Talmudic Tempest: Did Triumphant Tebow Transgress a Taboo?

The Denver Post reports on a "Talmudic" controversy over a play that won a football game for Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos. Was the team lined up for the play in an illegal formation? And if so, should that not have invalidated the touchdown?
Was Tim Tebow's game-winning touchdown pass for Denver Broncos an illegal play?

Were Tim Tebow's final-play heroics for the Broncos against the Steelers divine intervention or inaction by the officials during Sunday's playoff game?

Upon further review, it appears as though the Broncos may have been lined up in an illegal formation.

The NFL rulebook says the following about offensive player positioning at the snap:

Article 1: Offensive Team. The offensive team must be in compliance with the following at the snap:

(a) It must have seven or more players on its line (3-18); and

(b) All players who are not on the line, other than the receiver of the snap under center, must be at least

one yard behind it.

(c) No player may be out of bounds.

In the picture of the Broncos' alignment at the 20-yard line before the snap, it appears that only six players were on the line of scrimmage. The potential seventh, highlighted, was behind the 19 and therefore not on the line of scrimmage. If he was off the line, the Broncos should have been penalized five yards for an illegal formation -- and Tebow's game-winning touchdown pass wouldn't have counted.

Mike Pereira, the NFL's former Vice President of Officiating, was asked on Twitter whether Tebow's winning touchdown pass was an illegal formation.

"Watch on any Sunday. This is a good formation compared to many. They are not technical with this," Pereira responded, after seeing the picture accompanying this article.

What do you think? Are there six or seven players on the line of scrimmage?

1 comment:

MDS 62-2 said...

Read Pereira's reply and your response to Kolbrener. It may not be everyone's cup of tea but within the context of the society, it's a kosher play.