Breaking the plane

I absolutely hate this about football, I believe you should have possession in the end zone and that’s it.
Thoughts?

Yes...I feel this could have been spoken in the ongoing conversation you are drawing it from

http://forums.cfl.ca/cfl-talk/1/changes-to-the-single-point-rule/105981/

In rugby, the player must touch the ball down in the goal area (where the football name came from). An interesting idea, but not sure I agree. Not saying I disagree, though.

"Breaking the plane" is simply another way of speaking the the ball is in the endzone. I would not like to see the rule to be changed to requiring a player to be fully in, at the front of the end zone, and also to be fair, the ball and player fully inside the line at the back of the end zone when a pass is caught, in order to count as a touchdown. Right now the football can be outside the side boundary lines but count for a touchdown when caught. Do we change that? No way, I say. There is no advantage to changing the present rules.

In that case, though, the player must have at least one foot in the endzone, thus he has possession of the ball while he is in the endzone. With breaking the plane, the player isn't in the endzone, just the ball.

I wouldn't be against requiring players to have at least a foot in the endzone while in possession of the ball to call it a touchdown. Though, for goal-line stands, I guess they'd have to consider whether an elbow or shoulder touching the ground in the endzone would count.....I'd say yes.

Actually, in many instances a TD is scored when a player has broken the plane with his body, and the ball, with the ball coming after. The scoring of a touchdown can only be made from one point at the the front of the end zone, either as soon as it enters the endzone (breaking the plane) or after it has completely crossed the goal line. There is no advantage to either team where that line is. The only thing differing would be the rules would require the offensive team to move the ball further in order to count a TD score. Would that add anything to the game? I doubt it myself.

The difference would be that it makes a TD a bit more difficult to score, especially in a short-yardage goal-llne stand situation or when a player angles for the corner and scores by virtue of just holding the ball out over the goal line though he doesn't actually physically touch the endzone.

I don't think it's the biggest issue with the game or anything, but I do think it would add more intensity to goal-line stands and a bit more meaning/accomplishment for scoring a TD.

Well sorry but I don't propose making scoring more difficult. If too easy to score is the problem in the game perhaps moving the goal posts to the rear of the endzone and raising up the crossbar 6 feet, This would cut out cheap chip shot FG scores and make players work harder to get their team in position for long field goal tries. LOL

It would be weird if the standard was different for TDs than for first downs. To get a first down you need to advance the front end of the football to the 10-yard marker - not the whole ball, or your elbow, or whatever.

how about when they have possession in the end zone and then a defender hits them before the whistle and they drop the ball. It should already be a TD and defenders should not be allowed to hitreceivers in the end zone.

That is a good point. The rule should be consistent either way. Making downing the ball or part of the body while in possession of the ball the requirement for first downs would make getting first downs that much more difficult and all but eliminate short-yardage QB sneak plays.

But for first downs, the player must maintain possession when tackled. For touchdowns, they can reach with the ball, and lose the ball just after it crosses the plane and it still counts. If a player thrusts the ball across the first down marker and then pulls it back, they don't get the first down.

So it's already a different standard. Keeping the ball across the line until forward possession is stopped is required for first downs, so why not touchdowns?

Because a TD ends the play. A guy can cross the first down line and then if he is not tackled he can backtrack, lose yards, and lose the first down.

But imagine if a play was still live when someone crosses into the end zone. He would be pummeled by defenders who still think they have a chance to stop the scoring play. I guess that takes us back to the ruby rule - people would have to flop down in the end zone to avoid getting killed.

"But for first downs, the player must maintain possession when tackled." --- Not always. A player can fumble a pass completion a rush or kick return, etc. out of bounds and his team can still be awarded a first down.

"For touchdowns, they can reach with the ball, and lose the ball just after it crosses the plane and it still counts." ---Acually, more specifically, when a ball is being carried to the endzone the moment it crosses the line a td is scored if at that moment it is controlled possession of the ball carrier. If at the very moment the ball crosses the line it is out of control from possession, it has become a fumble and whether or not a TD is scored will depend on further play. The thing is the rules do not redefine a moment for this instance and the presise moment something occurs, it has occurred.

And also, in many instances, a player will thust a ball across the first down mark while near spontaneously in the control grasp of a tackler and it gets pulled back as the tackle is made, the forward progress is considered the furthest point the ball was advanced, hence a first down is given, not denied, which you noted.

So just as a first down can be gained when a ball immediately passes a point on the field while in possession, so too can a TD, when it crosses the scoring line on the field in possession, providing in both instances the player in possession is, according to the rules, legally in the field of play.

Personally I support the way "breaking the plane" is treated. It's all fair. What I dislike is the leagues interpretation of the possession rulings surrounding pass completions. If when running with the ball, the player is considered to be down with no more advancement of the ball from that presise moment his knee touches the ground. Why is a pass completion caught ~5 ft above the ground and clearly in controlled possession often not considered a catch and fumble when it is fumbled? Too often it's deemed incomplete. In a scientific sense hasn't the fumble occurred many, many, moments after possession was gained?

