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Intentional grounding was the right call

Super Bowl XLVI Getty Images

With a month’s worth of NFL intrigue packed into three hours of real time and with a marathon of TV and travel finally over, I can settle in and say whatever I want to say about whatever happened in Super Bowl XLVI that requires something to be said.

Here’s the first thing to say:  The intentional grounding call on the Patriots’ opening drive, and the safety that was called against New England, was accurate and correct.

After New York’s first drive fizzled and punter Steve Weatherford pinned the Pats on their own six, quarterback Tom Brady brazenly dropped into the end zone, like he did way back in Week One with the ball inside his own one and Wes Welker eventually sprung for 99-plus yards.  This time around, no one was open and Justin Tuck was closing in and Brady fired the ball more than 40 yards down the field with no receiver even remotely close to the point where the ball landed.

Here’s the definition of intentional grounding, from the NFL’s official rule book:  “It is a foul for intentional grounding if a passer, facing an imminent loss of yardage because of pressure from the defense, throws a forward pass without a realistic chance of completion.  A realistic chance of completion is defined as a pass that lands in the direction and the vicinity of an originally eligible receiver.”

The intent from the term “intentional grounding” is inferred by the circumstances.  One, the quarterback faces an imminent loss of yardage.  Two, the pass fails to land in the direction and vicinity of an eligible receiver.

That’s precisely what occurred last night.  The outcome seemed odd because most quarterbacks facing an imminent loss of yardage can’t uncork one that travels more than 40 yards in the air.  But the fact that Brady was able to launch a missile doesn’t change the fact that the situation fit within the boundaries of the definition of intentional grounding.

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87 Responses to “Intentional grounding was the right call”
  1. derekjetersmansion says: Feb 6, 2012 9:22 PM

    “Imminent loss of yardage” is a little debatable.

  2. gcsuk says: Feb 6, 2012 9:27 PM

    derekjetersmansion says:
    Feb 6, 2012 9:22 PM
    “Imminent loss of yardage” is a little debatable.
    ———————————————————

    Debatable by what? By the fact that Tuck was bearing down on him and hit him IMMEDIATELY after Brady let the ball go? Fine, then don’t throw it…and get plastered in the End Zone. No “debate”.

  3. blacknole08 says: Feb 6, 2012 9:27 PM

    I thought, and still believe, that this was a phantom safety and a horrible call. I’ve watched an infinite amount of games and I have NEVER seen intentional grounding like that called in that situation before. It looked to me as though Brady had gotten the ball out, and even then, it wasn’t a sure thing that Tuck would even sack him.

  4. seaner44 says: Feb 6, 2012 9:28 PM

    In other news the sky is blue and the sun will come up tomorrow

  5. caputop says: Feb 6, 2012 9:31 PM

    Real debatable, he was only tackled in the end zone immediately after he threw the ball.

  6. nxsteven says: Feb 6, 2012 9:31 PM

    When do the Patriots and Brady ever throw the ball deep early in the 1st quarter? This isn’t 2007.

    Dead giveaway~

  7. gorilladunk says: Feb 6, 2012 9:33 PM

    Quoting the rule book is the easy way out. My question is: when is the last time a QB threw the ball 40 yards down the middle of the field and had intentional grounding called on him? That’s what I thought you said. I’m not a Patriots fan, but I’ve been watching the NFL for 45 years and I’ve NEVER seen a throw like that flagged for grounding. NEVER. So spare me all the bs about the rulebook.

  8. gcsuk says: Feb 6, 2012 9:38 PM

    gorilladunk says:
    Feb 6, 2012 9:33 PM
    Quoting the rule book is the easy way out. My question is: when is the last time a QB threw the ball 40 yards down the middle of the field and had intentional grounding called on him? That’s what I thought you said. I’m not a Patriots fan, but I’ve been watching the NFL for 45 years and I’ve NEVER seen a throw like that flagged for grounding. NEVER. So spare me all the bs about the rulebook.
    ——————————————————–
    Yep. Following the rules is usually “the easy way out”. Just because YOU never saw it happen doesn’t mean the call was wrong. What, have you seen EVERY play of EVERY game in the last 45 years?

