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Why was Mahomes pylon dive in week-18 ruled a TD?

In the Chiefs week-18 vs the Seahawks, Pat Mahomes dove towards the front corner of the endzone and reached the ball out towards the pylon. The ball did touch the pylon and it was ruled a touchdown.

But that got me thinking about why it's ruled a TD.

Here is a picture of a pylon on a football field.

You can clearly see that the pylon is located outside the field of play. It's actually out of bounds. The area of an endzone is 4,800 feet. The pylons are outside of that area.

If Mahomes wasn't able to touch the pylon with the ball he would have been ruled out of bounds shy of the goal line.

The rule is that if you're able to touch the ball to the pylon it's a clear touchdown. But, since Mahomes touched the ball to the outside of the pylon the ball never actually crossed the goal line.

The pylon is 4"x4", so the ball was at least a couple inches from being in bounds when it grazed the pylon. You can clearly see the ball didn't get much of the pylon and grazed the outside of it.

The old belief is that the goal line extends "around world", so no matter where the ball crosses that distance doesn't matter. But that's not true.

If he missed the pylon with the ball it would not have been a touchdown, even though the ball traveled passed the distance of the end line out of bounds.

So if the pylon sits outside the playing surface and that ball grazed the outside of the pylon, why is it considered a touchdown?

From the NFL rule book -

"ARTICLE 3. END ZONE. The End Zone is the rectangle formed by the Goal Line, the End Line, and the Sidelines. The Goal Line and the pylons are in the End Zone."

But the pylons aren't in the endzone. They are outside the area of the endzone.


ARTICLE 1. TOUCHDOWN PLAYS. A touchdown is scored when:

(a) the ball is on, above, or behind the plane of the opponents’ goal line (extended) and is in possession of a runner who has advanced from the field of play into the end zone

(b) a ball in possession of an airborne runner is on, above, or behind the plane of the goal line, and some part of the ball passed over or inside the pylon"

Ok, so Mahomes didn't get part of the ball to pass over or inside the pylon, so no touchdown.

But then there's this from part "C".....

It's a touchdown if:

"(c) a ball in player possession touches the pylon, provided that, after contact by an opponent, no part of the player’s body, except

his hands or feet, struck the ground before the ball touched the pylon."

So which is it? Part-A says that the ball needs to pass over or inside the pylon for a touchdown. Then, the very next part, part-C, states that the ball just has to touch the pylon.

I don't know if I'll ever get a clear clarification of why that was ruled a touchdown, but I'm going to keep looking. Maybe someone else has something I'm missing.

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