Odd NFL rule and response from a Ref

Another thread reminded me of a question I’ve had for some time. I generally get a new rule book every 4-5 years and make notations on rule changes in between getting new copies. I read through the rule book on occasion for fun (maybe odd, but I enjoy it)

Anyway, a friend of a friend knows Ed Hoculi professionally and agreed to pass on my e-mail to him. Ed responded (very quickly I might add). I thought this might be an interesting tidbit for the dopers fans of the NFL.

What really confused me about the rule is that the attempting team is the only team that can score on a PAT, and the defense can’t have possession of the ball (once they obtain possession, the play is over).

Ed’s response is

I wonder if this type of play has ever happened.

I don’t know of a case in the NFL, but it’s happened in the NCAA before. It’s more likely to happen there (though still extremely unlikely) because the try doesn’t end if the defense gains possession of the ball. It happened in a Texas - Texas A&M game a few years ago.

Also, in the NCAA, your suggested 98-yard backwards play would actually result in one point for the defense.

Actually, it would result in 2 pts. (as long as it wasn’t a blocked kick, in which case it would be one.)

I thought if a 2 point conversion was attempted and the offense turned the ball over, the defense could return the ball for 2 points.

A blocked extra point is a dead ball, is it not?

In the NCAA this can happen, not in the NFL.

In the NFL, yes.
I though, but am not sure, that the NCAA allowed for a one point return on that ball.

You’re saying that the offense giving up a safety after a blocked kick scores 1 for the defense, and without the kick it’s 2? I hadn’t heard of such a distinction, but it’s not something that comes up too often :D.

Let me see if I can find the NCAA rulebook. I’m not very versed in their rules.

I found them here, but don’t have time right now to go through them. After thinking about your response, I think you’re right but I’m not sure how it works out. Is the ball dead on a blocked PAT kick or does the defense have an opportunity to recover and try for two.

http://www.ncaapublications.com/Uploads/PDF/Football_Rules_5_2204c0005d-845f-4813-8391-54f15136079d.pdf (.pdf warning)

I’ll see if I can get through it later.

In both pro and college football, a TD on the PAT counts as 2 points, and a FG or safety counts one. In college football, either team can score those points. In pro football, only the offensive team can score.

Therefore, in pro football, the only way to score a safety on a PAT is for the offense to score it without the defense gaining possession of the ball. Such plays are extremely, extremely rare and I am almost certain that such a play has never happened.

In college football, as noted, the ball remains alive after the defense gains possession, so it’s much easier for the original offensive team to score a safety, and it has happened more than once. It would be possible, but in practice almost inconceivable, for the original defending team to score a safety. Either would be worth one point.

I just think it’s cool that Ed Hoculi emailed you back, and with such a detailed answer. That was nice of him, since I cannot imagine answering fan rules questions is part of his job.

An e-mail from Ed Hochuli?

We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!

Oh, somehow I think he was just thrilled to answer a question that didn’t start with, “How do you sleep at night after that Chargers game?!?”

He’s a lawyer, it shouldn’t be too hard for him. :wink:

I imagine Ed having a specially designed keyboard that accommodates his massive biceps so he can respond to emails.

whatami, remember it’s probably best to quote portions of others’ work rather than the whole thing. In this case, Hoculi technically has copyright to his words, be they in an email to you or printed elsewhere.

Ellen Cherry
Game Room Moderator

Which is really a shame. “Guns” has given so much to the game. They say that inadvertent whistle absolutely tore him up.