The primary change to come out of that is that now we would just be having the refs decide if the football entirely crossed the plane, and we would be asking the teams to advance the ball on a scoring drive a further 11 inches. A further 11 inches to score is not going to untangle the situations that occur near the goal line.

Possession is maintained when a ball is fumbled out of bounds.

This is because the rule states that the touchdown is made as soon as the ball crosses the plane. Which is what the whole discussion is about. Also, why is the same standard not applied to the ball going out of bounds? In that case, there has to be contact with the ground in some way for the play to end. Why not on touchdowns?

"If a player thrusts the ball across the first down marker and then pulls it back, they don't get the first down." If a player is pushed back, then yes, forward progress is given. But not if he pulls it back on his own. Why not on touchdowns?

OK, I agree with you here. Possession on catches does seem a bit odd sometimes. But then, we'd probably see more fumbles called on dropped catches. And even more incentive to nail the receiver hard as he's coming down.

(Segments not relevant to my reply have been removed from the quote)

[b]"Why not on touchdowns?"

[/b]Imagine this , a ball carrier breaks the plane of the goal line while he is fully off the ground
and is carried by the opposing players back to the 20 yard line before he gets his feet. When does the play terminate? Where does the ball get spotted? Should a td not be scored since he broke the plane of the goal with the forward motion of the ball while in his possession? I think comparing TDs to some other aspects of the game is apples to oranges.

If things must be the same to please the game, I think it would be much easier to change the out of bounds determination and have a ball considered dead the moment it crosses the plane of the sidelines, regardless whether it has touched the ground, rather than require either the ball, in possession, or the player to be touching the ground for a TD to score.

I'm happy we agree the rules indicate a TD is made when the ball breaks the plane. :slight_smile:

In that case, forward progress would apply as the opposing team then pushed him back. So it would be a touchdown.

If however, the ball carrier reached forward, making the ball break the plane, but then drew it back to prevent losing the ball, then the ball would be placed where he drew it back to.

And if he reached forward with the ball and lost control of it before grounding the ball in the goal area or being pushed back, then it would be a fumble.

Basically, use the same forward progress rule as for any other play, and the same line-crossing rule as the sidelines. The downside is that it would make it more difficult to get those short yardage touchdowns, and teams might not go for it as much on third down.

"In that case, forward progress would apply as the opposing team then pushed him back. So it would be a touchdown."

Exactly, a Touchdown! Every other action to move the player back once the touchdown is made is irrelevant the fact that it is a touchdown. "Forward progress" is only a term to describe anytime a ball is advanced. It's a give there was forward progress. My reply was soley to answer your question, "Why not on touchdowns?" Entering the term forward progress into the conversation serves no purpose to answer your question. Seems you are arguing semantics.

"If however, the ball carrier reached forward, making the ball break the plane, but then drew it back to prevent losing the ball, then the ball would be placed where he drew it back to."

Drawing the ball back once he has crossed it over the plane is meaningless to the play. The ball becomes dead immediately when it crosses the plane, and a touchdown is ruled made. To change that would not enhance the game in the least.

[b]"And if he reached forward with the ball and lost control of it before grounding the ball in the goal area or being pushed back, then it would be a fumble."

[/b]Grounding the ball upon entering the endzone on a rushing play in order to get the touchdown?? Too much wrong with that to get into it now, except, keeping your previous arguments for uniformly applied rulings in mind, then should not a pass caught in the endzone also require touching down to the ground inbounds? Presently the ball doesn't even have to be inbounds for a catch and TD.

"Basically, use the same forward progress rule as for any other play, and the same line-crossing rule as the sidelines. The downside is that it would make it more difficult to get those short yardage touchdowns, and teams might not go for it as much on third down."

Forward progress is treated the same at the goal line, however at the goal line the moment the ball crosses the plane no more forward progress is needed by the player so the play terminates.

we shall agree to disagree?

This discussion is about whether simply breaking the plane should end the play. Currently, yes, that's how the rule is written. I (and the OP) am suggesting that the rule could (should?) be changed to be the same as it is everywhere else on the field.

Would it enhance the game? Maybe, maybe not. But at least there would be consistency with everywhere else on the field.

So yes, I think we can agree to disagree here.

As for my use of the term "grounding the ball", to clarify, I meant it to be similar to the out of bounds rule, and not the rugby rule I mentioned earlier:

The ball is [s]Out of Bounds[/s] In Goal Area when it touches a [s]Sideline, Sideline in Goal, Dead Line[/s] Goal Line or the ground or any other object on or beyond [s]these lines[/s] this line. The ball is [s]Out of Bounds[/s] In Goal Area when a player in possession of the ball touches a [s]Sideline, Sideline in Goal, Dead Line[/s] Goal Line or the ground or any other object on or beyond [s]these lines[/s] this line.
Unfortunately, that direct rewrite leaves a loophole, that a ball carrier could just touch a player who is touching the goal line to have the ball deemed to be in the goal area. So it would need to be a slight variation of that rule, also requiring the ball to be at or across the line at the time.