Serbia: The Most Talked About Play - Incomplete Pass or Fumble? [Video]

Playoff in Serbia had its fun moments. Especially in Novi Sad where GAT Dukes hosted the Wild Boars Kragujevac.

One play in particular. Especially when after this play a team scores a TD. We wanted to see if the refs made a good call or not, so we reached out to well-established coaches and imports for their input.

Check out the clip, go to 41 mins. You can also leave your comments either by registering OR switching the comments tab to Facebook Comments Tab below the article.


Dukes OC, Predrag Nikolic

QB threw the ball backwards. It has to be a fumble! His arm was going forward, but the ball is going backwards. Lateral pass and then fumble. Ball didn't drop while his arm was going forward, in that case it would have been an incomplete pass. It dropped just couple moments after he changed his mind to throw and that's when the arm started going back along with the football.

We asked the refs on the situation, and they were kind enough to explain that they also sent the film to other refs outside the country to get a second opinion.

Bill Lemonnier, referee - NCAA

Excellent call by the referee for incomplete pass. When a QB pump fakes or tries to stop his throwing motion and the ball comes out, rule a forward pass. Again, excellent call.

Now, we have clash of the opinions. So, we asked American coaches and imports to watch the play.

Charles McCrea/Tunde Ogun, DB/RB, TDEU Hall of Fame

After watching the play, you can clearly see that the QB hand was moving forward to throw the pass. He was getting ready to throw it, BUT, the rule is if his arm is moving forward - it's intentional grounding. 15 yd penalty, dead ball.

Daniel Levy, Coach

If you watch the play with Brady, he clearly did not intend to throw the ball. He pump faked and was bringing the ball back into his body when a defender stripped it from his grip. The biggest difference here is that the QB clearly steps into the throw, which Brady did not do. To me that is enough evidence that he was in a throwing motion and intended to pass the ball. So if I'm being objective, I would call it an incomplete pass. But in the interest of full disclosure, my argument would definitely depend on which team I was coaching.

Sean Embree, Coach, TDEU Hall of Fame

The rule is - it's the tuck rule, it was cancelled in the NFL, but it's still in the college football. If I'm the QB throwing the ball, I break the pocket. I try to throw like he did, and stop my motion, but I don't stop the motion with my non-throwing hand, then it's an Incomplete Pass and that's exactly what happened. His arm went forward and he stops. If he would have made the motion with his left hand and the ball stopped - then it's a fumble.

Robert Johnson, QB, TDEU Hall of Fame

To be honest it could go both ways. Depending on which ref it was. To some it's incomplete, to some it's a fumble. That's a tough call, it's a in between.

Orlando Webb, WR, TDEU Hall of Fame

It was definitely a backwards pass, which is a fumble. Bad call by all 3 refs that had a good view of the play. But that 1 play didn't cost Dukes the game. Some bad throws, blown coverages, and missed assignments all totaled up in the end. That's a common thing with refs in Europe. They are more spectators than officials. And I don't think they understand the game as well as they do soccer.

We got the short end of the stick as well last week. Refs blew the time check and didn't inform no team that the game clock was wrong and to correct it. Time ran out on the 20 yards line. With 8 secs on clock, down by 1 point.

Clayton Banner, Coach

I feel the ball went forward and that it was an incomplete pass... QB started in the shotgun, was in a throwing motion not attempting a play fake or was hit and the ball popped out. He loaded the ball at the top of his shoulders and his arm came full motion.Not a fumble, incomplete pass, move to the next down.

What happen was as he threw his thumb and pointer finger stopped the rotation of the ball and forced it to mess up. Like a wild pitch in baseball or throw in cricket sometimes the ball just gets away!

Tony Simmons, Coach, TDEU Hall of Fame

Incomplete pass. It was thrown and the pass went backwards, so the question is his arm going forward... Frames 41:17-41:20 incomplete pass.

James Williams, Coach

My opinion is that it is an incomplete pass, this play is similar to spiking the ball to stop the clock. It was not an intentional spike but the motion is the same since his arm is going forward. If the ball slipped out of his hand before he made the forward motion it would be a fumble.

Definitely a tough call that can be argued either way but I think incomplete pass is the right call here in my opinion.

Phillip Dillion, Coach

I watched the video and in my opinion it was as called by the referees an incomplete pass. The QB did throw the ball on the ground during a passing motion. From the video footage I could not see that he lost the ball before throwing the pass.

Of course I understand the opposing coach was looking for a fumble and recovery call but the video does clearly show the QB performing a passing motion in the direction of an eligible WR.

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