There was a lot of discussion last night on whether or not Santonio Holmes scored a TD against the Ravens last night. However, it appears like there's a real lack of understanding of the NFL rulebook by the media, so I'm going to quote the NFL rulebook:
Rule 11 Scoring
Section 2 Touchdown
Article 1 It is a touchdown (3-38):
(a) when a runner advances from the field of play and the ball touches the opponents’
goal line (plane); or
(b) while inbounds any player catches or recovers a loose ball (3-2-3) on or behind the
opponents’ goal line.
I've bolded the important part. Notice that the rule says as long as "player" is on or behind the opponents goal line, it's a touchdown. There's nothing in the rule book that says the ball must break the plane on a catch. It specifically states this is the case for a "runner", but in the case of a receiver it states "any player catches or recovers a loose ball on or behind the opponents' goal line."
I don't think there's any doubt that Holmes clearly had two feet in the endzone when he caught the pass. However, the only thing being brought up by the media has been that the ball has to break the plane—which doesn't appear to be the case.
I must confess, I was unclear of this rule as well, but most fans learn the rules from listening to broadcasts, which in the past they've always declared the ball must break the plane of the goal line.
I had to look this rule up after hearing the refs ruling after the review. If you listen to his ruling, he specifically doesn't mention anything about the ball breaking the plane—just that the receiver had two feet down with clear possession of the ball while being the endzone.
Anyway, there's much debate about this ruling yesterday and the Ravens fans are up in arms about the call. Hopefully this rule adds some clarity to the situation.
NOTE:This quote comes from the 2006 NFL Rulebook (page 79), but I can't find any rule changes that indicate this rule has changed over the past two seasons, so I believe this ruling is still accurate.
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