Originally Posted by medford
But while we're on the subject of "rule changes" have they changed the rule about touching a football after the oppossing team touches it in specific regards to the Terrance Newman play on the punt down by the goal line. IIRC, the rule stated that once the oppossing team touches the football, it doesn't matter what the recieving team does, they can't turn it over, ie, the redskins could have batted the ball out to the 5, Newman could have picked up the ball and returned it 20 yards before fumbling, it still would have been the Bengals ball (where exactly I'm not sure). Now perhaps that rule has changed, but its in place to prevent a team from slapping the ball at the opponent who is 5 yards away and created contact and a chance at a turnover. Neither announcer appeared to be aware of this rule, and what Newman did was actually very smart, assuming the rule was in place. Instead of potentiall being down at the 1, he could have got it out to the 5 had he fielded it cleanly. Had the Redskins got hold of the ball after he touched it, it still would have been the Bengals ball at whatever spot the Redskins first touched the ball.
Its my understanding that once a ball is touched by the punting team the receiving team can do no worse than that spot. If a ball is touched at the 5 and then downed at the 1 the receiving team gets the ball at the 5. If the ball is touched at the one then rolls into the endzone the team gets the ball at the 20. I have seen before where team goes to down the ball and someone picks it up and returns it for positive yardage. It irritated me that he announcers did not know the rule when they were hammering Newman. Had Ed Reed attempted to do it they may have realized the rule then went on to talk about how great of a player he is.
IMO its similar to a FG attempt. Once the ball crosses over the line the defensive team gets the ball no worse than the spot of the kick. If the kick is blocked or caught in the endzone I believe the defense can return it as can do no worse than the spot of the kick.