintain possession of the ball while he was in the endzone although the ball was not.

3. Goes right along with #2 but is a what if that will rarely ever happen. Same exact play but Schaub throws is while being chased out of bounds. He jumps out of bound and throws it so the ball is never in the field of play but traveling horizontally to the out of bounds line (while out of bounds). AJ make the exact same catch where the ball never crossed the endzone inside the pilon. What happens here?

I understand the ruling on the field but the way I see it, the player maintained possession of the ball while two feet were in the endzone. In this case, I don't think the ball ever has to cross the the front of the endzone. Again though, a rule is a rule if it specifically states the ball has to cross the front no matter what.

In any case, whether it was for a touchdown or just a catch... that was a hell of a catch.
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Old 12-15-2008   #2
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Default Re: Steelers / Ravens touchdown controversy (question)

the controversy is evidence was not conclusive enough to overturn the play as called on the field which was stopped 3" short of goal, thus should not have been overturned without indisputable evidence
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Old 12-15-2008   #3
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Default Re: Steelers / Ravens touchdown controversy (question)

But during the review, the ref could tell the WR established possession of the ball while two feet were in the endzone. Regardless of whether the ball crosses the plane or not, this could be a TD... UNLESS the rule specifically states the ball HAS to cross (which seems to be the common perseption)? (question mark?)
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Old 12-15-2008   #4
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Default Re: Steelers / Ravens touchdown controversy (question)

The ball has to cross the plane of the goal line for it to be a touchdown.
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Old 12-15-2008   #5
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Default Re: Steelers / Ravens touchdown controversy (question)

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Originally Posted by WWJD View Post
The ball has to cross the plane of the goal line for it to be a touchdown.
Alright then... case closed! Thanks. LOL

How would Play #3 be ruled then? If a ball is thrown while over the out of bounds line and travels through the air while out of bounds, and then the ball is caught while still out of bounds but the players feet are both in the endzone... I assume that would be ruled a TD. In this case the ball never crossed the endzone 'between the pilons' or in play but it did pass the "imaginary" endzone plane if it extended out of bounds. I know this play would rarely ever happen but I've always though it would look really cool from a sideline camera.
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Old 12-15-2008   #6
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Default Re: Steelers / Ravens touchdown controversy (question)

I believe the NFL still has the rule where the goal line extends across the world or whatever.

As long as your feet are in bounds, and you have the football across the line, it doesn't matter how it got there.
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Old 12-15-2008   #7
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Default Re: Steelers / Ravens touchdown controversy (question)

I would think #2 and 3 are touchdowns. I want to recall someone (or somewhere) mentioning some time ago the plane of the touchdown extends all the way out "around the globe" or something like that.

end zone - it's a ball location thing.
sidelines - it's a foot location thing.


edit - HA, bah007 just confirmed the globe thing.
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Old 12-15-2008   #8
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Default Re: Steelers / Ravens touchdown controversy (question)

I actually think the replay shows the ball't tip being on the line and thus a TD. But the fact is that the play on the field was called short so the evidence was so inconclusive that it should not of been overturned. There still was a 4th and inches though
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Old 12-15-2008   #9
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Default Re: Steelers / Ravens touchdown controversy (question)

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Originally Posted by HoustonFrog View Post
I actually think the replay shows the ball't tip being on the line and thus a TD. But the fact is that the play on the field was called short so the evidence was so inconclusive that it should not of been overturned. There still was a 4th and inches though
They never follow that rule. Not in college or the NFL.

They overturn calls all the time without enough evidence. They just go by what they "think" they saw.

IMO, if you wouldn't stake your life on it, then you shouldn't be allowed to overturn it. Most of the bad things that have happened with replay recently have been because a call is overturned without enough evidence.

In this particular case, I would have let the play stand as called. The evidence did not "prove" that it was a TD.
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Old 12-15-2008   #10
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Default Re: Steelers / Ravens touchdown controversy (question)

Here's my understanding:

The goal line is an imaginary line that extends around Earth, not just to the pilon. The ball MUST break the plane of the front edge of that line. If the player is diving through the air and the ball is outside the field of play but the player has not touch the ground out of bounds as long as a part of the player's body passes inside the pilon it's a touchdown. Basically either the ball or part of the player's body possessing the ball must pass inside the pilon. The plane of the goal line can be broke by the ball outside the pilon.

