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College Football/Forward pass after forward handoff


Jon Evans wrote at 2013-09-08 18:20:27
I know this is an old post, but the answer given doesn't answer the question, so I figured I'd supply the correct answer.

Technically, there is no such thing as a forward handoff.  The definition for whether the ball is a lateral pass or a forward pass is based on the point the ball leaves the players hand and the direction which it travels in regards to the opponents end zone.  As long as the ball does not travel closer to the opponents end zone than it started, then it is a lateral.  This includes a ball that travels directly parallel to the line of scrimmage, as this ball is exactly the same distance from the opponents end zone, not closer.

Consider a lateral that you throw from in front of your body that travels directly parallel to the line of scrimmage.  The ball started in front of you, but it never travelled forward towards the opponents goal line.  So, you can actually lateral to a player whose body is in front of your body, as long as the BALL does not travel forward.

Now, consider that "forward hand off".  The point the ball leaves the first players hand and the point it first contacts the second player is the exact same point as the release and catch are simultaneous.  Therefore, the ball did not travel at all, and therefore it did not move closer to the opponents goal line, and therefore it is not a pass at all but a lateral.

Hope that helps!

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Thom Brooks


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