Post by oaklandraider on Jan 13, 2010 15:57:42 GMT
Ordinarily, if the quarterback drops or loses the football while he is bringing the ball forward in a passing motion, and the ball touches the ground, it is considered an incomplete pass. If the quarterback drops or loses the football at any other time, it is considered a fumble, as if any other player had dropped it.
The tuck rule is an exception to this rule. It applies if the quarterback brings his arm forward in a passing motion, but then changes his mind and tries to keep hold of the football rather than making a pass. In this situation, if the quarterback loses the ball while stopping his passing motion or bringing the ball back to his body, it is still considered a forward pass (and thus an incomplete pass if the ball hits the ground). Mike Pereira, the NFL's director of officiating, notes that the design of the rule obviates the need to consider the quarterback's intent., though this seems to be incorrect, since the rule states that "When a Team A player is holding the ball to pass it forward, any intentional forward movement of his hand starts a forward pass", thus meaning that the referee must judge whether the forward movement of the arm was intentional on the part of the player or not. However, the rule does mean the referee need not judge whether the player was intending to check his throw.