In the controversial play by the Steelers, it looks to me like when he first caught the ball it broke the plane, and by forward progress I would have given him the TD. That's how I saw it. But then by the announcers take was it possessed or did it even cross (I think when the ball first hits his hands it breaks the plane). It was very close and you could argue possesion all day long, I do agree that no matter what it is very hard to overturn either way and the play should stand as called.
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Last edited by Hardcore Texan; 12-15-2008 at 12:52 PM.
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Old 12-15-2008   #11
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Default Re: Steelers / Ravens touchdown controversy (question)

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Originally Posted by Ole Miss Texan View Post
Alright then... case closed! Thanks. LOL

How would Play #3 be ruled then? If a ball is thrown while over the out of bounds line and travels through the air while out of bounds, and then the ball is caught while still out of bounds but the players feet are both in the endzone... I assume that would be ruled a TD. In this case the ball never crossed the endzone 'between the pilons' or in play but it did pass the "imaginary" endzone plane if it extended out of bounds. I know this play would rarely ever happen but I've always though it would look really cool from a sideline camera.
This would be a TD.
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Old 12-15-2008   #12
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Default Re: Steelers / Ravens touchdown controversy (question)

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Originally Posted by bah007 View Post
I believe the NFL still has the rule where the goal line extends across the world or whatever.

As long as your feet are in bounds, and you have the football across the line, it doesn't matter how it got there.
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Originally Posted by OzzO View Post
I would think #2 and 3 are touchdowns. I want to recall someone (or somewhere) mentioning some time ago the plane of the touchdown extends all the way out "around the globe" or something like that.

end zone - it's a ball location thing.
sidelines - it's a foot location thing.


edit - HA, bah007 just confirmed the globe thing.
Hahaha, that's too funny. They should paint lines on the floor of the stadium and in the parking lot to extend the endzone just for fun.
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Old 12-15-2008   #13
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Default Re: Steelers / Ravens touchdown controversy (question)

As I understand the rules, the feet in the EZ is irrevalent. What counts is whether or not the ball crosses the GL, of which it was said not to have happened initially by the refs. Then upon viewing the instant replay, the reffs declared there was "undesputable evidence" that it did cross the GL. It simply didn't meet the undesputable test IMO, consequently the Ravens got ripped-off.

Last edited by nunusguy; 12-15-2008 at 04:18 PM.
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Old 12-15-2008   #14
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Default Re: Steelers / Ravens touchdown controversy (question)

Ball has to be across the goal line. If running in the end zone out of bounds and the ball is passed the goal line, your feet have to be planted inbounds.

According to NFL.com: Touchdown: When any part of the ball, legally in possession of a player inbounds, breaks the plane of the opponent’s goal line, provided it is not a touchback.
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Old 12-15-2008   #15
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Default Re: Steelers / Ravens touchdown controversy (question)

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Originally Posted by Ole Miss Texan View Post
So there is this controversy about the touchdown from Big Ben to Santonio Holmes. Holmes caught the ball with two feet in the endzone but it appears the ball never crossed (or touched) the plane of the endzone.

I understand the rule that the ball has to cross the front of the endzone but aren't there other instances where there's a TD when that doesn't happen? Hypothetically:

1. If Slaton is running for the corner of the endzone and runs though the very front corner but the ball is extended over the outside of the pilon (out of bounds), is that still a touchdown? He had complete control of the ball and possession of the ball while in the endzone, but the ball never crossed the plane.

2. What if Schaub throws a bullet to AJ on the side of the endzone. AJ is leaning out of bounds but has both tip toes in the endzone. Essentially its a sideline catch but for a TD. Technically the ball crosses the plane, but AJ didn't have control of the ball. He only gained control when the ball crossed the side plane of the endzone to go out of bounds. AJ managed to maintain possession of the ball while he was in the endzone although the ball was not.

3. Goes right along with #2 but is a what if that will rarely ever happen. Same exact play but Schaub throws is while being chased out of bounds. He jumps out of bound and throws it so the ball is never in the field of play but traveling horizontally to the out of bounds line (while out of bounds). AJ make the exact same catch where the ball never crossed the endzone inside the pilon. What happens here?

I understand the ruling on the field but the way I see it, the player maintained possession of the ball while two feet were in the endzone. In this case, I don't think the ball ever has to cross the the front of the endzone. Again though, a rule is a rule if it specifically states the ball has to cross the front no matter what.