  9. teddybayer123 says: Feb 6, 2012 9:41 PM

    When you say you’ve never seen this call, I might agree with you. But that he was in his own end zone makes this particular play atypical, and, I think, the right call.

    Oh, and then there’s this rule book-thing…

  10. demons87 says: Feb 6, 2012 9:44 PM

    Regardless of whether it’s the right application of the rule, why is a ball kept in the field of play illegal when if he steps two steps to the right and is outside of the tackle box he can throw it 40 rows in the stands and that is perfectly legal. The ball is still in play. A defender could intercept the pass in play whereas he has no conceivable chance to intercept a pass that hits the hawker in the stands.

    The rule has sucked for a long time and they should review it. It sucks just as much as when your team is on defense and you close in on the QB and he simply throws it safely out of bounds.

    Think of it in hockey terms. You’re on the penalty kill and you have the puck in your end. If this rule applied, clearing the puck out of the zone past the red line would be a two minute penalty, but as long as you are in the faceoff circle you could flip it in the stands and it be perfectly legal. It makes no sense.

  11. aequitas83 says: Feb 6, 2012 9:44 PM

    I’m surprised this is even a debate. Textbook IG. I guys fans are just used to seeing a QB their it into the ground or OB. Where the ball hours is irrelevant if it isn’t in the direction and vicinity of an eligible receiver.

  12. jetsguy1117 says: Feb 6, 2012 9:45 PM

    @gorilladunk: so if he threw the ball to the left when all the receivers were on the right it would be a correct interpretation of the rule? But throwing the ball long when everyone is short is the incorrect interpretation?

    Bottom line is if he held ball for 1 more second he is sacked. Instead he threw it to a place where no one was. Doesn’t make a difference is no one is 40 yards out or 10 yards out. It was a throw-away while in the pocket.

  13. braven4evr says: Feb 6, 2012 9:46 PM

    It’s really amazing that so many Pats fans feel as though no calls should go against Brady! Even more amazing ruffing the passer wasn’t called for touching Brady!

  14. jooceman says: Feb 6, 2012 9:46 PM

    Um, it was blatant intentional grounding. How did this play differ from every other intentional grounding call? The only difference is that you don’t often see intentional grounding on a throw 40+ yards downfield in the middle of the field. It’s still intentional grounding.

  15. tfbuckfutter says: Feb 6, 2012 9:47 PM

    No problem with that call…..

    But what WASN’T the right call, and if it’s written that was in the rule book it REALLY needs to be addressed, is a dead-ball foul on the defense not getting the game clock reset to the time of the snap.

    What the hell was that?

  16. dumdumdidday says: Feb 6, 2012 9:53 PM

    I don’t get the point of intentional grounding. Other fouls make sense because if you get away with it (like offsides) you get an unfair advantage, but intentional grounding to me is no different than throwing the ball away to the sidelines – what is the advantage the rules are preventing?

    Then again, I never understood what a loose ball foul meant in basketball

  17. yankees177 says: Feb 6, 2012 9:54 PM

    Pipe down whiny pats fans. Consider this the new “Tuck” rule. The reason you never see it called this way is because TB gets all the calls go his way… See original tuck rule. Plus mosy qbs under durress throw the ball to the sidelines. The fact that TB threw it to the middle of the field was another no no on that play.

  18. bdawk20 says: Feb 6, 2012 9:54 PM

    Are you people insane? That was the easiest intentional grounding call you can make. Brady was hit immediately after the play (no late-hit, so it was perfect timing) and threw the ball to no one because he was about to get sacked. I called that intentional grounding before the refs did and I hate the Giants.

  19. dominicthedonkey says: Feb 6, 2012 9:54 PM

    Hey Gorilla dunk…there’s a first for everything. Just like the next time you get lucky will be your first time.

    Fact: Brady felt the pressure from the DL and felt the need to get rid of the ball.

    Fact: when Brady launched the ball it ended up in a different county than the one his receivers were in. There wasn’t a WR within 30 yards. And don’t tell me it was miscommunication between the QB and the WR. Get a clue… You just got GORRILLA DUNKED on!!!

