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Locked due to no posts in 60 days. Report 1st post if need unlocked Touchdown rule question

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SuhsYerDaddy

Recruit
5 Year Member
A few months back I got into a debate here about what constitutes a touchdown. I stated that I thought the plane through the goal line extended infinitely wide, but I stood corrected when someone told me it ended at the out-of-bounds line (essentially the outside edge of the pylon).

So I have another question. Let's say I take a handoff at the five yard line. Before I cross the goal line I reach my hand with the football out of bounds, but at no time do I step out of bounds, nor does any other part of my body touch out of bounds.

I continue into the endzone, without losing the ball, without being tackled, without touching out of bounds, but keeping the ball out of bounds. I walk five yards deep in the endzone so there's no question that my whole body is well past the goal line.

So would that be a touchdown? If not, and I stepped out of bounds from the endzone, would it be a touchback? Or would the ball be out of bounds effective where I first held it out of bounds? Or what?
 

HuskerDynasty

Junior Varsity
5 Year Member
It is a plane, which means it is infinitely wide. Technically, it even extends infinitely down underneath the field. A plane extends infinitely in all directions within two dimensions.

Any time the ball crosses that plane while the player is inbounds, it is a touchdown. Your case above is clearly a TD.

So let's say a WR stretches out to catch the ball and barely gets his toes inbounds at the 1 yard line, then as he's falling down (with toes still touching inbounds) he stretches out the ball to cross the goal line plane out of bounds, but before any part of his body touches out of bounds. That is a TD.

However, let's say another player runs towards the pylon with the ball and dives from the one yard line. So he crosses the sideline in midair at the one and crosses the goal line plane with the ball out of bounds before hitting the ground. That ball will be spotted where it last crossed the sideline (at the one yard line). Not a TD.

I hope that's clear. It's kind of hard to explain without drawing a picture.
 
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Cyberbach

Founding Father
15 Year Member
It is a plane, which means it is infinitely wide. Technically, it even extends infinitely down underneath the field. A plane extends infinitely in all directions within two dimensions.

Any time the ball crosses that plane while the player is inbounds, it is a touchdown. Your case above is clearly a TD.

So let's say a WR stretches out to catch the ball and barely gets his toes inbounds at the 1 yard line, then as he's falling down (with toes still touching inbounds) he stretches out the ball to cross the goal line plane out of bounds, but before any part of his body touches out of bounds. That is a TD.

However, let's say another player runs towards the pylon with the ball and dives from the one yard line. So he crosses the sideline in midair at the one and crosses the goal line plane with the ball out of bounds before hitting the ground. That ball will be spotted where it last crossed the sideline (at the one yard line). Not a TD.

I hope that's clear. It's kind of hard to explain without drawing a picture.
Well said Dynasty.:thumbsup:
 

dkref11

***YesMan***
10 Year Member
que Dkref :D

OK..I'll Play;)

In 2011, changes were made regarding the Plane Extension of the goal line...below is a pretty good description with a few examples..hope this helps clear it up for everyone.

Goal Line Plane Extension changed.
Now the Goal line plane runs between the pylons, and includes the entire pylon. The plane no longer exists beyond the pylons except in two specific cases: (a) When a ball carrier touches the pylon, and (b) when the ball carrier touches the ground in the end zone.



Examples:

Play #1: The ball carrier dives for the corner of the end zone, leaping at the one yard line. The ball - in his possession: (a) touches the pylon; (b) goes over the top of the pylon; or (c) crosses the goal line inside the pylon. The player then first touches the ground three yards beyond the goal line out of bounds. Ruling: Touchdown in all three instances. The ball broke the plane of the goal line in the player’s possession.


Play #2: The player heads for the right pylon of the goal line. At the two yard line he dives or is blocked into the air by an opponent. The ball – in his right hand – crosses the sideline at the one yd/line and passes outside the pylon. Then the runner while air born (a) touches the pylon with his foot or left hand; or (b) first touches the ground three yards beyond the goal line out of bounds. Ruling: In (a), Touchdown, since the plane is extended because the player touched the pylon. In (b), the plane is NOT extended, because the player did not touch the pylon or the ground in the end zone. The ball is out of bounds at the one yd/line. No Touchdown.


Play #3: The ball carrier heads for the right pylon of the goal line. The ball in his right hand crosses the extension of the goal line outside (to the right of) the pylon. The runner is (a) deemed to have stepped on the goal line; or (b) deemed to have stepped on the side line inches from the goal line. Ruling: Touchdown in (a) since the plane is extended by touching the ground in the end zone. In (b) there is no touchdown because the player did not touch the pylon nor did he touch the ground in the end zone. The goal line is NOT extended. The ball is ruled out of bounds at the point of crossing the side line.


Play #4: The ball carrier heads for the right pylon of the goal line with the ball in his right hand. His foot hits the pylon just before the ball (a) crosses the pylon; or (b) crosses the extension of the goal line outside the pylon. Ruling: (a) and (b) No touchdown in either case. Because the pylon is out of bounds, the ball is dead once the runner’s foot hits the pylon. Thus the ball is dead in both cases before it crosses the goal line or the side line.


