September 27, 2016

Packers Returner Ingeniously Exploits Out-of-Bounds Rule: In Sunday's game, Green Bay Packers kick returner Ty Montgomery made a sneaky use of an out-of-bounds rule, as former NFL director of officiating Mike Pereira explains. I don't think I've seen this done intentionally before.

posted by rcade to football at 12:30 PM - 9 comments

Saw this live. Kudos to Montgomery for the heads up play and knowledge of the rules. That said, any rule that makes it possible for a player to consciously force a penalty on the other team like that is a bad rule.

posted by MeatSaber at 01:37 PM on September 27

And of course this would involve the Lions. /sigh

posted by NoMich at 01:59 PM on September 27

Randall Cobb did it four years ago.

It's a dumb rule that I can't believe the competition committee hasn't "clarified".

posted by Etrigan at 02:05 PM on September 27

There is much that the comp committee needs to tend to, or have tended to well in arrears of issues having arisen. The league is lazy and indifferent about things that don't directly involve branding and revenue.

posted by beaverboard at 03:10 PM on September 27

Is this substantially different from quickly snapping the ball to get an offside penalty before an opponent jumps back? You noticed that your opponent has made a mistake and exploited it. Besides, if the intent is to force teams to kick the ball in play to encourage returns (or touchbacks), then plays like this provide a buffer of kickers not trying to kick it near the sidelines. There's still plenty of field to kick to.

Beyond that, in this video of the play, the ball is actually bouncing away from the sideline, and Montgomery only just reached it--two steps ahead of a Lions cover man. If Montgomery misjudges it and/or it bounces a couple inches further from the sideline, at best, the Packers are hit with Illegal Contact from their own 2 yardline as Montgomery comes back into the field to grab the ball. At worst, and probably more likely, it's a Lions TD.

I don't think this is a problem that needs solving.

posted by bender at 03:10 PM on September 27

If Montgomery misjudges it and/or it bounces a couple inches further from the sideline, at best, the Packers are hit with Illegal Contact from their own 2 yardline as Montgomery comes back into the field to grab the ball.

As long as Montgomery has one foot out of bounds, he can do no wrong here.

- If he doesn't touch the ball, then the play continues as it is and the Packers start deep in their own endzone (like they would have if he hadn't tried any trickery).

- If he does touch the ball in any way, then the ball is dead. He doesn't need to control it, just touch it with a finger tip while any part of him is touching the boundary line.

Montgomery simply needs to keep one foot out of bounds and he's good, and like bender said, this is a fault by the kicking team more than it is a rule bending by the receivers.

posted by grum@work at 03:29 PM on September 27

- If he doesn't touch the ball, then the play continues as it is and the Packers start deep in their own endzone (like they would have if he hadn't tried any trickery).

Kickoffs are a live ball the second it goes ten yards. If Montgomery doesn't touch the ball it's a Detroit touchdown.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 03:36 PM on September 27

Kickoffs are a live ball the second it goes ten yards. If Montgomery doesn't touch the ball it's a Detroit touchdown.

Right. For some reason I mixed kick-off rules with punt rules.

I'll go stand in the corner now.

posted by grum@work at 03:45 PM on September 27

You were correct, though, that it is dead once he touches it, so the margin of error is a bit larger than if he had to actually secure it. -- Now I have the funny image of a player on his stomach with his toes on the chalk frantically swatting at a ball just out of reach.

posted by bender at 03:50 PM on September 27

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