NFL RULES

I was watching with feigned interest the Cincinnati Bengals/San Diego Chargers game yesterday. I really didn’t care who won, but it was on TV and no Big Bang Theory reruns were available, so…

During the second quarter, a play happened that got my attention. The Bengals had a third and goal from the one yard line and QB Jeff Driskel rolled out and decided to run for pay dirt. He launched himself forward from around the five and with ball extended landed on the goal line. A touchdown was ruled and as always, the play was reviewed. Then things became a little fuzzy.

The announcers and former referee Gene Steratore suggested that his knee may have touched before the ball crossed the plane of the end zone. He also was not touched prior to having the ball break the plane… so it was a touchdown – right? Well, in the words of Lee Corso, not so fast my friends.

Replay decided his knee was down prior to the ball crossing the plane. I thought that was debatable, but let’s go on. Since Driskel is a quarterback he gives himself up when sliding or diving or whatever you want to call it. Feet first, face first – it doesn’t matter – once he launches it is deemed to be giving himself up and he needs not be touched to determine at what point he is ruled down.

It was ruled he was short of the line and the Bengals lined up to go for it on fourth down only to have a false start make them eschew the TD effort and kick a field goal instead.

Steratore made it sound like it was up to the officials to determine whether a quarterback going head first is giving himself up or not. If that is true, then the replay official botched this call. Diving for a TD is NOT giving oneself up in my opinion. I get trying to protect the quarterback, but this is going too far.

The view from my seat suggests that the NFL rules committee needs to take a look at this one. Let the quarterback decide if he wants protection or not. Feet first… protect him. Face first… good luck!

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