phantom touchdown

Submitted by dearbornpeds on September 12th, 2010 at 9:34 AM

if a player flips the ball before crossing the endzone it clearly is a free ball but for how long.  if neither team recognizes what happened (and the ref does) then what is the result of the play.  had the referee been awake yesterday this would have come into play.



September 12th, 2010 at 11:55 AM ^

EDIT:  I was originally saying it would be ND ball at the spot of the fumble because no one picked it up but apparently it would've been a touchback.

EDIT 2:  Magnus had said in an earlier thread in which this was discussed that it would be a touchback.  While I would tend to defer to him since he's far more knowledgeable than I, upon reading over the rulebook, I don't see where it's the case that it should be ruled a touchback.  It was blown dead and picked up by an official while it was a loose ball.  Therefore it seems the proper rule is to give the ball back to the team previously in possession at the spot where possession was lost. (Rule 4, Sec 1, Art 2).

Which, if the case, would most likely have no impact on the game if it's first and goal from the half yard line (obvious Illinois 2009 caveats)


September 12th, 2010 at 12:32 PM ^

If the refs wanted to be dicks about it, they could have ruled it a premature celebration - no TD and a 15-yard penalty from the spot of the celebration.  That would have been 1st and goal from the 17, I suppose.  The one thing that is certain is that it is not a TD.


September 12th, 2010 at 10:02 AM ^

do college replay officials rely on the "guys in the truck" to get them quick looks at a play before they make the decision to review a given play? I suspect that they booth replay officals are highly dependent on the network for timely feeds.  Not to be too paranoid, but this is clearly a problem for anyone playing ND on the Notre Dame Broadcasting Network.  Of course, anyone playing a Big Ten team on the BTN could say the same thing.


September 12th, 2010 at 11:22 AM ^

sounding like Penn State fans and nip this in the bud before it gains any traction. I just rewatched it and there's no doubt Crist's sneak is a TD, he doesn't fumble before crossing the goal line and even after he crosses the goalline, an ND player winds up with the ball in the endzone anyway.

Complain about the missed holding calls if you want


September 12th, 2010 at 9:53 AM ^

if a player calls for a fair catch and then takes off after catching the punt, shouldn't that be a penalty?  I didn't like risking another injury when he called a fair catch.

Stephen Y

September 12th, 2010 at 10:13 AM ^

I know Michigan was penalized for this in the past... I can't remember the punt returner though (I think it was a cornerback).  He put his hand up to block the sun from his eyes, and the ref thought he was calling for a fair catch.  When he took off, the ref blew it dead and penalized us for it.  This might have been 10 years ago though, which means I would have been 12, so I may have no idea what I'm talking about lol.


September 12th, 2010 at 9:57 AM ^

The reffing was abysmal. This quote from the Detroit News sums it up:

"Man, it was tough," Martin said. "There was one play where the ref gave 59 (left guard Chris Stewart) a warning. He held the heck out of me and I looked at the ref and he just went over to 59 and was like, 'Hey, watch it.' And I'm like, 'This isn't like a speeding ticket, where you get a warning!' But that's something you just can't control. You've got to keep playing. And that's what we did."

From The Detroit News:


September 12th, 2010 at 10:06 AM ^

The premature flip before the goal line has actually happened to ND way back in the past. I remember watching it as a kid and asked if that was legal and then it all came running back to me when I saw the replay yesterday. When Bob Davie took the Irish to a BCS bowl a long time ago, they played Oregon State in the Fiesta Bowl and got crushed. On a long 74 yard touchdown pass, the Oregon State receiver clearly dropped the ball two yards before getting into the end zone (way further than what Ford did).

The best part? Orgeon State's receiver was none other than Chad Johnson, otherwise known as Ocho Cinco.


September 12th, 2010 at 10:14 AM ^

Whoever missed that call on the phantom touchdown should be disciplined accordingly (I have no idea what that would entail).  The no-holding call, there was a pretty blatant pass interference they missed that would have gone against ND, the phantom touchdown (and apparently Crist's fumble on the keeper?).  

Having said that, it wasn't the best officiated game and it wasn't the worst.  We won it without a following day ND nation meltdown about someone's foot being out of bounds.


September 12th, 2010 at 10:24 AM ^

A Washington receiver fumbles (not drops) the ball going in on a long touchdown. I think the ruling was that he crossed the plane, but it's very close. The play starts at about the 8:04 mark.

Enjoy Life

September 12th, 2010 at 10:25 AM ^

I was at the game so I did not see where the ball ended up. If it did NOT go out of the end zone and just was laying on the ground, the most the ref could have done would be to throw the bean bag indicating a fumble. But, if it just lays there and no one recovers from the opposing team, then, obviously, the ball still belongs to the offense. Unless there is some other rule about the end zone.

Basically, the defense shoul be taught to pick up the ball after a TD if it is laying in the end zone.


September 12th, 2010 at 10:34 AM ^

He dropped it and it came to rest in the end zone. The thing is though that the ref immediately signalled a touchdown instead of throwing the bag like should have been done. I was laughing about it in the stands and all the ND fans were telling me to quit begging. Then about that time 3 or 4 phones rang and it was someone telling them it wasn't a touchdown. It was so satisfying just sitting there smiling as Roundtree caught that pass at the 2 because they all knew what was going to happen and there was nothing they could do to avoid it.


September 12th, 2010 at 11:23 AM ^

If the ball is fumbled forward into the end zone it is a touch back regardless what happens.  Last year or the year before Oregon lost a game by the new rule, the RB dove for the end zone and dropped it short and it rolled into the end zone and was ruled a touch back.  Even if the offense recovers it is still a touch back.


September 12th, 2010 at 3:25 PM ^

Rule 7-2: Article 4, Section C:

Behind or Beyond Goal Line. When a fumble or backward pass goes

out of bounds behind or beyond a goal line, it is a safety or touchback

depending on impetus and responsibility


September 12th, 2010 at 4:29 PM ^

The endzone itself is not out of bounds.  A fumble there is a live ball.  If the ball rolls out of the endzone, then yes, it's a touchback.  I don't think that was the case here. 

I think the answer is that it should have been ruled an inadvertent whistle, giving ND the ball at the one (where the fumble occurred)  . . . except that since he should've been guilty of excessive celebration, they should have gotten the ball at the 16.

Bando Calrissian

September 12th, 2010 at 6:13 PM ^

Well, what happened to the ball after it was sitting around on the ground?  If the ref picks it up and tosses it to the ballboy, it's the rules equivalent to the turf coming to life, picking up the ball, and tossing it.  The ref is part of the field, correct?  So a ref picking up a ball that is in play is the equivalent of the grass doing the same.  (I just like the image of the turf coming to life and picking up the ball, haha)

So, theoretically, if Michigan didn't pick it up and an ND guy didn't pick it up, but the ref did, wherever it went over a boundary line as a result of him would determine what would happen.  For instance, if he picks it up and steps over the endline or any of the sidelines in the end zone, that's Michigan ball on the 20.  If it leaves the endzone and goes out of bounds somewhere else, then it's technically ND ball wherever it was.  

Now, if they used that same ball for the PAT and it never left the field of play, well, that's boom is the sound of my head exploding.  

I'm probably overthinking this, but that's what seems obvious to me.  Of course, that's one heck of a strange video review scenario.


September 12th, 2010 at 6:42 PM ^

I love how as soon as any Michigan play was in question it was an immediate challenge upstairs, but this obvious phantom touchdown just happens to go un-noticed.  So glad we got the win, cause now all the Irish fans are trying to say how they got screwed and if Crist played the whole game then they would have won by 2 scores.  Where is damefan1 when you need him?