  20. bullethead527 says: Feb 6, 2012 9:55 PM

    a new “Tuck” rule, that didn’t favor the Pats, so all the Pat fans want to cry, lol.

  21. vman0626 says: Feb 6, 2012 9:56 PM

    you’ve been watching 45 years and ‘NEVER’ have seen that call? ummm, yeah. ok. it’s
    been called before. numerous times.

  22. bdawk20 says: Feb 6, 2012 9:57 PM

    And video evidence of Brady getting hit right as he released: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxV8mDocZzg

  23. theytukrjobs says: Feb 6, 2012 9:58 PM

    gorilladunk,

    I’ve been watching football a long time and have never seen one quite like that either. But the only thing in my mind that makes it unique is that I’ve never seen a QB throw a ball from the pocket that landed so far from any eligible WR. He could have spiked it and gotten closer to a WR.

    But yes it was unusual.

  24. tcclark says: Feb 6, 2012 9:59 PM

    This is being debated?

  25. golonger says: Feb 6, 2012 10:02 PM

    Wrong….it was a bad call………

  26. cowhawkfan says: Feb 6, 2012 10:05 PM

    By the book, it was a correct call. But, that type of throw away is NEVER called. Please research all intentional grounding calls and find a similar one. Was there one? And I was rooting for the NYG.

  27. swizope82 says: Feb 6, 2012 10:08 PM

    what’s it matter, they still would’ve lost…

  28. j0esixpack says: Feb 6, 2012 10:10 PM

    I’m a Pats fan and had no problem with the call – nor do most of my brethren.

    Brady was in the pocket but it’s a judgment call by the ref that over throwing the closest WR by 15 yards constitutes intentional grounding.

    This ultimately cost the Patriots 9 points given the fact that a tired defense had to get back on the field with little rest – but they had a chance to win in the final minute – in part because of a similar bonehead mistake by the Giants playing into Belichick’s hands by scoring a TD with 50 seconds left.

    The players determined the outcome of this game – the Giants won fair and square – and unlike other teams and other fans, you won’t hear many Patriots fans or players spending the next 20 years making excuses of why they “deserved” to win.

  29. theherogothamdeserved86 says: Feb 6, 2012 10:14 PM

    Man, don’t you just hate it when refs get the call right based on an informed understanding of the rules?

  30. truthserum4u says: Feb 6, 2012 10:17 PM

    While the call may have been technically accurate, it was odd it was called since this happens numerous times a season without a flag. And I’m referring to a QB starting to throw it before before the defender is actually putting any pressure on him. Brady starts lifting his front leg to step into his throw as Tuck breaks free. He’s trying to throw the ball away before the pressure gets there. The ball is already about 7 yards down field as Tuck touches Brady.

    I don’t think it was a bad call per say, but was he really “facing an imminent loss of yardage” when he starts to go into his throw?

  31. conner71 says: Feb 6, 2012 10:22 PM

    @gorilladunk – Well if you’ve never seen it then it must not be so right? Distance and location makes no difference.

    The rule book is there because the game has rules players must abide by, so quoting the rule book when trying to determine if a call made by the ref was within the boundries of the NFL rules is the ONLY way to achieve resolution. It’s black and white..

    Was he going to be sacked if he didn’t throw it? Yes.

    Was there a receiver anywhere near where he threw it? No.

    The call was right based on rules and common sense.

  32. childressrulz says: Feb 6, 2012 10:27 PM

    it’s funny I was talking to a friend the other day about the tuck rule. I think that they should’ve called it a forward pass but then flaged him for intentional grounding. My point is they should call intentional grounding much more often. I thought the call was legitimate.

  33. usmutts says: Feb 6, 2012 10:34 PM

    Once Brady tuck ruled;
    Now Tuck ruled Brady.

  34. bdbd20 says: Feb 6, 2012 10:35 PM

    It may have been the right call by the rulebook, but it sets a bad precedent.

    Everytime a receiver breaks his route off or runs the wrong route and the QB goes deep, it should be called.

  35. couldntthinkofaname says: Feb 6, 2012 10:36 PM

    “So spare me all the bs about the rulebook.”

    Agreed. This is the same rulebook that can’t even explain what is and isn’t a catch. Matt Barkley had a similar call against him during one of USC’s games last year. Someone ran the wrong route, he threw it, no receiver was in the area and boom, a flag came down.

