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bobref

A Guaranteed Stumper

Question

Team K trails 30-27, and has the ball on the Team R 4 yd. line with 2 seconds left in the 4th period, and it's 3rd and goal. They set up for a field goal. The middle linebacker is standing a yard deep in the end zone and the safety gets a running start, jumps on the Mike's back and leaps in the air. He reaches across the goal line and manages to block the kick. The blocked kick:

  1. Is recovered by K1 on the 1 yd. line.
  2. Is recovered by R1 on the 1 yd. line
  3. Rolls out of the end zone across the end line

You make the call.

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I'll take a stab...

After thinking about the entire scenario for a while, I wonder this; do the first two scenarios, possibly even all three, even matter given the amount of time left?  Isn't the likely hood that time runs out and the game is over regardless?  Clock starts on the snap, snap to kick is likely to be somewhere in the neighborhood of .5 seconds, the ball is likely in the air for close to that amount of time before being blocked, then you have the time it takes to recover/roll out of the end zone, 2 seconds easily runs off I would think.  

The other thing I would go crazy over if I am on Team K1's staff is this; a defender cannot use anyone else as leverage to block a kick.  In the scenario above, it sounds like the individual blocking the kick does this and thus should be a penalty and a re-kick.

This is my official answers, below I will take my stab assuming that there is still time on the clock and the defender either does not use leverage or this is not a penalty.

Scenario #1: Team K1 has the ball facing 4th and goal, I would say that the ball is still placed at the 4 because I am assuming that Team K1 cannot advance a blocked kick.

Scenario #2: No clue honestly.  My best guess is that Team R1 has the ball 1st and 10 at the 1, but that is pure guess work.

Scenario #3: Team K1 is awarded two points for a safety.  This is based on this situation being treated as a punt which is touched by the receiving team beyond the line of scrimmage, thus making it a live ball.  If this is the case, then that would mean that in Scenario #1 Team K would still retain the ball, but it would be placed at the 1 and would be 1st and goal because it would be as if Team R1 "muffed" a punt and it was recovered by Team K1.

 

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I have spent some time thinking there is a twist to this story, like a Sherlock Holmes story always had, that we cannot see. If the penalty is called for the player using another player to block the kick, then the three scenarios should not matter. If the clock ran out, then one untimed play would be allowed.

Scenarios 1 and 2: the ball had crossed the line of scrimmage and had been touched by the blocking team, so the team that recovers at the 1 is the team who gets possession.

Scenario 3 would be the same as a muffed punt or a kick going out of bounds in the end zone, a touchback.

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There is indeed a "twist." In fact, more than one. But no one has found them ... yet.

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3 hours ago, Indieanapolis said:

Jumping off the back of a teammate is a penalty isn't it?

Yes. It's a personal foul.

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Since the foul did not result in a loss of down, we would have an untimed down?  Assuming time ran out, which it probably would have.

Then what happened after the result would be moot if the penalty is accepted?

 

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17 minutes ago, SoIndRef said:

Since the foul did not result in a loss of down, we would have an untimed down?  Assuming time ran out, which it probably would have.

Then what happened after the result would be moot if the penalty is accepted?

 

There's more than one foul.

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1 hour ago, bobref said:

There's more than one foul.

Contact with the Center when he jumped?

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30 minutes ago, Irishman said:

Contact with the Center when he jumped?

No.  Doesn't the action of the R player who blocked the kick fit within the following definition: "intentionally striking the ball with the arm or hand?"  

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OK....so, the only thing left that I can think of is that Mike would be penalized for aiding him to jump????

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On 11/13/2016 at 1:59 PM, bobref said:

Team K trails 30-27, and has the ball on the Team R 4 yd. line with 2 seconds left in the 4th period, and it's 3rd and goal. They set up for a field goal. The middle linebacker is standing a yard deep in the end zone and the safety gets a running start, jumps on the Mike's back and leaps in the air. He reaches across the goal line and manages to block the kick. The blocked kick:

  1. Is recovered by K1 on the 1 yd. line.
  2. Is recovered by R1 on the 1 yd. line
  3. Rolls out of the end zone across the end line

You make the call.

