Author Topic: Fair Catch Signal - Free Kick  (Read 893 times)

Offline Fieldjudge

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Fair Catch Signal - Free Kick
« on: August 09, 2018, 10:07:06 AM »
Question:

On a Free Kick, B gives a valid Fair Catch Signal on the B-5, he muffs the ball, it goes over his head and is caught in the End Zone by another B player. Where will B start it's series of downs?

Offline Legacy Zebra

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Re: Fair Catch Signal - Free Kick
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2018, 10:18:44 AM »
The B-5. When a player gives a valid fair catch signal, muffs the kick, and a teammate (who did not signal) catches the kick, the ball is placed at the spot where the kick was first touched by the signaling player. 6-5-1-b.

Offline hefnerjm

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Re: Fair Catch Signal - Free Kick
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2018, 03:29:41 PM »
The B-5. When a player gives a valid fair catch signal, muffs the kick, and a teammate (who did not signal) catches the kick, the ball is placed at the spot where the kick was first touched by the signaling player. 6-5-1-b.

We heard from RR on this a few weeks ago at the Texas State Mtg, and his instruction on philosophy behind this rule is that the situation you described should be put at the 25. 

If the muff hits the ground, then the other player did not "catch" the ball...they recovered the ball.  In that case, it would go to the spot of recovery.
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Offline Legacy Zebra

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Re: Fair Catch Signal - Free Kick
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2018, 03:49:10 PM »
Not only is that not what we've been instructed, it contradicts AR 6-5-1-I.

"After a valid or invalid signal, B1 muffs the punt and B2, who did not signal, catches the kick. RULING: The ball is dead when B2 catches it and the ball is placed where B1 first touched it."

In order for the ball to go to the 25, the signaller must catch the ball.

Online ElvisLives

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Re: Fair Catch Signal - Free Kick
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2018, 05:12:56 PM »
We heard from RR on this a few weeks ago at the Texas State Mtg, and his instruction on philosophy behind this rule is that the situation you described should be put at the 25. 

If the muff hits the ground, then the other player did not "catch" the ball...they recovered the ball.  In that case, it would go to the spot of recovery.

Wow. I was there, too, and didn’t hear, or get, that message.  A.R. 6-5-1-I, edited for 2018, clearly states otherwise.  I heard nothing from RR to the contrary.
Robert
« Last Edit: August 09, 2018, 05:16:15 PM by ElvisLives »

Offline NVFOA_Ump

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Re: Fair Catch Signal - Free Kick
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2018, 02:23:43 PM »
In order for the ball to go to the 25, the signaller must catch the ball.
Maybe a "minor" clarification but we've been advised the receiver who first touches the kick (after any player signals fair catch) must be the player who catches it for spot to go up to the 25 yard line.
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Offline Andrew McCarthy

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Re: Fair Catch Signal - Free Kick
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2018, 04:20:58 PM »
You’re saying if B1 signals and B2 catches the ball we’re giving it to them at the 25?

Online ElvisLives

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Re: Fair Catch Signal - Free Kick
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2018, 10:04:59 PM »
Maybe a "minor" clarification but we've been advised the receiver who first touches the kick (after any player signals fair catch) must be the player who catches it for spot to go up to the 25 yard line.

Technically, that is true, but incomplete.  The only way to get the 25 is to be the guy that signals (valid or invalid) and completes the catch (between the B-25 and the B goal line).  If a B player other than the signaler completes the catch, the new rule does not apply - the ball belongs to B at that spot.  That’s clear.
The ambiguity is with a muffed catch attempt.  6-5-1-b addresses a muff by a valid signaler, and tells us that B gets the ball where the signaler first touched the ball (when it was muffed).  There is no Exception (as in 6-5-1-a) that allows B to get the ball at the B-25.  That would seem to mean the catch must be a “clean” one to qualify for the new rule.
But then we look at the rule regarding a catch following an invalid signal. By the rule language, if the signaler completes the catch, the ball belongs to B at the spot of the catch.  Then there is the Exception for 2018 that says if this catch is between the B-25 and B’s goal line, the ball belongs to B at the B-25. That much of the rule language aligns with 6-5-1-a.  But, this rule doesn’t distinguish between a clean catch and a catch following a muff.  So, if the invalid signaler muffs the ball, then completes the catch, Team B gets the ball at the B-25.  That is inconsistent with 6-5-1-a.  Why should there be a difference?
It may just be a rule language problem, and the intent is for the two rules to achieve the same result when the ball is caught cleanly by the signaler, and when the ball is caught by the signaler following a muff.  But, as they are, they are inconsistent and ambiguous.