    Oh well. I didn’t cost them the game. Just seemed like a weird call, even if it was correct.

    Regardless, great win by the Giants, great effort by the Pats. Great game from two great teams, two great QBs and two great franchises.

    Bring on the draft!

  36. aequitas83 says: Feb 6, 2012 10:37 PM

    According to gorilladunk, rules don’t matter. As long as he’s never seen it in 45 years, it’s not a penalty.

    Sounds like solid reasoning to me.

  37. phinfan527 says: Feb 6, 2012 10:44 PM

    Giesele thought Tommy looked great on that obvious intentional grounding!!

  38. caputop says: Feb 6, 2012 10:51 PM

    A loose ball foul is when there is a foul when the ball is loose.

    That said, the benefit the offense gets from grounding the ball is an incomplete pass instead of a sack, this play should perfectly illustrate the advantage.

  39. 69finfan says: Feb 6, 2012 10:52 PM

    Actually the Sky isn’t blue, it only appears to be blue, due to Rayleigh Scattering. In football news the fact that the pass was thrown from the endzone had a lot to do with the grounding call due to the fact that the imminenet loss of yardage would result in a safety, which it resulted in anyway.

  40. pudgalvin says: Feb 6, 2012 10:52 PM

    I didn’t even realize this was a thing, debating this call. I started shouting as soon as I saw it that it was intentional grounding. I’ve certainly seen this called before too, exact same situation. It’s not terribly common, but it’s certainly not unheard of.

    I just watched it again, and am even more certain. If he tries to pass a half second later, that’s a sack.

  41. golonger says: Feb 6, 2012 10:54 PM

    still would have lost???…did you check the score.

    Take away the safety and the Pats would have only needed a field goal on the last drive to win it!

  42. golonger says: Feb 6, 2012 10:56 PM

    aequitas83 – oh, and you think that hasn’t happened in 45 years????………give me a break!

  43. supersuckers3 says: Feb 6, 2012 10:58 PM

    Throwing the ball into the 10th row of the stands on a sideline route is ok but tossing it deep over a crossing wideout in the field of play isnt?

  44. bigdaddy44 says: Feb 6, 2012 11:08 PM

    The Refs got the call right. Remember, this is THE Tom Brady, supposedly one of the greatest, smartest QB’s ever, not a high school or college QB. He knows better, Period. This Brady panic moment was in essence a 9 point turnover to start the game, with the ensuing change of possession that yielded a Giants TD. I know the Giants started their TD drive at their own 22 yard line, but the loss of possession from the safety is still equal to a pick or a fumble. It’s a 9 point turnover. Then their was the Brady pick, resulting from a nasty habit he developed after Moss arrived, taking chances heaving the ball downfield. A skill he has always been bad at, he got a big head when he could heave it up and Moss could go get it. Newsflash Tom, it was Moss, not you. When he began to wind up, I screamed NOOOOO at the top of my lungs, scaring the crap out of the 20 people I was watching the game with. Three seconds later, Giants ball. 16 for 16 doesn’t mean bleep when you commit 9 point turnovers, throw stupid picks and don’t score for the last 26 minutes of the game. (see my “Bill O’Brien can’t game plan against a good defense” rants about that one)
    Their were 4 bad plays by others that possibly could have changed the outcome. Mayo facing the wrong way on the Cruz TD, 12 men on the field, the Ninkovich offside and the Welker drop all could have changed things. There were also a series of other bad drops and play calls. they lost as a team, but the QB is always going to take more of the blame, in this case it is deserved. By the way, have you ever heard of this REAL clutch QB named Eli………………..

  45. gcsuk says: Feb 6, 2012 11:11 PM

    cowhawkfan says:
    Feb 6, 2012 10:05 PM
    By the book, it was a correct call. But, that type of throw away is NEVER called. Please research all intentional grounding calls and find a similar one. Was there one? And I was rooting for the NYG.
    ———————————————————

    Sure, no problem. Because we have NOTHING better to do with our lives than look up EVERY Intentional Grounding call EVER. I don’t know about you, but I wish I had the time to watch every game ever played.

