One more football Q. This one is difficult!

Scenario: Team A needs to get into field goal range to have a shot at winning the game. They also dont have any time outs. Lets say there is a minute left in the game.
Team B knows team A is going to pass the ball to the sidelines. We all know the reason for this (get yards and stop the clock with the reciever stepping out of bounds).
Team A throws a couple of completions to the sideline as planned, but instead of one more sideline pass with time running down they throw one right down the middle. Then the reciever (he would not have been as aggressively defended because team B is defending the sidelines and the long threat at this point) wings the ball laterally to the side lines and out of bounds. Incomplete lateral pass. Clock stops because of incomplete pass. Many yards picked up. Team A has time to kick the winning field goal.

Is this scenario legal? (the lateral pass part)
Would the clock stop?
Where would they spot the ball?

Have at it!

Pff, that’s easy :wink:

What you’re really talking about here is an intentional fumble.

I can’t find the NFL rulebook online, but the NCAA rulebook is quite explicit about this, and I imagine the NFL is pretty similar.

Here’s the relevant section of the NCAA rules:

The NCAA penalty is 5 yards from the spot of the foul plus loss of down. I believe the NFL considers an intentional fumble as an illegal pass, in which case the penalty is the same.

So the ball would be spotted 5 yards behind where the guy threw it from, the team would lose a down, and the clock would be started as soon as the ball was spotted; the clock wouldn’t really stop anyway, other than the time it takes to announce and mark off the penalty.

That’s a pretty stiff penalty for a play that has an iffy chance of success to begin with

Also, in the NFL, there is a time penalty imposed on the offense for such a penalty. I believe it is 10 seconds off the clock.

Yes, that’s legal, but exceedingly difficult to execute.

The clock would stop ONLY if the lateral would go out of bounds – otherwise, the ball would be “live” (i.e. advanceable by whatever offensive OR defensive player gets to it first).

Keep in mind that in actual practice, no defense ever sells out totally to defend the sidelines – a safety or two will normally still play “centerfield”. Therefore, when the receiver has caught the ball and is ready to heave a lateral out-of-bounds (a long throw from the middle of the field), he will have a safety in his grill in short order. This virtually guarantees a botched lateral attempt of some kind – most likely, preventing enough zing on the ball to get it out of bounds. After all, the WR won’t be able to set his feet and fire.

Um, I assume bordelond that you were writing your post before any other posts had gone up. The maneuver whuckfistle described is most definately NOT legal.

Well … looks like I might stand corrected. Two things may be saving my position:

  1. The collegiate rule racekarl may ot may not be an NFL rule. I think it probably is an NFL rule, too, though.

  2. The ten-second runoff Murcielago refers to takes place after illegal FORWARD passes, I thought. I might be wrong.

Keep in mind you can not attempt 2 forward passes. It seems that if receiver could catch a pass and then throw a pass a bit backwards towards a receiver along the sidelines and it might be legal. I think a “lateral pass” is one that that does not go FOWARD. Likewise if the teams was really stupid they could run the ball up the middle…gain a few yards…then have the running back throw towards a player on the sideline (but slightly backwards) and out of bouds. I think that is legal but the net gain would not be worth the risk.
but then again i could be wrong

I guess as a trick play, it could be used to SEEM like a legal lateral was being attempted. The reciever throws to the sideline and then, whooops, the ball goes sailing over the closest offensive players head. This would be a judgement call for the ref. and may still complete the objective of the offense ( to stop the clock ).

By the way, can an overhand pass be a lateral after the line of scrimmage or does it have to be an underhand pass to be considered a lateral?

Squid - You are correct, a lateral pass is ANY pass that does not go forward. 90 degrees sideways and backwards are acceptable.

OK, here is a Q & A from :

Darryl LaFalce, Hamburg NY: Can a player intentionally fumble the ball out of bounds to stop the clock near the end of the game because their team has no timeouts remaing?

Mike Pereira: No. This would result in a 10-second runoff because he is illegally attempting to conserve time.

So there :stuck_out_tongue:

BTW: After that 49ers/Giants fiasco, it should be interesting to see what kind of officiating treachery will befall the Raiders this year.

I posted the same question in October:

NFL: Intentional lateral out of bounds.

This is a hook and ladder play, with the additional aspect that the trailing player allows the ball to go out of bounds.

I believe it would be legal, unless the ref ruled the out of bounds part was deliberate.

I believe all that matters is the direction of the ball’s travel (forward vs. backwards). Overhand, underhand, jump-shot, frisbee-style toss, whatever.

I was hoping to find confirmation of this in the NFL’s digest of rules, but it doesn’t specifically address that question.

In football, how you pass the ball doesn’t matter. The only difference is forward or backward. And even if the passer is facing forward and the ball is knocked backward because the passer is hit while throwing, it’s still considered a forward pass.

As for throwing a backwards pass overhand, just watch highlights of the Music City Miracle.

Which, of course, we all know now because of the Patriots.

What’s the Music City Miracle?

Don’t ask someone from Buffalo what happened. They will start crying.