Robert

Offline wlemonnier

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Re: Fair Catch Signal - Free Kick
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2018, 12:27:21 PM »
Discussed this at length with Steve Shaw at our ESPN seminar.  He said he would put out a bulletin with examples.

Specifically:
1.  To get the 25 yard line the person who signals (valid or invalid) must make the catch.
2.  Player signals, muffs the kick but it doesn't touch the ground and that same player now catches the kick... 25 yard line.
3.  Player signals at the 5, muffs the ball & it touches the ground; "B" player recovers at the 4 yard line... B's ball @ 4 yard line.
4.  Player signals at the 5, muffs the ball and it goes forward and OOB at the 7 yard line... B's ball @ 7 yard line.
5.  B player #1 signals at the 5; B player #2 makes the catch at the 7 yard line... B's ball at the 7 yard line.

You must be the player catching the free kick who signals to get the 25 yard line.

Interesting in the play described that B player #1 signals and muffs the ball at the 5 and it's now caught in the EZ by a teammate... It's not a fair catch but it's still a kick that "A" put in the EZ.  It's dead when caught because of the fair catch signal by a teammate but isn't it still a touchback???
Bill LeMonnier

Online ElvisLives

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Re: Fair Catch Signal - Free Kick
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2018, 02:36:13 PM »
Discussed this at length with Steve Shaw at our ESPN seminar.  He said he would put out a bulletin with examples.

Specifically:
1.  To get the 25 yard line the person who signals (valid or invalid) must make the catch.
2.  Player signals, muffs the kick but it doesn't touch the ground and that same player now catches the kick... 25 yard line.
3.  Player signals at the 5, muffs the ball & it touches the ground; "B" player recovers at the 4 yard line... B's ball @ 4 yard line.
4.  Player signals at the 5, muffs the ball and it goes forward and OOB at the 7 yard line... B's ball @ 7 yard line.
5.  B player #1 signals at the 5; B player #2 makes the catch at the 7 yard line... B's ball at the 7 yard line.

You must be the player catching the free kick who signals to get the 25 yard line.

Interesting in the play described that B player #1 signals and muffs the ball at the 5 and it's now caught in the EZ by a teammate... It's not a fair catch but it's still a kick that "A" put in the EZ.  It's dead when caught because of the fair catch signal by a teammate but isn't it still a touchback???

Bill,
At your item 2, I concur the intent is for this to yield B's ball at the B-25, but the language of rule 6-5-1-b doesn't support that.  6-5-1-b does not include the "exception" that is included in 6-5-1-a, that allows for team B to get the ball at the B-25.  That exception is only included in 6-5-1-a, which means the exception only applies to 6-5-1-a; thus, in the case of a muff that is eventually caught by the signaler/muffer, the ball belongs to B at the spot of the catch - no exception to get it at the B-25.  If the intent is for this to also allow Team B to get the ball at the B-25, then the exception needs to be added to 6-5-1-b, OR the exception should be positioned after 6-5-1-b, with notation that the exception applies to a and b (if the ball is caught by the signaler).

Regarding the non-signaler completing the catch in the end zone after a muff by the signaler in the field of play, 6-5-1-b (second sentence) and AR 6-5-1-I (specifically direct that the ball belongs to B where it was first touched by the signaler/muffer.  In the given play, by this rule, B would get the ball at the B-5 - no touchback.
When the rule regarding muffs was introduced many years ago, the intent was to not allow B to gain an advantage by muffing the ball forward (intentionally or otherwise), particularly (but not exclusively) while Team A was restricted from interfering with the signaler or ball following a valid signal.  Unfortunately, the rule makes no distinction between a catch completed beyond or behind the spot where the ball was first touched.  Perhaps it should, i.e., the ball belongs to B where it was first touched when muffed by the signaler, or the spot of the catch, whichever is nearer to B's end line.  So, if it was finally caught in the end zone, indeed, they would get a touchback.  That's fair. 