  46. vincentbojackson says: Feb 6, 2012 11:12 PM

    Giselle thought it was a bullsh#t call.

  47. newguy925 says: Feb 6, 2012 11:54 PM

    The concept is if a qb can throw the ball away to avoid a sack you detract from the game by letting qbs throw garbage balls they have no intention of completing. Just like Brady did. Somebody posted there was a wr within 15 yards, there wasn’t a player on my tv screen when that ball landed, offense or defense.

    You want to throw that pass? Roll out of the pocket and make a legitimate effort to complete the pass.

    You want to blame a miscommunication or a bad route? I have never seen Brady miss like that under any circumstances.

    He stayed in the pocket and threw the ball to avoid taking a safety on the hit Tuck delivered.

    Could not believe this was up for debate. I think a better topic may be the fact that we are seeing the beginning of decline for Brady and it was masked by a weak schedule this season.

  48. rabidbillsfan says: Feb 6, 2012 11:57 PM

    Yes, ragging on Gorrila dunk would be the logical thing to do, but lets look a this counterpart demon87. Mr. 87 what the he** are you talking about. You clearly do not understand hockey or football. In this “situation” the team who would be clearing the puck is on a penalty (Shorthanded), and therefore clearing the puck into the stands, regardless of legality, is dumb, as it stops the clock and would result in an own zone face off. Think of it this way, there would never be a sack if what Brady did was legal. It might as well go to 7-on7 drills, as soon as the qb sees pressure, just unload a midfield bomb and start over. Even being out of the tacklebox doesn’t exclude a QB from the rule, the ball still must pass the line of scrimage. @ bdbd20, listen, if your qb is overthrowing WO by 40 yards just because he ran a wrong route, you should consider a new team to root for.

  49. heyitsmejosh says: Feb 7, 2012 12:01 AM

    no a pats fan or a giants fan, and had no money on the game

    i dont see how you can call that Intentional grounding. it you can see the ball go over branch’s head as hes cutting in, you dont know that he didnt screw up and cut in rather than running a post where he would have been in the vicinity of the play.

    i could understand calling grounding if he threw it out of bounds or 4 feet in front of him, but 40 yards down the field is just as likely a broke play as it is him throwing it away. i just dont see that the “Intentional” part of Intentional grounding is clear on this play

  50. rabidbillsfan says: Feb 7, 2012 12:11 AM

    @tfbuckfutter.

    I can see where your coming from, but Brady essentially had a free play, therefore he could do anything he wanted and could control the outcome. He decided to go for it, costing time, but he also could have spiked it, saved the time, and still get the same outcome. Remember Palmers Cincy days, I remember him just spiking it and it drove Cincy fans nuts! In the right situation, however, it can be a very smart play. I think its the right way to do it, takes all the guess work out of it for the refs.

  51. dougy1970 says: Feb 7, 2012 12:20 AM

    At the very least, “Grounding” is a misnomer. That pass was not “Grounding”.

    Funny that Al Michaels and even Collinsworth were unable to provide “analysis” of the play until after commercial break because they were so confused by this highly unusual, if not unprecedented, overly officious call.

    But, bottom-line for me, it was a lazy, arrogant play from Brady and he deserved to be punished for it. Smart QBs know how to intentionally ground the ball without getting called for it. If you are in the pocket, bounce it at the feet of your nearest outlet receiver.

  52. randomcommenter says: Feb 7, 2012 12:26 AM

    cheer up Pats fans, the refs made it up to you by allowing your subpar DBs to grab the Giants WRs all game.

    That was a blatant pass interference against manningham on a key 3rd down. No call.

  53. themonster49 says: Feb 7, 2012 12:27 AM

    I have one argument, and will follow it up with an argument against it.

    If he threw it away to avoid a sack, why did he Step Into The Throw and line drive it Right Up The Middle.

    Having said that, Brady is one of the smarter quarterbacks, and possibly saw it coming so he started the mechanics of his throw before there was contact, intending to make an intentional grounding look like an intended pass.

    Either way its over.

  54. dmartin17 says: Feb 7, 2012 12:36 AM

    Was anyone arguing this?

