Rule Explanation from the Giants – Eagles Game

In Sunday night’s game between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, the Giants faced a 3rd-and-10 from just outside the Eagles’ 20 with 6:25 remaining in the third quarter. The Giants were penalized on the play for an illegal forward pass. New York challenged the ruling.

Rule 8, Section 1, Article 1, Note 3 of the NFL Rule Book (page 49) states that “the penalty for a forward pass beyond the line is to be enforced from the spot where the ball is released when the passer’s entire body and the ball are beyond the line of scrimmage. This includes either when the passer is airborne or touching the ground.”

The instant replay review determined that Giants quarterback Eli Manning was not entirely beyond the line of scrimmage when he released the pass. Thus, the on-field ruling of an illegal forward pass was reversed by referee Terry McAulay. The result of the pass completion gave New York a first-and-goal at the Philadelphia three.

Please note that the red line used on the telecast to indicate the line of scrimmage – just outside the Eagles’ 20 – is not official. In reviewing the play, Terry McAulay relied on the position of the line-of-scrimmage marker held by the chain crew, which officially is located on the head linesman’s side of the field.