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Panthers propose a revised definition of intentional grounding

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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.

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62 Responses to “Panthers propose a revised definition of intentional grounding”
  1. thefatlazygamer says: Mar 17, 2016 7:30 PM

    Let me guess… a strip sack in which the QB doesn’t attempt to dive on the ball is now a legal grounding of the ball or an incomplete pass?

  2. jrossizzle says: Mar 17, 2016 7:31 PM

    Why? So there’s no urgency to jump on a live ball in a one score game during the SuperBowl?

  3. win1soon says: Mar 17, 2016 7:31 PM

    So a pass thrown intentionaly in the ground is intentional grounding? Can all refs doing a Patriots game be advised of this, not sure how many times i have seen Tommy get away with this one!

  4. tmb333 says: Mar 17, 2016 7:36 PM

    Out of pocket shouldn’t matter either. If it is not when a few yards of a player, its intentional grounding. It will never happen and refs are too incompetent to call it correctly anyway. If they throw it in the stand behind the endzone or it lands outside the white border on sidelines, it should be grounding.

  5. tedmurph says: Mar 17, 2016 7:39 PM

    Giving the refs more judgement calls would be a mistake. They’re already making a mess out of what’s a catch, pass interference and holding

  6. whiteybulgersson says: Mar 17, 2016 7:39 PM

    I wonder if they will have a new team rule called the Benedict Arnold rule where players must go after a fumbled football.

  7. gmen32 says: Mar 17, 2016 7:50 PM

    When a quarterback runs to the line of
    scrimmage at the end of the half or game,
    takes the snap and throws it directly at the
    ground to stop the clock, is he or is he not
    intentionally grounding the ball? Is he trying
    to complete a pass?

  8. gromit45 says: Mar 17, 2016 7:51 PM

    It’s common to see a QB throw the ball at the feet of an outlet receiver when the heat is on and the receiver has no chance of gaining any yardage.

    Does the receiver now need to start “diving” at the ball to make it look like they were trying to complete a pass?

    This change would seem to open up more judgment calls which is the last thing refs and the NFL needs.

  9. philyeagles5 says: Mar 17, 2016 7:53 PM

    More brain work and judgment calls for the old fart refs? No thank you.

  10. bjwbrown2011 says: Mar 17, 2016 7:54 PM

    58% of Tim Tebow passes did not have a realistic chance of completion.

  11. mattwalshvideo says: Mar 17, 2016 7:56 PM

    All due to Tom Shady chucking and ducking like a girl. Never intends on completing passes when the rush is on, he just heaves it into the ground hoping one of his wr’s is somewhere in the vicinity.

    Thank you Carolina.

  12. nflpoker says: Mar 17, 2016 7:56 PM

    There is a difference between spiking the ball when the QB is under center as opposed to trying not to be sacked, etc. when the play is being run. Just put a red shirt on the QB like they do in practice so the QB is never touched. lol.

  13. godenbroncos says: Mar 17, 2016 7:59 PM

    Funny that Carolina proposes this…Cam SHOULD have been called for grounding in the Super Bowl 3 times.

    …and COULD have been called for 5 more.

    Have to say though, it did save him some pain🙂

    GoDenBroncos

  14. doylemcmuffin says: Mar 17, 2016 8:00 PM

    Now that’s funny! Cam got away with like 5 IG passes in the SB. Denver would have sacked him 10 times, but the refs kept letting him ground it in the interest of keeping the game competitive.

  15. TacomaHawk says: Mar 17, 2016 8:03 PM

    Too many rules favoring offense as it is….

  16. gem says: Mar 17, 2016 8:05 PM

    In other words, find all of Cams foibles and legislate them legal .. should help reduce pouting

  17. gtrav says: Mar 17, 2016 8:15 PM

    Someone else said it first…but I have absolutely no faith in the officiating, especially after last season, and what’s the old saying? You can’t teach brain-dead refs new tricks? Yeah I think that’s how it goes

  18. theinconvienenttruth says: Mar 17, 2016 8:15 PM

    Can we really expect NFL refs to use this “common sense”?

  19. cowboylover says: Mar 17, 2016 8:16 PM

    Eli Manning throws it to the ground at least two or three times a game. Would love to see that stopped or a flag thrown.