    You know what’d be nice with this article though? A picture showing where all the receivers were when the throw happened.

    I’m curious just how far away they all were. Sports radio was saying they were all running sideline routes so that makes it sound like it was REALLY bad.

  55. coachglove says: Feb 7, 2012 12:49 AM

    As soon as they showed down field I told my friends that was a safety. Normally you see a QB throw it away “deep” when they are driving into their endzone (they throw it well would of the back of the endzone) and I think Brady figured the only place no bodies were nearby was where he threw it. He was most definitely under pressure and he definitely threw it when he did to avoid a sack. Grounding is called when the QB throws it to avoid an inevitable sack. If a QB drops back and WR cuts off a route, but there is no imminent danger then refs won’t call grounding. It was the right call in both the spirit and the letter of the rule book. I’m surprised they called it because Brady gets all those damn Kobe calls, but they definitely got it right.

  56. blaz0037 says: Feb 7, 2012 1:51 AM

    in my opinion, how can you prove that it wasn’t a miscommunication between QB and WR? Maybe the reciever ran the wrong route.

    That being said, Brady didn’t argue so it was probably the correct call. Tough call to make tho.

  57. lookatthefarside says: Feb 7, 2012 2:03 AM

    Weirdest moment during post Super Bowl Celebration would have to go to the fan holding the Ellen face jumping up and down behind the Eli interview.

  58. waxedagain says: Feb 7, 2012 4:38 AM

    This Patriots fan whining is minor compared to 2008. Back then, they circulated an Internet petition to replay the last two minutes of the SB because the officials had stopped the clock to determine the proper placement of the ball after a Giants first down on their last TD drive. You know, the drive when Samuels dropped the game clinching INT before Hobbes allowed the game winning TD.

  59. footballprophet says: Feb 7, 2012 5:11 AM

    Never saw a flag thrown on a deep pass like that. What a joke.

  60. gatorprof says: Feb 7, 2012 5:51 AM

    Correct call, but easily avoidable by Brady. All he had to do was move move a bit more to his right to get outside of the tackle box and then toss the ball past the LOS, preferably out of bounds.

    Brady had a brain fart.

  61. istuppingyourwhiteewe says: Feb 7, 2012 6:32 AM

    Correct Call. Plain and simple.

    Watched the game with 6 Patriot fans (painful, I know). All agreed that it was a perfectly good call.

    Besides, it didn’t decide the game, so why on earth is this being debated?

  62. jetfanfolife says: Feb 7, 2012 6:49 AM

    Pat fans are only mad because they got caught at doing something wrong on the field.

    Denial isn’t a river in Egypt.

  63. chrisexv6 says: Feb 7, 2012 6:54 AM

    @bdbd20:

    NBC showed a really nice birds eye view of the play…..there was no WR anywhere near where that ball went. It was so far beyond a missed route it wasnt even funny, I think the nearest WR was Ocho Cinco sitting on the bench.

    I can understand if there was some ANYWHERE near it, but it wasnt even close. All Tommy Boy had to do was launch it out of bounds over the head of an eligible receiver and it would have been a textbook non-call.

    Man he musta really been in some frame of mind to do that on play 1.

  64. natigator says: Feb 7, 2012 6:56 AM

    I’ve always been curious about one thing – why is intentionally spiking the ball to kill the clock not considered grounding?

    QB is inside the tackle box. The ball does not go past the line of scrimmage. The ball is clearly not being thrown in the direction of an eligble receiver (if anything, it almost touches a lineman who is ineligble and therefore could be another penalty altogether).

    Is there a special exception in the rule book, if the game has only a few seconds to go and the team is out of/or saving its last timeout, this rule goes out the window so do what you want?

  65. TheDPR says: Feb 7, 2012 7:00 AM

    Does anyone really believe that if it was NOT called that there would have been an uproar over the non-call? Would people be ranting that such a blatant intentional grounding call was missed by the officials?

    No? Then it wasn’t as clear-cut and blatant as a lot of people think.

    It was the technically correct call. Anyone arguing beyond that in either direction ‘doth protest too much.’

