Author Topic: Punt fair catch/KCI question  (Read 830 times)

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Online dammitbobby

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Punt fair catch/KCI question
« on: January 27, 2023, 07:43:57 AM »
A punts the ball high and deep, angled to the sideline.  Unaware of his position on the field, B89 signals for a fair catch with a foot clearly OOB at the B18. A43 tackles him as soon as B89 touches the ball, causing him to muff it back into the field of play, where it is recovered by A87.

I think there's a lot in play here. Fair catch rules (2-4-3-a through C) would make this not a legal catch.

I'm not sure it would be KCI (6-4-1) since B89 is not inbounds (as required by the rule) and therefore can't complete a legal catch.

I'm not sure even fair catch would apply, since it's not a valid catch, although 6-1-5-1-d makes it clear this is a safety foul ('The purpose of the fair catch provision is to protect the receiver who, by
using the fair catch signal, agrees they or a teammate will not advance after the catch.'

The one I am sure of - the ball is dead when B89 touches it, since he is OOB, and A does not get the ball.  It's the (potential) fouls I can't wrap my head around... what am I missing?

Offline sj

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Re: Punt fair catch/KCI question
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2023, 09:12:36 AM »
Maybe a hit on a defenseless player?

Offline ElvisLives

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Re: Punt fair catch/KCI question
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2023, 09:30:56 AM »
A punts the ball high and deep, angled to the sideline.  Unaware of his position on the field, B89 signals for a fair catch with a foot clearly OOB at the B18. A43 tackles him as soon as B89 touches the ball, causing him to muff it back into the field of play, where it is recovered by A87.

I think there's a lot in play here. Fair catch rules (2-4-3-a through C) would make this not a legal catch.

I'm not sure it would be KCI (6-4-1) since B89 is not inbounds (as required by the rule) and therefore can't complete a legal catch.

I'm not sure even fair catch would apply, since it's not a valid catch, although 6-1-5-1-d makes it clear this is a safety foul ('The purpose of the fair catch provision is to protect the receiver who, by
using the fair catch signal, agrees they or a teammate will not advance after the catch.'

The one I am sure of - the ball is dead when B89 touches it, since he is OOB, and A does not get the ball.  It's the (potential) fouls I can't wrap my head around... what am I missing?

You've come across another ambiguity in the rules, and, because of the ambiguity, no one other than Shaw can you give you an authoritative answer.
We know the ball is dead the instant B89 touches the ball. The fact that he muffed the catch attempt is irrelevant, because the ball is already dead. Therefore, obviously, there is no ambiguity about the fact that this is not a catch, so there is no issue with tackling/blocking a player that has completed a fair catch. We don't have that. Throw that out the window.
That leaves us with KCI, or a personal foul, with or without targeting. To follow strict reading of the rules, as they are written, this would not be KCI, since B89 was out of bounds, and 6-4-1 requires that a player be inbounds for KCI to apply. So, if we accept that ruling (which is what Shaw would need to confirm or deny), then we only have a possible personal foul, with or without targeting.
If B89 is tackled with a just routine "wrap-up" and take to the ground tackle, technically, we have nothing, since he isn't committing KCI. Even if B89 is blocked violently without being wrapped up, there is no rule prohibiting a violent block, as long as it doesn't fit 9-1-3 or 9-1-4 targeting rules. And, there is no rule prohibiting the blocking of a player out of bounds by a player who may not be CLEARLY out of bounds, himself, when he makes the block.
So, that leaves us with 9-1-3 and 9-1-4. 9-1-3 can certainly apply, if the tackler 'spears' B89.  The biggest ambiguity is whether B89 is to be considered "defenseless," for the purpose of 9-1-4. The 'example' of a player attempting to catch a kick makes no stipulation that he be inbounds. And, it says, "...attempting..." to make a catch. Knowing that the rule is intended for player safety, AND that the rule specifically states that the examples "...include but are not limited to...," if I am put in the situation of having to rule on this in the field, I would, without hesitation, deem B89 to be a defenseless player (another issue that Shaw will need to confirm or deny). Thus, if the other conditions of 9-1-4 are present, we'd have a targeting foul.
Just a side issue, but, if we have either 9-1-3 or 9-1-4, and it goes to Replay, and the RO changes the ruling to NOT targeting, then we would have no foul, at all, unless the fouling player struck B89 with some kind of a blow. If it is a striking foul, and it was flagrant, we could still eject the fouling player (and that would be an ejection, not just a disqualification).
« Last Edit: January 27, 2023, 09:34:01 AM by ElvisLives »

