August 29, 2009

NFL Orders Do-Overs for Dallas Scoreboard - Why Spike Now?

If I understand the reports correctly, the NFL has determined that a do-over will result if a live football strikes the massive scoreboard in the new Cowboys Stadium. The down will be replayed and the clock will be reset. This leaves me with some questions:

1) Are penalties that occur during the play still enforced?

For example, many "holding" penalties occur "during the kick", resulting in yardage being added or subtracted from the end of the return. Are these penalties ignored if a punted ball strikes the scoreboard? What about personal fouls that occur during the play? Roughing/running into the punter?

2) Is it intentional grounding if a thrown ball strikes the scoreboard?

If not, why spike it prior to crossing midfield? Not only is the clock reset, YOU DON'T LOSE THE DOWN.

3) What if a backwards pass strikes the scoreboard?

This goes with the previous question. If a punt is blocked and a kicking team player manages to get the ball free and clear but 20 yards behind the line, isn't it in the team's best interest for him to throw it at the scoreboard?

Remember that 90 feet, the distance between the bottom of the scoreboard and the field, is only the distance from home plate to first base. While the easiest parts of the scoreboard to hit are between the goal lines and the 20s, where the screens are perpindicular to the sidelines, it can be hit from nearly anywhere on the field.

The NFL needs to address these questions before the season starts. If necessary, they need to create a penalty for intentionally striking the scoreboard, or add it to the list of "unfair acts" already subject to penalty.

Can you think of any other issues?

If you enjoy this level of nerdiness, you might enjoy my other blog, The Law on Campus.

5 Responses:

Ben said...

Interesting thoughts, however I don't think any will come in to play.

According to the NFL press release (which is on my blog at any penalties, other than personal fouls would be disregarded.

As for deliberately throwing the ball into the scoreboard, I doubt that any player would be able to accurately do so and make it look like a forward pass. There is a 5-yard penalty and a 10-second runoff for actions that conserve time. There is wide latitude afforded to the referee to judge that. Such a deliberate throw would not have the arc of a regular pass, and the intent would be obvious. This is not so obvious with a punt, because its trajectory can realistically follow such a path.

newidentity said...

Is the play reviewable? If a coach believes that ball hit the scoreboard and it was not called that way on the field can he throw the red flag and challenge?

J-Red said...

Yes, though there is also authority for the booth to review it even outside the last two minutes of the half and overtime.

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