  20. dirtmcgirt24 says: Mar 17, 2016 8:21 PM

    Intentional grounding is the most overhyped of all penalties. If you take a sack, you lose the down and the next snap is from the spot of the sack. If you intentionally ground the ball, you lose the down and the next snap is 10 yards back. So maybe you cost your team 3 yards. But you drove the ball in the ground instead of letting a 300 pound maniac try to rip it away from you. It’s well worth the penalty.

    Yet, announcers routinely kill quarterbacks for the penalty.

    Change the definition of catchable to whatever you want, but so long as the choice is sack somewhere behind the line of scrimmage with the potential for a strip or loss of down and 10 yards, it behooves the quarterback to spike it every time.

  21. rhett16 says: Mar 17, 2016 8:25 PM

    If the standard is “a realistic chance of completion”, Jay Cutler will be forced to retire.

  22. eezyxyz says: Mar 17, 2016 8:26 PM

    This is one rule I’d be in favor of being written fairly vaguely and left as a judgment call. It’s usually pretty easy to tell when a QB was just throwing the ball away and not genuinely attempting to complete a pass. Just make it any pass thrown under pressure which had no chance of being completed.

  23. capitaosuecia says: Mar 17, 2016 8:33 PM

    i agree.. too many passes are thrown away with no penalty to the qb.. it´s easy, just go outside the pocket and throw anything that passes the line of scrimmage… but that would be a huge rule change, and game changer..

  24. abfox112 says: Mar 17, 2016 8:39 PM

    Actually what’s funny is the Carolina/Giants game last year where Eli threw numerous passes into the back of his O line. I will bet the farm that this game incited this specific proposal.

    And yes, Tom Brady is very guilty of it too.

  25. whatjusthapped says: Mar 17, 2016 8:55 PM

    While they are at it, make it illegal to dab on the field. The reason is sportsmanship and Cam doesn’t even know the definition of the word.

  26. daaabears says: Mar 17, 2016 9:16 PM

    I got an idea; How ’bout when the QB intentionally grounds the ball, we call it intentional grounding?

    99 of 100 times everyone watching is aware of intent to ground.

  27. smokehouse56 says: Mar 17, 2016 9:24 PM

    Brady has intentional grounding thing down to a science. In the Denver game last January he was doing it at least 7-10 times and was never called.

  28. jkossrt says: Mar 17, 2016 9:25 PM

    It’s not brain surgery. Even NFL refs should be able to determine when a QB is just throwing the ball away to avoid the pressure and a sack. It’s usually very obvious to those of us watching the game.

  29. finfansince68 says: Mar 17, 2016 9:27 PM

    Let’s call this one the ” Cam Newton do I or don’t I ” Rule – he did this multiple times during the season & SB & it never got called!

  30. pacstud says: Mar 17, 2016 9:47 PM

    Current rule is fine. Current enforcement is fine. Florio is doing the only thing he knows how, since he is a former lawyer and has never been in sports. He is playing “foosball rules lawyer guy”. AKA stirring up shiz where it’s not needed.

  31. bcgreg says: Mar 17, 2016 9:53 PM

    The worst violation of the intentional grounding rule is NEVER called. That is when the QB chucks it 8 rows into the stands behind the bench. Ooooohhhh, he almost had it!

  32. artic19 says: Mar 17, 2016 10:28 PM

    These QB’s make way too much money to be allowed to chuck the ball out-of-bounds or out of the endzone. I remember when some QB’s could throw to covered receivers. I think that the new rule should state that any pass thrown within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage should either be touched by the receiver or defender and then they could set 5-20 yards should be within 3 yards of the receiver and then over 20 yards would have to land within 5 yards of the receiver.

  33. 3wordanswers says: Mar 17, 2016 10:58 PM

    Before worrying about intentional grounding calls; they should clear up this mess that somehow the Shazier head-shot on Gio Bernard was legal because he ‘didn’t line him up’.

    Dirtiest play of the year, and nothing done about it…….

  34. dejadoh says: Mar 17, 2016 11:12 PM

    Why doesn’t the quarterback just fall to the ground to avoid the hit? Why? Because he doesn’t want to lose yards. That’s not fair to the defense who are doing their job.

    If you want to allow the QB to spike the ball, then adopt a rule which marks the ball/play dead at the point of where the ball is spiked. This should be the case in all instances when a passer spikes the ball. With a spike being defined to be within one yard, either direction, of where the passers feet are at time ball leaves the passers hand.

