The "dribbled ball" incident

NOTE: A ball dribbled by Team A across the line of scrimmage does not interrupt
the continuity of downs.

do you think the refs botched the call? wouldn't Sask need to gain enough yardage to gain a first down? (they gained 8 yards of the 10).

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No. On a punt that crosses the line of scrimmage the kicking team does not have to get the 1st down yardage when recovered, touched or in this case dribbled. Possession is reset at that point.

As posted in the other thread.

See rule:

  1. Team A attempts a field goal and it is blocked. Team A player then kicks the ball along the ground (a dribble) across the line of scrimmage downfield. Credit the Team A player with an own team fumble recovery (as a dribble is considered to be possession due to the intentional directing of the ball downfield), and a rushing gain to the point of recovery by either Team A or Team B. If Team B recovers the ball, charge the Team A player with a subsequent fumble and credit the Team B player with a fumble recovery and return.

Possession means having the ball firmly held in hand or hands, arm or arms, leg
or legs, or under the body.
When players of the opposite teams have possession of the ball, it shall belong
to the player who first gained possession and who has not lost possession. If players of both teams legally gain possession of the ball simultaneously, it shall
belong to the team that last previously had possession.
A ball not in possession of a player is still in play. A ball is considered to have
been fumbled if the player last in possession has lost control of it.
If a kicked ball other than a kickoff is legally touched by a player of either team,
such touching shall be deemed to be possession.

clear as mud. for instance why wouldn't a blocked punt recovered by kicking team be given a first down?

Because in your example it didn't cross the line of scrimmage.

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It's a shame the rules can not be written in a way which would explain the outcome without having to decipher 3 areas . It's all in there but in 3 different articles, none of which reference the other articles.

This was a complicated play. There are multiple elements to consider.

But they got it right and that's what's important.


So in a scenario where we’re facing 3rd and 35 with 40 seconds left in the game, the best play call would be to send six receivers deep knowing they’ll likely rush 3 and cover with 9. Then have the QB pooch kick the ball over the line of scrimmage where he has a very high probability of recovering and thereby getting a new set of downs with plenty of time left? Way better odds of this getting a new set of downs than trying to convert a pass downfield. Might actually be something to consider on 2nd and 25 at midfield at any point in the game.

Weird rule.

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Mr O'Shea has done it before. Had his QB punt it 5 yards and they recovered to get a new set of downs.

Here is a video explanation on it from FG formation. A forward kick past the line of scrimmage basically resets the continuity of downs.

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@Crash You said it right, I think. The kick has to cross the line-of-scrimmage but does not have to cross the line-to-gain. If that is true, fundamentally the rule is nonsense and contrary to the concept that you 'have 3 downs to gain 10 yards and then you're rewarded with a new set of downs.' Is this what it is?

Nice video, thanks.

A punt is not the same as a kick off , a kick off has to travel at least ten yards, the punt on this play actually went past 10 yards and was blown backwards by the wind and then football bounced further towards Riders end , the kicker touched it so it was then live ball nullifying no yards rule but dribble kicked similar to a fumble.

Here's a scenario that if a dribble is similar to a fumble. Team A is going for it on 3rd and 1. Team A's ball carrier fumbles it forward before crossing the line-to-gain but the fumbled ball crosses the line-to-gain where it hits a Team B player and rolls back over the line-to-gain where a Team A player secures possession short of the 1st down line-to-gain. Does Team A get a new set of downs? Nobody on Team B secured possession.

If a fumble is not recovered and possessed by the defence, the offense gets the ball where they recover, and the line to gain does matter.

Did you mean to say does NOT matter?

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No. If a fumble is NOT recovered and possessed, it just bumbles around and the offense recovers... The line to gain DOES matter.

If the defence picks up the ball and recovers and then it's fumbled again, then the line to gain does not matter.

@Crash Okay, good. That 'defense getting possession' then losing possession makes sense to me but the 'dribbled kick' hit a TiCat and then was recovered by the Rider kicker short of the line-to-gain according to @FLESHWOUND. Sorry if my OCD might be bugging you.

Bugging me? No way. I love rules discussion.
The play in question has 2 elements to it.

  1. A punt crossed the line of scrimmage and it can be returned by 1 of 2 people.

The returning team, in which no yards would apply
Any onside player.

The Kicker was onside and can recover the ball. He simply could have fell on it and Sask would have retained possession without the line to gain being achieved, because that's the rule in the video.

  1. Instead of simply falling on the ball (He obviously didnt know he could do that) he chose to dribble the ball ahead. A dribble is basically a free ball, that was recovered by Sask. No Yards does not apply on a dribble because it's considered more like a fumble, not a punt.

When you break it down, the decision was correct and makes sense, BUT you can argue the onside punt not achieving the line to gain doesnt make sense. I don't really have an opinion on that. It's the rule and as @Egbert says many teams could take advantage of such a rule, but we tend to live in a sporting world where coaches don't do outside the box extreme thinking, so we don't see more of it.

The other thing we don't see more of it players throwing (lateraling) the ball out of bounds to stop the clock, if you're near the sidelines you can lateral, fumble, throw the ball out as long as it goes backwards. Again, in a late game situation when the clock is crucial, this would work (Hamilton's DJ Flick did it once which made me think of it) but again, teams don't spend time coaching the rules to their full extent.

@Crash All great statements in your last two paragraphs about the why's and why-not's of coaches stretching the rules. I remember when I was coaching really young guys (age 11 and 12) and I was bickering with a ref about him letting the other team "Take too long to snap the ball!" (my words) and he came over and quietly said, "We're just trying to make things simple here, Coach."

I promise that I will go radio-silent for 5 days after this:
Here's the scenario - real late 4th quarter, one score behind, must keep possession of the ball in a must-win game. It's 3rd and 30. The video shows that the ball doesn't have to go beyond the line-to-gain. You've un-retired Dave Stala with his a-football-can-be-a-hacky-sack ball skills. You put him in to punt. The punter is always on-side. He rolls out to find a little open space right at the line-of-scrimmage, where he dribble-kicks it just one yard ahead and then he falls on it. So, you get a new set of downs. To me and Johnny Carson, "That's weird, wild stuff!"
This does have 'way better odds' than a well-covered 30 yard pass downfield especially if your punter in the scenario is your starting QB instead of Stala because the last time you ran into Dave at the Walmart in Burlington Frank, he looked into your crazy eyes, grabbed his kid and ran. (Made that last bit up.)

You're right. You could absolutely do that.

But just to separate the word Punt from Dribble... Stala would be "punting" it beyond the LOS. A dribble is on a loose ball (soccer style) and has to get the yards gained.

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