Pittsburgh was ahead 11-10 before the last play of the Pittsburgh San Diego game today. San Diego had a forward pass and two lateral passes. The second was recovered by Pittsburgh and run in for a touchdown. After a review they declared the first lateral was an illegal forward pass. They took away the TD apparently based on this ruling:
On a foul by the offense on last play of half or game, the down is not replayed and the play in which the foul is committed is nullified.
So suppose it’s overtime and this play happens. It TD counts it’s the last play of the game so the play is nullified. But then the score is still tied, so it’s not the last play of the game, so the TD counts.
In any case, the rule seems very strange. Suppose it had been the end of the first half. And now given that tiebreakers can look at point spreads even the end of game could matter.
The Replay Assistant challenged the backward pass ruling, and the play was REVERSED. (Shotgun) 17-P.Rivers pass short middle to 21-L.Tomlinson, dead ball declared at SD 26 for 5 yards. PENALTY on SD-21-L.Tomlinson, Illegal Forward Pass, 0 yards, enforced at SD 5.
So apparently the ball was ex post ruled dead before the second lateral that was recovered. Nevertheless the paradox still stands. We only have to think of holding on the offense at the line of scrimmage. The defense intercepts the pass and runs it back for a TD.
What I’m still trying to figure out is why Tomlinson’s “handoff” was ruled a forward pass in the first place. I watched that game, and CBS showed about a hundred replays of the play. Since it was ruled a backward pass on the field, the replay booth needed “conclusive evidence” that Tomlinson actually passed the ball forward. None of the hundred replays CBS showed had that evidence, so I’m still puzzled on how the replay booth made that call.
Anyway, it looks like the play would have been ruled the same way whether it was the first play or last play of the game, so at least that’s settled.
ETA: I just watched the replay of the play on NFL.com (here, starting at 3:47). Holy crap, the guy that Tomlinson threw the ball to was a yard behind him. No way that should have been overturned.
I was watching the game with a bunch of rugby players. Our thoughts? The referee should have played advantage to the Steelers on the forward pass. However, the Steelers knocked it on before the touch down. Referee’s ruling? Scrum down, Steelers put.
Ah dang. Fun to speculate, though: having grown up on football, I’d always wished that more Americans took a serious look at rugby, and getting an American football star into the game might be a way to do it.
I like how, on his Wiki page, it looks like Polamalu is doing a haka (and yes, I realize the haka is Māori and not Samoan).
But I do wonder why the lateral is only used in desperate, late game situations. It’s a bit dangerous, but not if all your guys are running in support and expecting it. It would be an immensely powerful tool if just a handful of guys on the team were familiar with a rugby pass.
[way off-topic] The Pacific Islander rugby nations have their own war dances which are a lot like the All Blacks’ Ka Mate, though- Tonga has the Ikale Tahi, Fiji has the cibi*, and Western (not American) Samoa does the Siva Tau.*
They’re all basically hakas- lots of stamping, clapping and hands on knees. The Tongan one is extra-cool because the team spontaneously performed it during a 1939 tour of New Zealand in response to the Ka Mate, and adopted it as a tradition afterwards.
*these two are slightly different in that the words were written specifically as a pre-match war chant, rather than taken from historical dances. [/wo-t]