An NFL participant catches a move. He fumbles. After which nobody recovers as a result of officers erroneously dominated the play incomplete.

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What occurs next?

Properly, as we realized Sunday at Soldier Area in Chicago, the NFL’s 201-page rulebook covers that particular state of affairs. Case quantity 15.109 mandated that the incompletion name should stand, though Chicago Bears receiver Anthony Miller’s “catch” was clear and apparent, as a result of there was no clear restoration.

That is not the solely quirky twist in a rulebook that comprises 82 pages of guidelines after which devotes one other 119 pages to explaining how to apply them in particular conditions. Some are extra possible to happen than others. However as we put together for the divisional spherical of the playoffs, let’s discover 5 of the most fascinating that might pop up at any time, not not like what we simply witnessed in Chicago.

We’ll plug in hypothetical group names and gamers to make it simpler for everybody to perceive.

1. No intentional grounding even when there’s intentional grounding

State of affairs: The ball is at the New York Jets’ 37-yard line. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, underneath strain in the pocket at the 44, throws towards the sideline. The road decide marks the ball at the 45, making it a backward move and a lack of eight yards. However replays present that the ball really went out of bounds at the 43, and there was no eligible receiver in the space. The Patriots problem the spot, hoping it might be dominated a ahead move to reverse the yard loss and hold them in subject purpose vary — figuring out there was no draw back for an intentional grounding name.

Consequence: The decision is modified to an incomplete move, returning the line of scrimmage to the Jets’ 37.

Rationalization: The Jets get jobbed. Though the replay confirmed an incomplete move, it additionally made clear that intentional grounding ought to have been known as. However NFL guidelines prohibit replay from making a foul for intentional grounding on this state of affairs, which on this case the Patriots knew earlier than difficult (you know Invoice Belichick is aware of that rule!). Replay can study all reviewable points of a play, even when it is not the designated purpose for the problem, however intentional grounding is not reviewable. It might be known as on this state of affairs provided that, in accordance to A.R. 15.137 in the NFL rulebook, “officers had thrown a flag initially for intentional grounding after which picked it up due to the line decide’s ruling … or if the referee had made an announcement relating to grounding earlier than the evaluate.”

2. Why a transparent restoration is so vital

State of affairs: Officers rule that Los Angeles Chargers tailback Melvin Gordon has scored on a 9-yard landing run towards the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs. All scoring performs are reviewed, and replay shows Gordon fumbled simply earlier than he reached the purpose line.

Consequence: The Chiefs can be awarded the ball in the event that they made a transparent restoration. But when there have been no clear restoration — a probable state of affairs given the officers’ instant landing sign — the ball can be returned to the Chargers at the spot of the fumble, per A.R. 15.164. (Except it was fourth down and the ball was fumbled in need of the line to achieve, during which case the Chiefs would take over at the spot of the fumble.)

Rationalization: It is a basically completely different final result from what we noticed at Soldier Area, the place the lack of a transparent restoration required the ruling on the subject (an incomplete move) to stand. Had the identical commonplace utilized right here, Gordon and the Chargers would have been credited with a landing. As a substitute, the Chargers retain possession of the ball, noticed the place Gordon misplaced it, to account for a fumble that wasn’t recovered.

three. Two legs do not equal one hand

State of affairs: Inexperienced Bay Packers tailback Aaron Jones fumbles at the Minnesota Vikings’ 30-yard line. Throughout the scramble for the ball, Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes finally ends up on the floor. With gamers piling on prime of him, Rhodes cannot seize the ball along with his palms. As a substitute, it’s squeezed between his knees. Packers receiver Davante Adams approaches. Whereas nonetheless standing, Adams snatches the ball from Rhodes’ knees and runs into the finish zone.

Ruling: The Packers are awarded a landing.

Rationalization: Possession requires management with the palms or arms, in accordance to A.R. three.5 in the rulebook. Rhodes thus did not have possession, and Adams wasn’t down by contact when he ripped the ball away.

four. Manipulating the begin of sudden demise

Make amends for what’s occurring heading into the divisional spherical:
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State of affairs: On the opening possession of extra time, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throws an interception to Baltimore Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith. However then Smith fumbles throughout the return, and Steelers receiver Antonio Brown recovers. In the meantime, Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs known as for roughing the passer.

Consequence: The Steelers decline the penalty and the recreation strikes into sudden demise.

Rationalization: NFL extra time requires each groups to have a possession earlier than sudden demise begins, except a landing is scored on the first possession. Smith’s interception, and subsequent fumble, would really depend for the Ravens’ possession. That will permit the Steelers to win on a subject purpose throughout the continuation of their first possession. The roughing penalty would have added 15 yards and put the Steelers shut to subject purpose vary, however it additionally would formally negate the play. So accepting the penalty would permit the Ravens a possession if the Steelers settled for a subject purpose. In accordance to A.R. 16.20 in the rulebook, the Steelers’ greatest determination can be to decline the penalty, take possession the place Brown recovered and put themselves in place to win with a subject purpose earlier than the Ravens’ offense ever even obtained on the subject.

5. Profitable with an unlawful sort out

State of affairs: One other extra time possession manipulation! The Steelers kick a subject purpose on the first possession of extra time. On the first play of the next possession, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson throws an interception to Steelers cornerback Joe Haden. Throughout the return, Haden fumbles. Ravens tight finish Maxx Williams recovers and begins working towards the finish zone. He will get to the 5-yard line earlier than Steelers security Morgan Burnett tackles him by the collar, drawing a horse-collar penalty.

Consequence: Per A.R. 16.25, the recreation is over and the Steelers win, regardless of taking a penalty.

Rationalization: Technically, each groups have had possessions by this level. The Ravens failed to rating on their first possession, which ended with the Haden interception. If Williams scored, the Ravens would have won. (That ruling was inserted into the rulebook in 2018.) However as a result of he didn’t, and the Ravens had their truthful alternative, the guidelines require officers to disregard the horse-collar penalty and finish the recreation. In that state of affairs, gamers could make unlawful tackles — by the face masks and/or collar, and likewise by being tripped — with impunity to make a recreation-profitable play.

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