Play #5: The ball carrier is hit and his forward progress is stopped inbounds near the goal line at the side line to his right. When he is stopped, the ball is in his right hand extended beyond the goal line (a) inside the pylon; or (b) outside the pylon. Ruling: In (a) the ball extended inside the pylon across the goal line creates a touchdown and the ball is dead at that point. In (b) no part of his body touched the pylon or the ground in the end zone. In this case the plane is NOT extended for a touchdown. The ball is dead short of the goal line.
 
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HuskerDynasty

Junior Varsity
5 Year Member
Thanks, dkref. I didn't know the rule changed this year.

(But I wish they wouldn't call it a plane if it doesn't extend infinitely!)

So neither of my examples are TDs, but the example in the OP is a TD, right?

Also, is this the same at all levels?
 

dkref11

***YesMan***
10 Year Member
Thanks, dkref. I didn't know the rule changed this year.

(But I wish they wouldn't call it a plane if it doesn't extend infinitely!)

So neither of my examples are TDs, but the example in the OP is a TD, right?

Also, is this the same at all levels?
The OP is a TD...


College went to the NFL rule..High School still uses the indefinate plane as you described. So In High School your examples are TD's.
 
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Husker in Spokane

Junior Varsity
15 Year Member
I was wondering if it should be spelled plane or plain, as in the Great Plains of Nebraska, so I looked it up. Obviously, plane is the correct spelling in reference to this topic but now I wonder why plain is spelled such when reference that big flat area out west of Lincoln!?!

plane 1 |plān|noun1 a flat surface on which a straight line joining any two points on it would wholly lie : the horizontal plane.an imaginary flat surface through or joining material objects : the planets orbit the sun in roughly the same plane.a flat or level surface of a material object : the plane of his forehead.a flat surface producing lift by the action of air or water over and under it.2 a level of existence, thought, or development : everything is connected on the spiritual plane.

plain 1 |plān|adjective1 not decorated or elaborate; simple or ordinary in character : good plain food | everyone dined at a plain wooden table.without a pattern; in only one color : a plain fabric.bearing no indication as to source, contents, or affiliation : donations can be put in a plain envelope.(of a person) having no pretensions; not remarkable or special : a plain, honest man with no nonsense about him.[ attrib. ] (of a person) without a special title or status : for years he was just plain Bill.2 easy to perceive or understand; clear : the advantages were plain to see |it was plain that something was very wrong.[ attrib. ] (of written or spoken usage) clearly expressed, without the use of technical or abstruse terms : written in plain English.not using concealment or deception; frank : he recalled her plain speaking.3 (of a person) not beautiful or attractive : the dark-haired, rather plain woman.4 [ attrib. ] sheer; simple (used for emphasis) : the main problem is just plain exhaustion.5 (of a knitting stitch) made using a knit rather than a purl stitch.
 

SuhsYerDaddy

Recruit
5 Year Member
Thanks dkref11! I do like how they changed the rules, and your examples are good ones.

HuskerDynasty, thanks also for your comments. Earlier this year I had your original understanding of the plane always extending infinitely up, down and sideways. I'm an engineer, so I get your description.

Because the plane extends infinitely high, if the runner is in a plane, and flies through the plane, it's plainly a touchdown.

Because the plane extends infinitely down--well that doesn't really matter unless his team has shovels or we get into quantum mechanics. I suppose sinkholes are also an option.

Maybe the tv stations should broadcast the image of a partial plane that switches to an infinitely wide plane when the runner touches down in the end zone or touches the pylons, ala the yellow first down line! :D
 

HuskerDynasty

Junior Varsity
5 Year Member
Another question for you dkref . . .

Why?

Why do they change rules like this? Is there a rules committee that thinks they have to change a certain number of rules each year to justify their existence, kinda like those guys in Washington?
 

KleinTxHusker

Blackshirt
10 Year Member
Thanks, dkref. I didn't know the rule changed this year.

(But I wish they wouldn't call it a plane if it doesn't extend infinitely!)

So neither of my examples are TDs, but the example in the OP is a TD, right?

Also, is this the same at all levels?
Well the way I would think about it is the sidelines are planes, too. They also extend infinitely in their directions. The field, too is a plane that extends infinitely in all directions. Once the player crosses the sideline plane and hits the field plane the play is over. The question is where the ball was when the sideline plane was crossed while touching the field plane...
 

canadianhusker

Red Shirt
10 Year Member
how about this one...

WR dives to catch a ball near the pylon. his feet leave the ground in bounds and he catches the ball and then crashes into the pylon as he hits the ground. he never loses possession of the ball but his first contact with the ground is out of bounds but past the extended goal line

was it a touchdown when he crossed the plane of the goal line with the ball? or is it no catch because he never had the ball and touched the ground in bounds?
 

HuskerJAG

5-Star Recruit
5 Year Member
how about this one...

WR dives to catch a ball near the pylon. his feet leave the ground in bounds and he catches the ball and then crashes into the pylon as he hits the ground. he never loses possession of the ball but his first contact with the ground is out of bounds but past the extended goal line

was it a touchdown when he crossed the plane of the goal line with the ball? or is it no catch because he never had the ball and touched the ground in bounds?
Incomplete. The pylon is out of bounds, so the first thing he contacts is out. He did not have possession of the ball, with at least one foot in bounds.
 

HskrTom

Junior Varsity
10 Year Member
Agree that it is incomplete, but pretty sure the entire pylon is considered in bounds.
 
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