Online dammitbobby

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Re: Punt fair catch/KCI question
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2023, 10:12:17 AM »
Therefore, obviously, there is no ambiguity about the fact that this is not a catch, so there is no issue with tackling/blocking a player that has completed a fair catch. We don't have that. Throw that out the window.
That leaves us with KCI, or a personal foul, with or without targeting.

This is where I start to have heartburn on this - if his star returner B89 gets cratered/concussed (not targeted) and has to leave the game, I'm going to have a hard time explaining to his coach that even though he gave a valid fair catch signal, he is afforded zero protection from a rules perspective.  (Obviously our flags can't prevent the hit, but we can enforce consequences for it on A). It looks like in this case, we can't give a player the benefit of a safety rule -  a rule that is unambiguous in that it is specifically for player A's safety ('The purpose of the fair catch provision is to protect the receiver who, by
using the fair catch signal, agrees they or a teammate will not advance after the catch,) and has made a good faith effort to invoke the rule and its protections.

Yes coach, he gave a fair catch signal...  No, he doesn't get any fair catch protections... Yes, I know player safety is important.

Offline AlUpstateNY

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Re: Punt fair catch/KCI question
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2023, 10:14:54 AM »
You've come across another ambiguity in the rules, and, because of the ambiguity, no one other than Shaw can you give you an authoritative answer.
We know the ball is dead the instant B89 touches the ball. The fact that he muffed the catch attempt is irrelevant, because the ball is already dead. Therefore, obviously, there is no ambiguity about the fact that this is not a catch, so there is no issue with tackling/blocking a player that has completed a fair catch. We don't have that. Throw that out the window.
That leaves us with KCI, or a personal foul, with or without targeting. To follow strict reading of the rules, as they are written, this would not be KCI, since B89 was out of bounds, and 6-4-1 requires that a player be inbounds for KCI to apply. So, if we accept that ruling (which is what Shaw would need to confirm or deny), then we only have a possible personal foul, with or without targeting.
If B89 is tackled with a just routine "wrap-up" and take to the ground tackle, technically, we have nothing, since he isn't committing KCI. Even if B89 is blocked violently without being wrapped up, there is no rule prohibiting a violent block, as long as it doesn't fit 9-1-3 or 9-1-4 targeting rules. And, there is no rule prohibiting the blocking of a player out of bounds by a player who may not be CLEARLY out of bounds, himself, when he makes the block.
So, that leaves us with 9-1-3 and 9-1-4. 9-1-3 can certainly apply, if the tackler 'spears' B89.  The biggest ambiguity is whether B89 is to be considered "defenseless," for the purpose of 9-1-4. The 'example' of a player attempting to catch a kick makes no stipulation that he be inbounds. And, it says, "...attempting..." to make a catch. Knowing that the rule is intended for player safety, AND that the rule specifically states that the examples "...include but are not limited to...," if I am put in the situation of having to rule on this in the field, I would, without hesitation, deem B89 to be a defenseless player (another issue that Shaw will need to confirm or deny). Thus, if the other conditions of 9-1-4 are present, we'd have a targeting foul.
Just a side issue, but, if we have either 9-1-3 or 9-1-4, and it goes to Replay, and the RO changes the ruling to NOT targeting, then we would have no foul, at all, unless the fouling player struck B89 with some kind of a blow. If it is a striking foul, and it was flagrant, we could still eject the fouling player (and that would be an ejection, not just a disqualification).