Note that AR 6-5-1-I was edited for 2018 to include a catch following an invalid signal (as well as a valid signal).  6-5-3 does not address a muff after an invalid signal, so the rule applies to both a clean catch and a catch following a muff.  Unfortunately, that puts 6-5-3 in direct conflict with the AR, as 6-5-3 still directs that the ball belongs to B at the spot of the catch (or recovery, but we aren't worried about recoveries - we know those don't qualify for the B-25 exception).

Good to hear from you.

Robert
   
« Last Edit: August 11, 2018, 02:52:49 PM by ElvisLives »

Offline wlemonnier

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Re: Fair Catch Signal - Free Kick
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2018, 04:04:14 PM »
Bill,
At your item 2, I concur the intent is for this to yield B's ball at the B-25, but the language of rule 6-5-1-b doesn't support that.  6-5-1-b does not include the "exception" that is included in 6-5-1-a, that allows for team B to get the ball at the B-25.  That exception is only included in 6-5-1-a, which means the exception only applies to 6-5-1-a; thus, in the case of a muff that is eventually caught by the signaler/muffer, the ball belongs to B at the spot of the catch - no exception to get it at the B-25.  If the intent is for this to also allow Team B to get the ball at the B-25, then the exception needs to be added to 6-5-1-b, OR the exception should be positioned after 6-5-1-b, with notation that the exception applies to a and b (if the ball is caught by the signaler).

Got item #2 straight from Steve Shaw.  I'll check with him on the other scenario where B muffs at the 5 and a teammate now catches the kick in EZ.
Bill LeMonnier

Online ElvisLives

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Re: Fair Catch Signal - Free Kick
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2018, 04:55:13 PM »
Bill,
At your item 2, I concur the intent is for this to yield B's ball at the B-25, but the language of rule 6-5-1-b doesn't support that.  6-5-1-b does not include the "exception" that is included in 6-5-1-a, that allows for team B to get the ball at the B-25.  That exception is only included in 6-5-1-a, which means the exception only applies to 6-5-1-a; thus, in the case of a muff that is eventually caught by the signaler/muffer, the ball belongs to B at the spot of the catch - no exception to get it at the B-25.  If the intent is for this to also allow Team B to get the ball at the B-25, then the exception needs to be added to 6-5-1-b, OR the exception should be positioned after 6-5-1-b, with notation that the exception applies to a and b (if the ball is caught by the signaler).

Got item #2 straight from Steve Shaw.  I'll check with him on the other scenario where B muffs at the 5 and a teammate now catches the kick in EZ.

Bill,
Thank you.  As I said, I concur that the intent in #2 is to go to the B-25, but the rule language doesn't truly reflect that.  Some interpretations from him could help for 2018, but I think he may need to edit the rule for 2019.
Let us know about the end zone thing.  Very much appreciate your help.

Robert

Offline BankerRef

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Re: Fair Catch Signal - Free Kick
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2018, 02:58:12 PM »
Here is another potential twist to provoke some thought:

B20 and B18 are both back deep to receive the free kick.  The high kick is coming down at the B15 in the middle of the field.  Both players are moving forward from their respective goal line hash positions to make the catch and both signal for a fair catch.  B20 gets to the spot first but muffs the kick at the B15.  B18, who is standing right next to B20, has the ball land in his arms where completes the catch.

Online ElvisLives

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Re: Fair Catch Signal - Free Kick
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2018, 09:46:51 PM »
Here is another potential twist to provoke some thought:

B20 and B18 are both back deep to receive the free kick.  The high kick is coming down at the B15 in the middle of the field.  Both players are moving forward from their respective goal line hash positions to make the catch and both signal for a fair catch.  B20 gets to the spot first but muffs the kick at the B15.  B18, who is standing right next to B20, has the ball land in his arms where completes the catch.

Yeah, I have considered that scenario, but I believe one answer is already in the rule.  6-5-1-b addresses a muff by a player that has given a valid signal.  If any other player - which would include another player that had given a valid signal - subsequently catches the kick, that doesn’t qualify.  The ball belongs to B at the spot where it was first touched by the player that muffed the ball.
Unfortunately, 6-5-3 doesn’t address a muff following an invalid signal.  So, I can’t say conclusively that a catch by a fellow invalid signaler would, or would not, qualify for B getting the ball at the B-25.  I would think not, but Shaw needs to address all of these things.

Robert