NFL Question

The Steelers kicker, Jeff Reed, lines up to kick a 50-yard game-winning field goal in the final seconds of the Super Bowl against the Cowboys. The kick is on its way and will clearly split the uprights with plenty of distance. Just then, a bird flies directly at the ball and knocks it down and the ball falls short. No one is certain whether it was trained by Cowboy fans to do this or it just happened to pick a bad time to randomly fly near the goalpost. What happens? Can the referee determine that the ball would have cleared the crossbar and award the game to the Steelers, or would it be a re-kick or, god forbid, a miss?

The Steelers kicker, Jeff Reed, lines up to kick a 50-yard game-winning field goal in the final seconds of the Super Bowl against the Cowboys. The kick is on its way and will clearly split the uprights with plenty of distance. Just then, a bird flies directly at the ball and knocks it down and the ball falls short. No one is certain whether it was trained by Cowboy fans to do this or it just happened to pick a bad time to randomly fly near the goalpost. What happens? Can the referee determine that the ball would have cleared the crossbar and award the game to the Steelers, or would it be a re-kick or, god forbid, a miss?

I believe the ball has to pass through the uprights. Anything that blocks them (other than something like a player throwing his helmet to intercept) is just bad luck.

And even that wouldn’t count as a made field goal. There’s be a 15 yard penalty, and a rekick.

In this Ask Jerry Markbreit piece, we have a similar question posed to him.

“A 55-yard field goal attempt is heading right down the middle and barely glances off a bird, but it still clears the crossbar by five yards, right down the middle. Can the referee disregard the gondola rule since the bird didn’t really affect the outcome? A replay would seem unfair to the offense.”

His answer:

“If the field goal attempt hits the bird in your play, the play will be replayed, even if the kick is good. It’s possible that the deflection off the bird made the kick good.”

For this reason we Cowboy fans quit training birds and switched to Mexican free-tailed bats.

I think this is where the Cowboys video board rule comes in…

“If a ball in play strikes a video board, guide wire, sky cam or any other object, the ball will be dead immediately, and the down will be replayed at the previous spot.”

“If there is not an on-field ruling that the ball struck an object, the replay assistant is empowered to initiate a booth review, including if the event occurs prior to the two-minute warning. If, prior to the two-minute warning, no booth review is initiated by the replay assistant, a coach’s challenge is permitted under the customary procedures for such a challenge.”

So, for the OP, dead ball and re-kick regardless of whether the attempt went through the uprights.

I would imagine that a Do-Over should be possible, based on the fact that currently if you hit the Cowboy’s Flatscreen on a punt, that’s what the new current ruling says you should do.
So I’d say the same thing should probably happen in this case- if it can be proven that something interfered with the play like that, then you should get a do-over.

Game over. Steelers lose.

God obviously favors the Cowboys, this is just a sign (IOW, I have no idea)

I couldn’t find it on first glance, and there’s no search engine. :frowning: But it may be in there somewhere under Emergencies and Unfair Acts.

It would be up to the refs, but most likely the answer would be “tough luck.” The ball has to split the uprights. It didn’t hit a part of the stadium or was interfered with by the defending team.

It’s not under Emergencies or Unfair Acts, either – I found a 2006 version of the rule book online and it doesn’t say anything about anything (other than a player) that might interfere with a ball in the air, whether it’s a kick, punt, pass, lateral or whatever.

MY WAG is, game over, Steelers lose.

Aw. How cute. Steelers fans are complaining about being screwed. You know nothing about football-based pain.

Signed,
A Lions Fan

In most situations, I don’t know. If the Steelers are involved, then the ruling will favor the Steelers.

Spare me.

My guess is the Steelers are out of luck (about damn time).

When it snows, I’ve seen many fans roll snowballs and try to knock opponents kicks out of the air during FG attempts. Doubt they’ve ever hit anything though.

Duplicate thread.

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=532241

Not the same, but no pitch ruled in baseball;
http://www.minorleaguedugout.com/bird.php

How quickly we forget the Thanksgiving game where the Lions were awarded the ball after the refs screwed up the overtime head/tail call by the Steelers and awarded the ball to the Lions.

Dude, cut the man some slack. He’s a *Lions *fan, for Pete’s sake!

What a ridiculous hypothetical.

Cowboys* in the Super Bowl?*