While action anywhere on the field is important, action around the goal line or in the end zone can have an even greater effect on the final score. Here are some plays involving momentum, impetus and fouls around the goal line and the end zone to test your rules knowledge.
Play One: On a kickoff, the receiver attempts to field the football as it rolls on the ground at the 5-yard line. He accidentally kicks the rolling ball, knocking it into the end zone where a teammate falls on it. What is the result of this play?
Answer: Since the football is still rolling when accidentally kicked by the receiver, the initial impetus on the football comes from the kickoff. Therefore, when the ball is downed in the end zone, it is a touchback. First-and-10 on the 25-yard line.
Play Two: On second-and-6 from the opponent’s 20-yard line, the quarterback’s forward pass is intercepted at the 4-yard line. The defender’s momentum carries him into the end zone where he takes a knee. What is the result of this play?
Answer: When a pass or fumble is intercepted, a kick is caught or recovered or a fumble or backward pass is recovered on or inside the 5-yard line and the player’s momentum takes him into the end zone where the play ends, the football is placed at the spot of the catch or recovery. First-and-10 at the 4-yard line.
Play Three: On fourth down from its own 5-yard line, the offense lines up to punt. As the punter catches the snap and begins his kick, the upback in the end zone blocks a rusher below the waist. The punt rolls out of bounds at the 35-yard line. What is the result of this play?
Answer: It is illegal to block below the waist during plays where there is a scrimmage kick. While fouls behind the line of scrimmage by the offense are normally enforced from the line of scrimmage, when the foul occurs in the end zone, the result is a safety.
Play Four: On first-and-10 from the opponent’s 15-yard line, the quarterback throws an interception in the end zone. The defender attempts to run the football out of the end zone, but is hit and fumbles in the end zone. The ball rolls into the field of play and out of bounds at the 3-yard line. What is the result of this play?
Answer: A forward fumble that goes out of bounds from the field of play is returned to the spot of the fumble. Since the pass put the football in the end zone where it was intercepted, the result is a touchback. First-and-10 for the defensive team at the 20-yard line.