  66. mute617 says: Feb 7, 2012 7:08 AM

    Why do simple rules need to be explained? Maybe morons shouldn’t be allowed to watch football

  67. dabreesknees says: Feb 7, 2012 7:32 AM

    So to recap:

    Rules are rules, water is wet, and the Pats lost the Superbowl.
    It’s tough putting it that way but if they hadn’t dropped those three sitters (with the possible borderline exception of Branch), you gotta like their chances to score again. As it is they almost pulled off the Hail Mary.
    So taking nothing away from the NYG, it was the Pats game to lose on those final two drives and they dropped the ball, literally.

  68. tomsd1 says: Feb 7, 2012 7:42 AM

    On that type of play – the call is almost never made, and yes, I watch one hell of lot of football and have for over 60 years.

    Personally – I think Intential Grounding is a stupid rule anyway – as the QB should be able to get rid of the ball whenever he has to.

  69. tomsd1 says: Feb 7, 2012 7:46 AM

    And woudl agree – the Pats played too conservatively once they had the lead later in the game and tried to run clock. When they previously went to the Hurry up /No huddle attack – they had the Giants back on their heels and kept catching them with the wrong personnel in the game to cover the Pats receivers.

    And how can you have 12 guys on the field? Geesh – the great Belickick did not have one of his better games.

  70. crazydiamond125 says: Feb 7, 2012 7:54 AM

    Here is why it was the wrong call, and why plays like that, that far downfield have never been called. Ever. Like in the history of the game. Until Sunday. The refs are not in the huddle and don’t know the play. There was a receiver (Branch, I think) who ran a crossing pattern and was about 15, maybe 20 yds or so from the ball. If he was supposed to be running a post pattern, that ball could easily have ended up being completed. Eli completes blindly heaved balls like that all the time.

  71. jbniner says: Feb 7, 2012 8:12 AM

    The play looked odd because you very rarely, if ever, see a QB step into the throw on an intentional grounding call. Typically the player is being hurried, causing him to unload the ball off his back foot or otherwise off balance.

    On the play you also had two receivers on the left side of the formation run the same route at the same depth, which would be an odd concept. It would make sendse that the ouside receiver was supposed to break to the post instead of the deep-in. Brady lets the ball go as the WR breaks and the result is a throw to empty space that creates a penalty.

  72. gcsuk says: Feb 7, 2012 8:47 AM

    tomsd1 says: Feb 7, 2012 7:42 AM

    On that type of play – the call is almost never made, and yes, I watch one hell of lot of football and have for over 60 years.

    Personally – I think Intential Grounding is a stupid rule anyway – as the QB should be able to get rid of the ball whenever he has to.
    ———————————————————————–

    Sounds about like a Patriots fan…let’s re-write the rules to whatever suits our needs.

  73. joetorious says: Feb 7, 2012 9:08 AM

    Not only was that the right call, but Brady should have been called for another intentional grounding late in the third (about four mins to go) on second down.

    He was outside of the pocket and threw the ball away. However – and how the linesman missed this since it happened right in front of him is beyond me – the ball didn’t make it to the line of scrimmage. Actually, it landed TWO YARDS behind the line of scrimmage. (Al Michaels, surprisingly, failed to notice this, and simply kept talking about how there was no grounding since Brady was out of the pocket, seemingly forgetting the other important part of that rule.)

    This ended up being a non-factor, as Brady was sacked on the next play and the Patriots punted, but it was an obvious missed call that could have greatly benefited the Pats.

  74. thenavyandwhite says: Feb 7, 2012 9:09 AM

    The referees made the right call in the super bowl.

    For the last 30 years they made the wrong call in every game in relation to this specific play.

    Football fans should wonder why this ruling wasn’t enforced during past games … to help players understand not to do it during big games.

  75. theandy59 says: Feb 7, 2012 9:15 AM

    First, there’s not much dispute that this was technically an Intentional Grounding. It was a poor decision by Brady, but an understandable one given the fact that IG is virtually never called in that circumstance. The reason it’s never called is that on a long pass like that, there’s an assumption that there won’t be a receiver near the ball’s landing spot the moment the ball is “released”; it takes time for the receiver to get to the spot. So if the ball is thrown on a 40 yard post, but just as the ball is released the receiver it’s intended for breaks outside expecting a 20 yard out, he’ll be about 35 yards away from the balls landing spot and there won’t be a receiver near the ball. How can a referee judge whether the intent was to ground the ball, or whether it was a blown route? That’s why calling IG in that case is so extremely rare. Personally, I’ve never seen that called in 35 years of watching the NFL.

