2016 rule book clarifies intentional grounding

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Earlier this year, the Panthers proposed a change to the intentional grounding rule that would, as a practical matter, prevent quarterbacks from avoiding both a sack and a penalty by firing the ball at the feet of an eligible receiver. The proposal didn’t pass, but the new rule book nevertheless shows two changes to the intentional grounding rule.

Rule 3, Section 22, Article 4, Item 1 (I already need a nap) has been clarified to explain that the intentional grounding rules do not apply if the defender “contacts the passer or the ball after forward movement begins,” but that grounding rules apply if the defender contacts the passer or the ball before forward movement of the ball begins.

In other words, if a defender hits the quarterback or the ball once the quarterback’s arm is moving forward, grounding rules don’t apply if, for example, the ball doesn’t land in the vicinity of an eligible receiver. (Obviously, intentional grounding never applies if the passer is out of the pocket and throws the ball beyond the line of scrimmage.) If the defender hits the quarterback or the ball before the forward movement begins, the grounding rules apply; thus, if the quarterback tries to throw it after being hit, the ball has to land in the vicinity of a receiver.

As to the intentional grounding rule itself, a minor tweak has been made. The Panthers had proposed that the following sentence be deleted from the rule: “A realistic chance of completion is defined as a pass that lands in the direction and the vicinity of an originally eligible receiver.”

It wasn’t. Instead, the sentence now says this: “A realistic chance of completion is defined as a pass that is thrown in the direction of and lands in the vicinity of an originally eligible receiver.”

The only difference is that the rule now says the ball must both be thrown in the direction of and land in the vicinity of an eligible receiver. This means, in theory, that the quarterback can’t just blindly throw the ball up and hope it lands close to a receiver.

In practice, it may not be easy to tell the difference between situations where a quarterback throws the ball in the direction of the receiver and where the quarterback just gets ride of it and gets lucky. It’ll be a judgment call made in real time by a referee who is stationed behind the quarterback and unable to see in many cases whether the quarterback is trying to throw the ball in the vicinity of an eligible receiver or is simply closing his eyes and hoping for the best.

23 responses to “2016 rule book clarifies intentional grounding

  1. Okay you want to protect the quarterback and simplify the rule book. This does neither.

  2. So when Brady choked and threw the ball into the middle of nowhere against the Giants in the Super Bowl from his own end zone, that would still be grounding? Right. Good talk, thanks.

  3. Officials seem wrong often on whether the QB is beyond the tackle box. They are much too lenient toward the QB in those circumstances.

    Should change the name from Intentional Grounding to Illegal Grounding. You can intentionally ground the ball if you do it within the rules.

  4. “It’ll be a judgment call made in real time”

    so another disaster in the making

  5. The league should really get rid of intentional grounding all together. If the League cares about safety, they should toss the rule. Allow QB’s to give up on a play and avoid being hit.

  6. They should have proposed a rule that if a QB runs away from a fumbled football like it is an angry hornets nest that said QB will be publicly mocked for the following season,

  7. kayakattack says:
    Jul 11, 2016 8:50 AM
    The league should really get rid of intentional grounding all together. If the League cares about safety, they should toss the rule. Allow QB’s to give up on a play and avoid being hit.
    ****************************************************
    Wow, just how soft would you like this sport to get?

    SMH.

  8. The league should really get rid of intentional grounding all together. If the League cares about safety, they should toss the rule. Allow QB’s to give up on a play and avoid being hit.

    So QBs would be coached to make their reads then spike it if no one is open. Yeah that wouldn’t ruin the game of football.

    No offense but you just presented one of the dumber suggestions I’ve ever heard.

  9. kayakattack says:
    Jul 11, 2016 8:50 AM

    The league should really get rid of intentional grounding all together. If the League cares about safety, they should toss the rule. Allow QB’s to give up on a play and avoid being hit.
    ———————————
    The rule already exists. All they have to do is go down or take a knee.

  10. Instead, the sentence now says this: “A realistic chance of completion is defined as a pass that is thrown in the direction of and lands in the vicinity of an originally eligible receiver.”
    ——
    Technically spiking the ball to stop the clock by rule would be intentional grounding.

  11. It seems there is a lot of rule changes that get pushed by teams because they are still butthurt from some specific play the previous year. Sometimes I agree sometimes I don’t. But whatever rule they are harping on applied to their opponents that day just as much to them and things could bounce the other way just as easily. This perception that something was unfair to them is just crybaby stuff and I do wish it would not be allowed to color the rule books as much as it is.

  12. superpatriotsfan says:
    Jul 11, 2016 12:34 PM
    “Now how can I cheat off this rule?”

    -Bill Belichick

    —————————————–

    If it’s doing something the rule allows for its not cheating. It’s just being smarter than the other coaches.

  13. Odd that a QB can ‘spike’ the Football, barring it’s not on 4th Down unless it’s CFB and the team is Colorado, to stop the clock without it being Intentional Grounding.

  14. osiris33 (bandwagon since 1976) says:
    Jul 11, 2016 7:20 AM
    So when Brady choked and threw the ball into the middle of nowhere against the Giants in the Super Bowl from his own end zone, that would still be grounding? Right. Good talk, thanks.

    ————————————

    I don’t recall the play but it sounds more like a commicatios error. But still, that’s how many years ago yet you are still living off of it? Have you watched football since or did you stop that day? Or that play?

  15. I don’t recall the play but it sounds more like a commicatios error. But still, that’s how many years ago yet you are still living off of it? Have you watched football since or did you stop that day? Or that play?

    How do you not know that play? It was the first set of pts scored in that SB

  16. superpatriotsfan says:
    Jul 11, 2016 1:37 PM
    I don’t recall the play but it sounds more like a commicatios error. But still, that’s how many years ago yet you are still living off of it? Have you watched football since or did you stop that day? Or that play?

    How do you not know that play? It was the first set of pts scored in that SB

    ——————————

    You said it was choking so I would not have thought points got scored. But in any event, I still don’t remember it. I’m not even sure which SB you are talking about since that all happened twice. All I recall from either is the Giants playing an amazing game to beat the Patriots who were favored over them. In my mind I congratulated them on the good job and moved on with life.

  17. nhpats says:
    Jul 11, 2016 9:11 AM
    They should have proposed a rule that if a QB runs away from a fumbled football like it is an angry hornets nest that said QB will be publicly mocked for the following season,
    _____
    You really need new material. Cam fumbled. He didn’t dive on it. The Panthers lost. They still would have lost if he recovered the fumble. Everybody knows this. Time to move forward.

    You’re starting to sound like you have the brains of an aardvark.

  18. nhpats says:
    Jul 11, 2016 9:11 AM
    They should have proposed a rule that if a QB runs away from a fumbled football like it is an angry hornets nest that said QB will be publicly mocked for the following season,

    Yet again, NHPats turns every story that mentions the Panthers in any way into a “QB running away from the ball” comment. Seriously man….get some new material. Damn dude, you are like an 80 year old man at a retirement home telling the same lame ass jokes he has been telling for 10 years.

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