On Thursday night, Washington running back Matt Jones fumbled while approaching the goal line. The ball bounced into the end zone and out of the end zone, unrecovered.
By rule, the Giants got possession at their own 20. Even though they failed to secure possession of the ball before it when out of bounds.
It’s the most unfair rule in the game. If the ball had fallen out of bounds before the end zone, Washington would have retained possession at the spot of the fumble. An extra bounce or two has a dramatic, and arbitrary, impact on the situation, for no good reason.
Whatever the actual reason, the NFL plans to once again discuss the situation in the offseason. NFL V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino has conceded on Twitter that the league will again discuss the rule, acknowledging that a rule giving the team that lost possession the ball at the spot of the fumble “has merit.”
It definitely has merit. Why should the defense get possession if the defense didn’t secure possession before the ball went out of bounds? If possession doesn’t change when a fumble goes out of bounds in the field of play, it should be no different if the ball goes out of bounds in the end zone.