Here is a fantastic post from another Colt's site:
In-Depth, Rule Book analysis of 'the juggle'
First, I need to define some terms. Rule 3, section 2, article 7 of the 2009 NFL rule book is my source for this. I have no online source because it isn't publicly linkable. There are forums out there where you can obtain it but linking to other forums is prohibited.
Rule 3: Definitions
Section 2: Ball in play, dead ball
Article 7: Player Possession
Copied and pasted from the 2009 NFL rule book:
|Originally Posted by Roger Goodell Article 7 A player is in possession when he is in firm grip and control of the ball inbounds (See 3-2-3).
To gain possession of a loose ball (3-2-3) that has been caught, intercepted, or recovered, a player must have complete control of the ball and have both feet completely on the ground inbounds or any other part of his body, other than his hands, on the ground inbounds. If the player loses the ball while simultaneously touching both feet or any other part of his body to the ground or if there is any doubt that the acts were simultaneous, there is no possession. This rule applies in the field of play and in the end zone.
The terms catch, intercept, recover, advance, and fumble denote player possession (as distinguished from touching or muffing).
Note 1: A player who goes to the ground in the process of attempting to secure possession of a loose ball (with or without contact by a defender) must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, there is no possession. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, it is a catch,interception, or recovery.
Note 2: If a player goes to the ground out-of-bounds (with or without contact by an opponent) in the process of attempting to secure possession of a loose ball at the sideline, he must retain complete and continuous control of the ball throughout the act of falling to the ground and after hitting the ground, or there is no possession.
Note 3: If a player has control of the ball, a slight movement of the ball will not be considered loss of possession. He must lose control of the ball in order to rule that there has been a loss of possession.
A catch is made when a player inbounds secures possession of a pass, kick, or fumble in flight (See 8-1-3).
Note 1: It is a catch if in the process of attempting to catch the ball, a player secures control of the ball prior to the ball touching the ground and that control is maintained after the ball has touched the ground.
Note 2: In the field of play, if a catch of a forward pass has been completed, and there is contact by a defender causing the ball to come loose before the runner is down by contact, it is a fumble, and the ball remains alive. In the end zone, the same action is a touchdown, since the receiver completed the catch beyond the goal line prior to the loss of possession, and the ball is dead when the catch is completed.
I have bolded the sections that I will be using in my explanation.
For those that might be wondering, 3-2-3 explains a 'loose ball'. It basically says that a loose ball is no longer a loose ball when someone secures possession.
Here is the explanation:
1: 'If a player loses the ball while simultaneously touching both feet or any other part of his body to the ground or if there was any doubt that the acts were simultaneous, there is no possession.' Faulk catches the ball, but both hands come off of the ball. Therefore, by rule, he does not have possession of the ball.
Here is where it gets tricky: does he have possession when he gets that left foot down, or when he hits the ground? I think the rule book is fairly clear on this point, though you do have to interpret slightly:
2: 'A player who goes to the ground in the process of attempting to secure possession of a loose ball (with or without contact by a defender) must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone.'
No forward progress can be awarded to a player who has not established possession (not directly stated in the rule book, but this not a huge logical leap). As the hit by Bullitt caused him to bobble the ball and at least one foot is off the ground (both hands are completely off the ball for a short time), it is very reasonable to assume he is 'going to the ground', in which case he is not in possession of the ball until he completes the catch by controlling the ball through hitting the ground. There is no 'forward progress' argument because once he bobbled the ball with Bullitt wrapped around him, there is absolutely no way for him to demonstrate official possession of the ball until he hits the ground.
Spread the word....don't let anyone continue to use this as an excuse. The call was correct, under the rules.
Summary: 1) the bobble meant no possession 2) since he was in the act of going to the ground as the bobble occurred, possession could not be established until he hit the ground. __________________