For Pete's Sake

What the NFL rulebook says about Ben Roethlisberger’s TD pass at line of scrimmage

Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner celebrated scoring a two point conversion with 18 seconds left in the first half past the defense of Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Anthony Hitchens during the game Sunday, September 16, 2018, at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pa. The game was tied up at halftime after the Chiefs took an early lead.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner celebrated scoring a two point conversion with 18 seconds left in the first half past the defense of Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Anthony Hitchens during the game Sunday, September 16, 2018, at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pa. The game was tied up at halftime after the Chiefs took an early lead. jsleezer@kcstar.com

Chiefs fans weren’t thrilled with the officiating during the first half of Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at Heinz Field.

There was the holding call that wiped away a Chiefs defensive touchdown, as well as a variety of other penalties that upset fans. The Chiefs were penalized eight times in the first 30 minutes.

The cherry on top was a penalty Chiefs fans wanted called but wasn’t: Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s 14-yard touchdown pass to James Washington. Big Ben flirted with crossing the line of scrimmage on the touchdown, which helped Pittsburgh tie the game at 21-21.

Here is a look at where Roethlisberger was when he passed the ball:

Should the TD have counted?

This is what the NFL rule book says (it’s Rule 8, Article 2, Item 1): “Any other forward pass by either team is illegal and is a foul by the passing team, including: (a) A forward pass thrown when the passer is beyond the line of scrimmage.

“Note: It is a forward pass from beyond the line of scrimmage if the passer’s entire body and the ball are beyond the line of scrimmage when the ball is released, whether the passer is airborne or touching the ground. The penalty for a forward pass thrown from beyond the line is enforced from the spot where the ball is released.”

As you can see in the photo above, Roethlisberger’s foot was behind the line so that made it a legal pass.

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