  35. veretax says: Mar 17, 2016 11:31 PM

    It should have to be a pass pass the line of scrimage, or to a back or receiver that lined up in the back field.

    That’s it. Throwing it at the legs of the defenders should be intentional grounding.

  36. Damidwesterner says: Mar 17, 2016 11:36 PM

    “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.” Yeah. Just like we know what a catch is when we see it.

  37. ranlgon says: Mar 18, 2016 1:04 AM

    cgreg says:
    Mar 17, 2016 9:53 PM
    The worst violation of the intentional grounding rule is NEVER called. That is when the QB chucks it 8 rows into the stands behind the bench. Ooooohhhh, he almost had it!
    …………………………………………………………………………………………..
    Tom Brady was called for it on the first Patriots offensive play of the SB XLVI vs the Giants. So maybe it only gets called when the Patriots are involved.

  38. randomjoeblow says: Mar 18, 2016 1:29 AM

    So, NFL offenses should have more protections? Pretty much any time a defender gets close to the QB, he can just chuck it away? What a terrible fix.

  39. squared80 says: Mar 18, 2016 2:01 AM

    They can’t even figure out what a catch is. Baby steps.

  40. boltergeist19 says: Mar 18, 2016 2:06 AM

    If they are in trouble they should have the arm strength to wing it out of bounds- even underhand.

  41. chebornek says: Mar 18, 2016 2:42 AM

    We could always bring back the replacement refs…At least it didn’t appear that Vegas was paying them off all the time.

    Probably because THOSE guys hadn’t made all the correct contacts, threats or made the proper background investigations of the OFFICIAL deviants.

    The NFL is about to make me a full time fan of MLB.

    Which is the complete opposite of autumn 1994.

  42. varangia says: Mar 18, 2016 3:26 AM

    The main problem I have with intentional grounding is RW’s abuse of the out of the pocket IG. That rule alone gave the Seahawks a SB or at least a SB appearance.

  43. jmethane says: Mar 18, 2016 5:41 AM

    The rule for throwing it into the stands is he has to be outside the pocket.

    You can’t take throwing the ball away instead of getting sacked, that has been a qb’s option from the start. Qb’s would be getting murdered out there if you take the option of throwing the ball away out of the equation. Slow guys like Eli and Flacco and Matty ice would get hurt by week three getting blown up every time the guys are covered.

    Of course someone like cam newton would be less affected because of his size, speed and running ability. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm I wonder why Carolina is proposing this?! Haha yeah right! Not to mention the increase in injuries because a qb has to take the hit instead of throwing it away?

    Get out of here with that…qb’s have always been able to, and will always be able to throw the ball away. 300lb guys who run WAY faster are trying to kill them.

    I also think they are tired of watching Russell Wilson elude the rush enough to get outside and throw it away on broken plays. He is a master at that. Take it away and it hurts the seahawks.

  44. truthinesshurts says: Mar 18, 2016 6:49 AM

    ***********
    mattwalshvideo says:
    Mar 17, 2016 7:56 PM
    All due to Tom Shady chucking and ducking like a girl. Never intends on completing passes when the rush is on, he just heaves it into the ground hoping one of his wr’s is somewhere in the vicinity.

    Thank you Carolina
    ***********

    What on earth makes this “all” due to Tom Brady ? You think Carolina is hoping to meet him in the Super Bowl so they are looking for an edge…via a subtle change to the Intentional Grounding rule…??? If that actually makes sense to you….

    Tell me, is your bedroom wallpapered with Tom Brady photos that have the eyes scratched out? Is your name Ray Finkel perhaps?

  45. jkossrt says: Mar 18, 2016 7:02 AM

    In addition to changing the IG rules, I think they should consider another rule change. I don’t believe in letting the QB slide when he runs. If he is going to run then he is fair game. Also, I have seen Cam Newton fake a slide several times. He then picks up another 5-7 yards and in one case a TD. That puts the defense at a big disadvantage and should be flagged.

  46. 65impala says: Mar 18, 2016 7:15 AM

    so spiking the ball to stop the clock is intentional grounding?

