The NFL’s rules protect quarterbacks, and for good reason. There simply aren’t enough of them who can perform at a high level.
The protections include preventing certain hits on quarterbacks and permitting certain behaviors aimed at allowing quarterbacks to avoid otherwise legal hits. The Panthers propose limiting the latter.
Specifically, Carolina has proposed a rule change aimed at expanding the definition of intentional grounding, on the basis that the current rule doesn’t adequately prevent fouls.
Here’s the current rule: “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. If a player intentionally throws a ball to the ground, it is intentional grounding, unless the receiver is surrounded by defenders on an attempted screen pass.”
The proposal would remove this sentence: “A realistic chance of completion is defined as a pass that lands in the direction and the vicinity of an originally eligible receiver.”
The only problem is that the revised rule would leave the term “realistic chance of completion” undefined. But maybe the wisdom of the proposal is that “realistic chance of completion” doesn’t need to be defined. Maybe common sense should apply, since the current definition of “realistic chance of completion” is completely nonsensical.
A pass that “lands in the direction and the vicinity of an originally eligible receiver” doesn’t necessarily have a “realistic chance of completion.” A pass that has a realistic chance of completion has a “realistic chance of completion,” and fans tends to know it when they see it.
As the rule is currently written and interpreted, the quarterback needs to do little more than spike the ball for intentional grounding to be avoided. So if the current rule is going to remain in place, why not just let a quarterback who is feeling the heat spike the ball?
That would make far more sense than the current rule, which lets the dart not just miss the board but fail to even strike the wall.