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Fouls on Scoring Plays - Carryover



This is a puzzler for me. 3 times in the past two seasons I have seen the following play resulting in a penalty enforcement mistake:

QB A1 passes to A6 for a TD. During the play, B4 is flagged for defensive pass interference against A6, who managed to catch the pass despite the interference. In each of the 3 cases, R signaled the penalty as declined, and counted the TD. The amazing thing about it was each of the crews I saw do this was a state finals level crew. One of these instances was in a state final at LOS!

Of course, the correct enforcement is to offer Team A the option of enforcing the penalty half the distance on the try, or 15 yds. on the subsequent kickoff. This is not a new rule, and for the life of me I can’t understand why it is mis-enforced so frequently. So, let’s review. This is what the rule says:

“ART. 2 . . . If an opponent of the scoring team commits a foul (other than unsportsmanlike conduct or a nonplayer foul) during a down in which a touchdown is scored and there was not a change in possession during the down, A may accept the results of the play and choose enforcement of the PENALTY [sic]:
   a. On the try, or

    b. On the subsequent kickoff.”

Take note that the penalty does not carry over to the first snap of an OT period since there is no “subsequent kickoff.” In that instance, it can only be enforced on the try.

The same options exist on a play where a TD was scored and there was a change of possession during the down, e.g. a pick six, provided the foul by the non-scoring team occurs after the change of possession. If the foul occurs before the change of possession, the scoring team must decline the penalty to keep the score.

If there is a foul by the defense on a successful try, or field goal, the options are the same, except the penalty does carry over to the first snap of an OT period. That’s because the wording of the rule as it pertains to trys and field goals is slightly different:

“If during a successful [try or field goal], a foul by R occurs, K is given the choice of:
    a. Accepting the penalty and replaying the down following enforcement; or

    b. Accepting the result of the play and enforcement of the penalty from the ­succeeding spot.” (emphasis supplied)

Note that after a TD, we carry over to the “subsequent kickoff,” while on a try or field goal, we carry it over to the “succeeding spot.” While there is no kickoff in overtime, there is a succeeding spot.

So, coaches, what should you do if you pass for a TD and there’s a defensive penalty, and the Referee simply signals that the penalty is declined and the score is counted? Go immediately to the wing official on your sideline and say the following: “I request a timeout for a coach-official conference to review a possible misapplication or misinterpretation of a rule.” The relevant rule provides:

“When a time-out is so granted, the referee will confer with the coach at the sideline in front of his team box in the field of play. If the conference results in the referee altering his ruling, the opposing coach will be notified, the revision made, and the time-out shall be an official’s time-out. If the referee’s ruling prevails, the time-out remains charged to the team requesting the time-out for the conference.” If the team requesting the conference has no timeouts remaining, and the Referee’s ruling stands, it’s a 5 yd. delay of game penalty.

I’d enjoy hearing instances where you observed fouls on scoring plays and what the subsequent enforcement was.



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