A players are as responsible as B players to know where the sideline is.  FC is a "warning signal" of B's intent, designed to ALERT A to avoid unnecessary contact, that A is responsible to look for to avoid/prevent contact.  The covering official has the responsibility, and authority, to judge whether THAT unique & specific action, by B, to properly signal intent, or A, to honor the signal (and sideline) violated any of the mentioned rules, to the extent of meriting a flag, or not. 

Offline ElvisLives

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Re: Punt fair catch/KCI question
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2023, 11:40:55 AM »
This is where I start to have heartburn on this - if his star returner B89 gets cratered/concussed (not targeted) and has to leave the game, I'm going to have a hard time explaining to his coach that even though he gave a valid fair catch signal, he is afforded zero protection from a rules perspective.  (Obviously our flags can't prevent the hit, but we can enforce consequences for it on A). It looks like in this case, we can't give a player the benefit of a safety rule -  a rule that is unambiguous in that it is specifically for player A's safety ('The purpose of the fair catch provision is to protect the receiver who, by
using the fair catch signal, agrees they or a teammate will not advance after the catch,) and has made a good faith effort to invoke the rule and its protections.

Yes coach, he gave a fair catch signal...  No, he doesn't get any fair catch protections... Yes, I know player safety is important.

Until the rules states, "A player that has given a valid signal for a fair catch and then muffs the ball shall not be contacted by an opponent until he is has fully gained his balance and is able to protect himself from contact by an opponent," then we have no choice but to rule even violent contact (not targeting) after the muff to be legal. That would be the same for a player at mid-field (unless he still had the opportunity to complete the catch, which case he is still protected by KCI). I would have no heartburn if such a rule change were made. But that's not the rule, today. And, I would have no heartburn if they changed to rule to allow a player with one foot out of bounds to protected by KCI. And, I would actually LIKE for a rule to be added that prohibits blocking an opponent that is out of bounds (i.e., blocking opponents can only occur inbounds - period).
Now, could the BSB rule be tweaked, or interpreted, to include such players? Maybe. That would not be a stretch, at all, I don't think. But Shaw would have to issue something on that.

But we don't have any of that, yet. If coaches don't like these things, they need to contact their rules committee representatives, and lobby for a change(s).

Offline AlUpstateNY

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Re: Punt fair catch/KCI question
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2023, 01:35:54 PM »
Until the rules states, "A player that has given a valid signal for a fair catch and then muffs the ball shall not be contacted by an opponent until he is has fully gained his balance and is able to protect himself from contact by an opponent," then we have no choice but to rule even violent contact (not targeting) after the muff to be legal. That would be the same for a player at mid-field (unless he still had the opportunity to complete the catch, which case he is still protected by KCI). I would have no heartburn if such a rule change were made. But that's not the rule, today. And, I would have no heartburn if they changed to rule to allow a player with one foot out of bounds to protected by KCI. And, I would actually LIKE for a rule to be added that prohibits blocking an opponent that is out of bounds (i.e., blocking opponents can only occur inbounds - period).
Now, could the BSB rule be tweaked, or interpreted, to include such players? Maybe. That would not be a stretch, at all, I don't think. But Shaw would have to issue something on that.

But we don't have any of that, yet. If coaches don't like these things, they need to contact their rules committee representatives, and lobby for a change(s).

In as much as the Receiver has the sole discretion to decide whether, or not, to create a FC scenario, which in effect is claiming an opportunity to make an unobstructed opportunity to catch a kick, in exchange for giving up any chance of advancing the ball after making the catch (or allowing the kicked ball to continue to it's own spot). 

A, Muff" is failing to successfully complete that catch after touching the kicked ball. When the receiver fails to complete his side of that bargain, (He, alone, has imposed on the kicker) why should the Kicking team continue to be held responsible for compliance? 

Should there be contact AFTER, or prior to a "catch", the Kicker is responsible for, and subject to, KCI.  It seems however (unmolested) "Catching" is a prerequisite of the (Receiver) to initiate activation of the FC agreement.