NFL Football: Airborne Receiver Pushed Out Of Bounds–Complete Or Incomplete Pass?Posted: February 1, 2015
Question: What is the proper call if an airborne player catches a pass and is pushed out of bounds by another player without both feet touching inbounds?
Answer: If a player simply pushes an airborne player out of bounds, the pass is incomplete. However, if a player holds up and carries an airborne player out of bounds, the pass is complete.
Generally, a player must touch both feet inbounds to complete a pass. See Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3(b) (Page 2/12). A player can push an airborne player out of bounds, and the pass is incomplete.
However, Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, Item 6 (Page 2/12) states:
If a player, who is in possession of the ball, is held up and carried out of bounds by an opponent before both feet or any part of his body other than his hands touches the ground inbounds, it is a completed or intercepted pass.
A.R. 8.22INCOMPLETE PASS—NO FORCE OUTSecond-and-10 on B45. A1 throws a pass to A2 near the sideline. A2 goes high to catch the pass, secures possession while in the air, but is then pushed by B1 causing one of A2’s feet to come down on the sideline. B1 does not play the ball but instead pushes A2 with both hands on his waist. Had he not been pushed, A2 would have come down inbounds with both feet at the B30.Ruling:Third-and-10 on B45. Incomplete pass.A.R. 8.23COMPLETE PASS—CARRY OUTSecond-and-10 on B45. A1 throws a pass to A2 near the sideline. A2 goes high to catch the pass, secures possession while in the air, and would have come down with both feet inbounds at the B30; however, B1 wraps him up while he is still in the air and carries A2 toward the sideline where he finally comes down out of bounds a) at the B28, or b) at the B32.Rulings:a) First-and-10 on B28.b) First-and-10 on B30. Carry out and forward progress.