In any case, whether it was for a touchdown or just a catch... that was a hell of a catch.
1. TD - The pylon is an extention of the endzone. Ball touches pylon, ball broke the plane of the goalline.

2. TD - Ball flew over the goaline in order for AJ to catch it in the endzone; goal line streches to infinity.

3. TD - See above. Line streches forever. As long as Schaub doesn't touch the ground and AJ is in the endzone it's a TD.

In theory a guy can by one handing the ball and have his entire body except that hand in the endzone and it is not a TD until he pulls his hand and ball to the begining of the goal line or any extention there of.
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Old 12-15-2008   #16
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Default Re: Steelers / Ravens touchdown controversy (question)

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Originally Posted by Ckw5814 View Post
Ball has to be across the goal line. If running in the end zone out of bounds and the ball is passed the goal line, your feet have to be planted inbounds.

According to NFL.com: Touchdown: When any part of the ball, legally in possession of a player inbounds, breaks the plane of the opponent’s goal line, provided it is not a touchback.
Is your first statement quoted from the rule book or your understanding? I don't think that's entirely true. A player isn't out of bounds until he steps out of bounds. His feet do not have to be planted inbounds, they just can not be out of bounds.

Think of a player diving for the front plyon and getting hit out of bounds. They always strech out when they're airborne.
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Old 12-15-2008   #17
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Default Re: Steelers / Ravens touchdown controversy (question)

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Is your first statement quoted from the rule book or your understanding? I don't think that's entirely true. A player isn't out of bounds until he steps out of bounds. His feet do not have to be planted inbounds, they just can not be out of bounds.

Think of a player diving for the front plyon and getting hit out of bounds. They always strech out when they're airborne.
No my first statement was not from the rulebook. Actually, I think you just misunderstood me. What I was trying to say is a player in the end zone can catch the ball out of bounds so long as the ball has crossed the goal line and he has two feet inbounds before stepping out of bounds. So basically the most important thing being that the ball crosses the goal line before going out of bounds. Would that be correct? When you are talking about a player getting hit out of bounds, it would be considered a TD because the player was pushed out of bounds and would have been inbounds had he not been pushed. Correct?

Examples: receiver catching a ball that is out of bounds but his feet are in bounds, running back stretching the ball across the goal line, etc. The only exception would be if the RB is running into the end zone but sticks the ball out of bounds before crossing the goal line. Now a hypothetical: if the QB throws to the WR in the end zone but the ball goes out of bounds before it crosses the goal line, unlikely but I am speaking hypothetically, and the WR catches it with his feet inbounds, is it a touchdown? The ball was out of bounds technically before it crossed the goal line similar to the RB running into the end zone and sticking the ball out of bounds before the ball crossed the goal line.
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Old 12-15-2008   #18
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Default Re: Steelers / Ravens touchdown controversy (question)

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No my first statement was not from the rulebook. Actually, I think you just misunderstood me. What I was trying to say is a player in the end zone can catch the ball out of bounds so long as the ball has crossed the goal line and he has two feet inbounds before stepping out of bounds. So basically the most important thing being that the ball crosses the goal line before going out of bounds. Would that be correct? When you are talking about a player getting hit out of bounds, it would be considered a TD because the player was pushed out of bounds and would have been inbounds had he not been pushed. Correct?

Examples: receiver catching a ball that is out of bounds but his feet are in bounds, running back stretching the ball across the goal line, etc. The only exception would be if the RB is running into the end zone but sticks the ball out of bounds before crossing the goal line. Now a hypothetical: if the QB throws to the WR in the end zone but the ball goes out of bounds before it crosses the goal line, unlikely but I am speaking hypothetically, and the WR catches it with his feet inbounds, is it a touchdown? The ball was out of bounds technically before it crossed the goal line similar to the RB running into the end zone and sticking the ball out of bounds before the ball crossed the goal line.
You are correct, I did mis-read.

Yes it is a touchdown; i.e. if the QB "sidearms" the ball while standing on the sideline and WR catches it "out of bounds" with his hands while standing inbounds.
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Old 12-15-2008   #19
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Default Re: Steelers / Ravens touchdown controversy (question)

I thought the ball broke the plane and agreed with the final call, FWIW.
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Old 12-15-2008   #20
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Default Re: Steelers / Ravens touchdown controversy (question)

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I thought the ball broke the plane and agreed with the final call, FWIW.
Agree. It looked like a good use of the replay.
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