  76. itsmebobd says: Feb 7, 2012 9:20 AM

    Patriots Fans are complaining about a BAD CALL in a BIG GAME? Go Tuck Yourself!

    And I’m a bengals fan, so I obviously hate the raiders, since they now have carson palmer now!

  77. mikea311 says: Feb 7, 2012 9:51 AM

    to everyone saying this never happens, it happens all the time, i can remember a throw from eli this year were he threw it out of bounds and it was called intentional ground. i forget what game it was.

  78. bleedsoe9mm says: Feb 7, 2012 9:54 AM

    somebody ran the wrong route , technically grounding , but really wasn’t . is that is what the refs are going to call groundings are going up 1000% next year

  79. bleedsoe9mm says: Feb 7, 2012 9:56 AM

    itsmebobd says: Feb 7, 2012 9:20 AM

    Patriots Fans are complaining about a BAD CALL in a BIG GAME? Go Tuck Yourself!

    And I’m a bengals fan, so I obviously hate the raiders, since they now have carson palmer now!

    its very similar to the tuck rule , a technically correct rule barely ever called

  80. tomsd1 says: Feb 7, 2012 10:01 AM

    Hey – I live in SD – and am a Chargers, 49ers, Raiders and Seahawks fan – but still know football (played it, coached it – had teammates play in College and in the NFL) – probably better than any blogger on here – and again, that call is never made. Pure and simple.

  81. umrguy42 says: Feb 7, 2012 10:05 AM

    coachglove says:
    Feb 7, 2012 12:49 AM
    As soon as they showed down field I told my friends that was a safety. Normally you see a QB throw it away “deep” when they are driving into their endzone (they throw it well would of the back of the endzone)

    ————————————————–

    Actually, on a minor note, I’ve seen IG called when the QB wound up throwing it through the back of the endzone (AND when there were receivers a helluva lot closer to it than there were in Brady’s case). Now THAT one was a bad call…

  82. nebster21 says: Feb 7, 2012 10:22 AM

    as someone that did not care one way or the other. the illegal grounding was correct by the rule. But it should not have been called. How many times do you see a QB overthrow a WR out of bounds and the call is not made in the same circumstance. Whether in the endzone or not.

  83. daysend564 says: Feb 7, 2012 10:42 AM

    Gisele thinks Welker dropped it

  84. CKL says: Feb 7, 2012 11:56 AM

    Gotta love all of us Pats fans being called whiners when none of us that I know of are, in fact, whining. It was the proper call.

    What I “whine” about is why didn’t TB get out of the tackle box or simply run a couple yards forward to get out of the EZ. Or why didn’t they call a run play there to begin with? It was a mental error on someone’s part, either TB’s or a WR who should have broken towards there and he was anticipating that when he threw. Stuff happens.

  85. bozosforall says: Feb 7, 2012 12:00 PM

    golonger says:
    Feb 6, 2012 10:54 PM
    still would have lost???…did you check the score.

    Take away the safety and the Pats would have only needed a field goal on the last drive to win it!

    __
    STHU, crybaby. Your team lost and your wife is mad that you CAN’T “go longer” when you try to hit that.

  86. gatorprof says: Feb 7, 2012 12:46 PM

    Re: “I’ve always been curious about one thing – why is intentionally spiking the ball to kill the clock not considered grounding?”

    The QB must be “facing an imminent loss of yardage because of pressure from the defense”. That doesn’t happen in this case of spiking it to kill the clock.

  87. str8up12 says: Feb 8, 2012 8:26 AM

    Sooo….ummmm… by your literal interpretation of the rule book, why isn’t it intentional grounding when a QB simply throws the ball through the endzone. Happens in most every game and is always hailed as a smart play by the QB.
    Yes, I am a Pats fan and no I’m not making excuses for the loss. I’m asking a fair question that all the “experts” on intentional grounding can’t answer.

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