Football Zebras
Officiating Dept. VideoOfficiating video: downed punts at the goal line, possession on botched snap, and player surrendering

Officiating video: downed punts at the goal line, possession on botched snap, and player surrendering

Senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron released the week 13 officiating video; in it he covered:

First touching. Two examples were used to illustrate first-touching, one in which a player first touched the ball on a punt return and gained possession at the goal line but did not touch the goal line or step into the end zone. The receiving team in that situation takes the ball at the spot of first touching. In the second example, a punt team player gains possession with his momentum traveling toward the goal line, but, at last the possible second, he tosses the ball toward the field of play before he runs into the end zone. The moment he tosses the ball the play is dead. If here were to take possession and carry it into the end zone from the field of play, the result would be a touchback. In this case, the ball is spotted at the spot of first touching, not where it lands or is touched after that.

Safety. Riveron also covered the safety from late in the first quarter of the Broncos at Dolphins game. Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian took a high snap from the Denver 5-yard line and tried to recover it in the end zone to prevent the Dolphins from recovering. He could not gain possession before he tossed it out of bounds. The ball remained a “snap” (backward pass) because it had not been clearly possessed long enough while Siemian was going to the ground. The process for possession in this case is the same as a player completing the process for a catch while going to the ground.

Player giving himself up. In a play from the Rams at Cardinals, Cardinals quarterback Blaine Gabbert tripped and fell on a snap and made no attempt to get up. At that point, if a player does not attempt to get up, he is considered to have given himself up and cannot be forcibly contacted by any defender at that point. 

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