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Tamme touchdown brings convoluted rule back into focus

September 10, 2012
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



The short touchdown pass from Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning to Broncos tight end Jacob Tamme that gave Denver the lead over the Steelers in the fourth quarter raised few eyebrows in real time.

But it should have.

The Tamme touchdown calls into question the rule that has been known by various names over the past few years.  From Louis Murphy in 2009 to Calvin Johnson in 2010, NFL officials both locked-out and otherwise have struggled with the question of whether a catch is a catch when the player is going to the ground and loses possession of the ball upon impact.

The rule comes from the effort to rectify the Bert Emanuel play from the 1999 NFC title game, when the catch was made, a portion of the ball struck the ground, but Emanuel never lost possession of it.  Now, the ball may hit the ground as long as it doesn’t move — and as long as whenever a player going to the ground while catching the ball maintains possession through the act of going to the ground.

That’s what apparently happened with Tamme on Sunday night.  He caught the ball near the end zone, and while crossing the plane also was falling and when he landed the ball squirted out.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/09/10/tamme-touchdown-brings-convoluted-rule-back-into-focus/


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