  47. bigbluefan1 says: Mar 18, 2016 7:20 AM

    Funny they already have changed what a real QB is

  48. rollotomasi14 says: Mar 18, 2016 7:56 AM

    So funny. Has nothing to do with the Patriots and yet they are mentioned numerous times. Talk about a team that’s in your heads. It’s great.

  49. steves11 says: Mar 18, 2016 8:34 AM

    “Have to say though, it did save him some pain :)”

    Hey…it was the last game of the season and Cam didn’t want to spend his offseason rehabbing an injury. Perfectly understandable that he’d want to protect his body in that situation🙂

  50. whispersd says: Mar 18, 2016 9:07 AM

    “And yes, Tom Brady is very guilty of it too.”

    Tom Brady is “guilty” of using the rule as it’s written. As are many QBs. At least the good ones.

  51. jjackwagon says: Mar 18, 2016 9:10 AM

    Based on this new definition all of Kaep’s passes will be ruled as IG.

  52. nhpats says: Mar 18, 2016 9:14 AM

    Quit trying to change the rules…. Oh, and Cam is still a coward.

  53. xballhawkx says: Mar 18, 2016 9:23 AM

    Not sure about changing the rule but it should be added that if an intentional grounding is called the player(s) applying the pressure should get a 1/2 sack recorded. Either way the pass needs to be forward in the direction of an eligible receiver when the QB is in the pocket (meaning he is protected) regardless of how you want to define it. Outside the pocket he is unprotected so a throwaway rule is fine. A RB that is in a protection stance is not an eligible receiver until he turns to look for the ball or crosses the line of scrimmage making him a receiver to prevent throwing it into the back or legs of a RB that is blocking and obviously not receiving. I get they want to protect QBs but this is getting to a point in which all QBs should be wearing a red jersey and become untouchable. In that case then lets just write in a rule stating that the QB can’t cross the line of scrimmage at all thus he must hand off or throw the ball in order to advance it.

  54. TheDPR says: Mar 18, 2016 9:39 AM

    To accept a rule change like this I’d need to be convinced that the current rule is a significant problem in the NFL. I don’t think it is.

  55. lackofabetter says: Mar 18, 2016 10:17 AM

    Intentional grounding? I thought that was called the Tom Brady special?

  56. titletownphipsi says: Mar 18, 2016 10:35 AM

    “Reasonable Chance of Completion” Do they need to specify for what team? Jay Cutler may be in trouble if that is the case.

  57. panthro79 says: Mar 18, 2016 11:43 AM

    Your windows have all been shut. This is Cam’s league for the next 7 years.

  58. rufustfireflyjr says: Mar 18, 2016 12:37 PM

    Right, let’s give the refs even more discretion by removing the definition of a pass with a reasonable chance of being completed. They obviously don’t have enough judgment calls to make. And while we’re at it, let’s get more QBs injured by making it harder to throw the ball away without penalty and let’s give teams that are good at pressuring the QB like (surprise) Carolina even more of an advantage. Brilliant idea.

  59. commiecensorshiponpft says: Mar 18, 2016 12:46 PM

    They already do this. Just look how brady got to and played in the playoffs.

  60. billsfan1 says: Mar 18, 2016 12:56 PM

    I’d like to see them start calling in the grasp again

  61. jmethane says: Mar 18, 2016 3:43 PM

    Teams like the Jets and the Broncos already don’t have a qb and are looking for one under every rock and you people want to take away the throwaway and now this guy wants to take away the slide rule. Smh

    Who is going to throw the ball? Your qb’s are all on the IR.

    With the concussion 5
    thing, the lack of good qb’s in the NFL and the amount good qbs do make this will NEVER happen. Keep dreaming.

  62. gmen32 says: Mar 18, 2016 7:08 PM

    ranlgon says:Mar 18, 2016 1:04 AM

    cgreg says:
    Mar 17, 2016 9:53 PM
    The worst violation of the intentional grounding rule is NEVER called. That is when the QB chucks it 8 rows into the stands behind the bench. Ooooohhhh, he almost had it!
    …………………………………………………………………………………………..
    Tom Brady was called for it on the first Patriots offensive play of the SB XLVI vs the Giants. So maybe it only gets called when the Patriots are involved.

    ———————————————-
    Tom Brady was called for intentional grounding with the Patriots first offensive play. However,
    it was right down the MIDDLE of the field, well over everyones head. No where near the sidelines! No where near the stands!

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