Special Teams Ruling

From a subscriber in 2003:

Hope you can settle a dispute by a couple of our owners. When we started our league we said we would count special teams touchdowns in our scoring system. (We never really defined fake field goals as special teams.) We combine defensive and special teams together as I'm sure many other leagues do. Any way our dispute is over what happened in Week #16 (our Super Bowl) between San Francisco and New England. The fumbled snap on the field goal attempt by the 49'ers, which resulted in a passing touchdown on the broken play is the reason for a dispute by one of our owners. His dispute is since the 49'ers special teams were on the field for the field goal attempt and then resulted in a touchdown that the score should be credited to the special teams. In defense of that argument since the play resulted in a passing touchdown it is in fact the way it should be scored as passing touchdown not a special teams touchdown. How should this play be scored?

Please help because it decides the out come of our Super Bowl.

Expert 1:

This is not a special teams play. The play resulted in a pass for a TD, just like any other pass for a TD. That is an offensive play. This guy wants fake FG's, fake punts, etc. To be special team plays when they are not. Reverse the role... what about a 3rd down quick kick? Is that an offensive play just because they lined up in a normal set? Don't think so. What about PLANNED faked FG's and punts? Special team play? NOT. What happened was a normal part of FB. A special teams play turned into
and offensive play. If Detmer would have thrown an INT and it was run back for a TD that would have been a defensive play for the other team.

Expert 2:

I agree that it should be ruled as a passing touchdown and not credited to the special teams. Even though the Kicking Team (usually considered special teams) was on the field at the time, they were still playing offensively in trying to score when they had control of the football. Also, look at how the play was represented by NFL.COM: NINERS 2 0:00 I. Smith 25 yd. pass from T. Detmer (W. Richey, kick) (6-80,0:50) 21 14. I am sure that Stats Inc has the play scored very similarly. Many leagues (including mine) use software to do the scoring. The software would simply score that play as a TD pass from Detmer and a TD catch by Irv Smith.

Expert 3:

I say it's a special teams score since that's the team that was on the field and if it's a fake or a muffed play… it's still the special teams making it.

Expert 4:

Special Teams. Also, if someone had the receiver or Detmer (who threw the pass) they should get credit. I disagree with expert 1. As a coach, whenever the special teams are on the field, the score is a special teams score. If you want to get literal ALL scoring plays are offensive plays including interception and fumble returns since once a team gains possession they are the offensive team. Is a two-point conversion a special teams play when it is clearly a pass or run. Most leagues say yes even though the starting offense normally stays on the field. I also think fake FGs, and Punts are special teams plays. When I coached, they were in the special teams part of the playbook and were practiced when we went over
special teams, not offense.

This is not a special teams play. The play resulted in a pass for a TD just like any other pass for a TD. That is an offensive play. This guy wants fake FG's, fake punts, etc. to be special team plays when they are not. Reverse the role...what about a 3rd down quick kick? Is that an offensive play just because they lined up in a normal set? Don't think so. What about PLANNED faked FG's and punts? Special teams play? NOT. What happened was a normal part of FB. A special teams play turned into and offensive play. If Detmer would have thrown an INT and it was run back for a TD that would have been a defensive play for the other team.

 

 

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