I am looking at NFL Rules concerning touchdowns, and looking for specific rules that affect the ruling of the play in question. Here is what I found:
Rule 11: Scoring, Section 2 Touchdown, Supplemental Notes #2: The player is attempting to catch a pass, the ball is not dead, and a touchdown is not scored, until the receiver completes the catch. See Rule 3, Section 2, Article 7
Rule 3: Definitions Section 2 Ball in Play/Dead Ball, Article 7, Catch: A catch is made when a player inbounds secures possession of a pass, kick, or fumble in flight (See 8-1-3).
Note 1: It is a catch if in the process of attempting to catch the ball, a player secures control of the ball prior to the ball touching the ground and that control is maintained after the ball has touched the ground.
Note 2: In the field of play, if a catch of a forward pass has been completed, and there is contact by a defender causing the ball to come loose before the runner is down by contact, it is a fumble, and the ball remains alive. In the end zone, the same action is a touchdown, since the receiver completed the catch beyond the goal line prior to the loss of possession, and the ball is dead when the catch is completed.
It is generally believed that from the media, in order for a touchdown to be considered a touchdown, a player must maintain control of the ball throughout the process, which means, if the receiver is falling to the ground, then the ball must not come out at all as the receiver, and/or the ball comes to the ground. However, from reading this rule, I am not seeing any sort of language that suggests that Calvin Johnson's catch a few years ago should have been ruled incomplete. In fact, if I continue from note one to note two, I am under the impression that if a defender knocks the ball loose while the receiver has control in the endzone, then it should be ruled a touchdown. So, why can not a receiver knock the ball out to make it incomplete, and the ground can knock the ball out and make it incomplete?
The purpose of this thread is to show an honest attempt at finding the rules pertaining to the SD touchdown in question, and NFL touchdown receptions in general. If anyone does not like the topic of this thread, please don't respond. It would be greatly appreciated of people who do participate in this thread to post constructive comments, and even attempt to look through the rule book yourselves. If someone find another section of the rule book pertaining NFL touchdown catches it would be tremendously appreciated!
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