Fumble or Illegal Forward Pass

falcettik

VaPreps Honorable Mention
Nov 3, 2004
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The play in this video was ruled a fumble that was recovered for a touchdown. The ball carrier was close to the goal line, so you could argue he was stretching the ball for the goal line, but it also looks like he attempts to just barely toss the ball forward so his team mate can recover. Is this a fumble or illegal forward pass?

 

White hat

VaPreps Honorable Mention
Aug 17, 2001
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I don't see any indication this is an illegal forward pass. He was definitely stretching for the goal line and if he realized he wasn't going to make it, there's nothing left to lose by dropping it, but I don't see anything that would have led to the call of an IFP in real time.

Realize, the action on the field that could have been called either way (fumble or down, or even fumble vs. IFP) happened in about 3 to 4 tenths of a second. That's all they had and from that they had to make a call. I think in the same situation I would likely make the same call.
 

falcettik

VaPreps Honorable Mention
Nov 3, 2004
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I don't see any indication this is an illegal forward pass. He was definitely stretching for the goal line and if he realized he wasn't going to make it, there's nothing left to lose by dropping it, but I don't see anything that would have led to the call of an IFP in real time.

Realize, the action on the field that could have been called either way (fumble or down, or even fumble vs. IFP) happened in about 3 to 4 tenths of a second. That's all they had and from that they had to make a call. I think in the same situation I would likely make the same call.
I understand that in real time the official has very little time to make his decision, and I am not faulting him at all. Just seeking clarification since it almost looks like a shovel pass, to some extent. But the ball carrier is certainly looking to get the ball across the goal line. A heads up play, to say the least. Thanks.
 

White hat

VaPreps Honorable Mention
Aug 17, 2001
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This is an interesting play. I was working for a TV station while in college and covering a big game with playoff implications. The visiting team had the ball 4th and goal at the 1. The running back tries to fly over the pile and he's met well short of the goal line, so he just dropped the ball and an offensive lineman fell on it in the endzone. Touchdown. We interviewed him afterward and he said the same thing -- he dropped it on purpose. Whatever works.

I was on the sidelines at UVa some years ago when they played Colorado State in the season opener and Marquis Hagans was UVa's QB. With less than a minute remaining in the game and UVa trailing, Hagans runs an option on third down just needing a first down to keep the drive alive and set up a go-ahead field goal. He was stopped short of the line to gain and he pitched the ball forward. To me, it was clearly a pitch. CSU fell on the ball and the crew ruled it a fumble. I'm not a UVa fan so I didn't care about the outcome, but UVa should have been given another play after the penalty assessment instead of a turnover. Even Division I guys can miss this call, and Hagans pitch was a lot more obvious than the player in this video.