There is so much going on here, I hardly know where to begin. A few things to keep in mind, because they are common to all 3'scenarios. First, time expires during the down. Second, there are two fouls by Team R. Positioning yourself on the body of a teammate to gain an advantage is a personal foul. As to the second foul, not many think about blocking a kick as a foul, but in this situation it is. Touching of a low scrimmage kick in flight is ignored ... except if the touching occurs beyond the expanded neutral zone. The neutral zone only expands a maximum of 2 yds. beyond the defensive line of scrimmage, so the touching which "blocked" the kick is not ignored. Thus, when the safety reached across the goal line and blocked the kick, he intentionally struck the loose ball, which is a foul for illegal batting. Now, let's talk about the scenarios.

Let's look first at scenario 1, the blocked kick is recovered by K1 on the 1 yd. line. Since the kick was first touched by R beyond the neutral zone expanded, the recovery makes it K's ball, 1st and goal. Since the clock expired during the down, K's acceptance of either penalty yields a half the distance enforcement, and an untimed down in which K gets to try and score again. That's the easiest scenario.

In scenario 2, R ends up with the ball. K still has to decide what to do with the penalties. Because both fouls occurred during a scrimmage kick down, and Team R was in possession at the end of the down, and the fouls were committed beyond the expanded neutral zone, post-scrimmage kick enforcement applies. The basic spot for enforcement purposes is the spot where the kick ended, i.e., the spot where R recovered. Since both fouls occurred behind that basic spot, enforcement is from the spot of the foul. Thus, if K accepts the penalty for the "leaping" foul, which occurred in the end zone, the result is a safety. Of course, if K does this, the game is over and R wins by 1 point because the period is not extended by an untimed down when the result of the last play is a safety. On the other hand, if K accepts the penalty for the illegal bating foul, it'll be half the distance from the spot of the foul, and it will be R's ball there for an untimed down. R can take a safety on the untimed down, and the result is game over, R wins. If K declines both penalties, it's R's ball at the spot of recovery. No untimed down. Game over.

In scenario 3, the result of the play is a touchback. Thus, the ball will next be put in play by R, which triggers post-scrimmage kick enforcement. Thus, the result of scenario 3 is the same end result as scenario 2. Team R is going to win.

Now, picture the referee trying to explain this to the coaches.

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2 hours ago, Indieanapolis said:

So is this coming from personal experience?

I was wondering about this too; I'd there any documented case of this happening or a brainchild of bobref?

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My guess is that with all the years he has officiated, he has experienced this. I do know the NFHS publishes case books that accompany the rules, so something like this may be in the case book as well. 

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This is the kind of stuff officials think about all the time, rather than doing something productive with their lives. Except when we're on the field, we live in a world of "what if." 

:14:

  • Upvote 1

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I need to proofread this stuff a little better. Just to be clear, in scenario 1, since K has to accept one of the R penalties in order to get an untimed down, enforcement of the half the distance penalty will be from the previous spot, not the spot of K's recovery. This could impact whether K decides to use the untimed down to kick a game-tying field goal, or score a game-winning TD.

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So if R is up 3 against a final FG attempt, it is in their best interest to intentionally leap off a player to block the FG...regardless of that action's legality.

 If they recover or it becomes a touchback, they win regardless of the penalty enforcement?

Edited by US 31

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37 minutes ago, US 31 said:

So if R is up 3 against a final FG attempt, it is in their best interest to intentionally leap off a player to block the FG...regardless of that action's legality.

 If they recover or it becomes a touchback, they win regardless of the penalty enforcement?

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Actually, it's not necessarily clear cut. Because you have to factor in what would happen if they tried to block the field goal try like this, but failed. It's still a foul, and Team K would have the choice of taking the 3 off the board and trying to score a TD on the untimed down, and win the game, OR, if the field goal was good, Team K could have the penalty enforced from the succeeding spot in overtime, since this option eliminates the untimed down. In that case we'd either start the OT with K having 1st and goal from the 5, or R having 1st and goal from the 25.

Edited by bobref

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1 hour ago, US 31 said:

So if R is up 3 against a final FG attempt, it is in their best interest to intentionally leap off a player to block the FG...regardless of that action's legality.

 If they recover or it becomes a touchback, they win regardless of the penalty enforcement?

This also assumes that every official knows exactly how this should play out, or how to rule on it.

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I just learned something while I am in a delay.  But I hope this NEVER occurs in one of my games.

5 hours ago, Irishman said:

This also assumes that every official knows exactly how this should play out, or how to rule on it.

Ugh... 

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I am almost certain that Bill Belichick has read Bobref's mind-blowing situation and will surely use this to the Patriots' advantage in the future.

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