Did you know that if the quarterback throws a pass that goes nowhere near the receiver, the quarterback or receiver can be penalized. The penalty will consist of 10 yards of additional yardage on the field, and the receiving team will receive a penalty of 5 yards for illegal formation.
What is Intentional Grounding in Football?
It is intentional grounding when a quarterback throws a pass that the quarterback knows is going to be a forward pass that goes out of bounds, past the line of scrimmage line or goes out of bounds and lands in the field of play. Since it is usually done to intentionally prevent a defensive penalty, it is usually not called. However, it can be used to intentionally get a penalty so the offense should still get the ball at the opponent’s 31.
Why would a Passer Attempt Intentional Grounding?
It’s easier for a quarterback to get the ball out of the air quicker
It’s harder for the defense to see the wide receiver.
In the example above, if the receiver is 10 yards deep and the ball travels 9 yards, you have a 50% chance of a near-field pass interference flag being thrown.
The offense should never throw the ball into the ground and then try to catch it as a Hail Mary pass.
The most critical part of intentional grounding that makes it a penalty is the quarterback isn’t under pressure; the ball is either batted up in the air, or a receiver or offensive player makes a catch that would never have happened had the ball been thrown in the air, meaning that there was some form of interference, whether intentional in the first case or accidental in the second.
When is Intentional Grounding Not Called in a Game?
The thrower becomes a runner at the snap. The quarterback must
release the ball as soon as he begins to run.
The thrower’s back is turned to the line of scrimmage, and the
ball comes from the thrower’s back.
The ball goes out of bounds before the thrower is inbounded in the act of throwing the ball.
If the quarterback is flushed from the pocket, the quarterback can still attempt to make a pass. After leaving the pocket, the quarterback will often make a less-accurate throw that may end up out of bounds or far from any eligible receivers. In this case, the incomplete pass will be exempt from the intentional grounding rule.
This rule is not consistently enforced in the NFL. Some teams will not pursue intentional grounding penalties if the quarterback is flushed from the pocket. Other teams will aggressively pursue intentional grounding if the quarterback is flushed from the pocket, regardless of whether the quarterback throws a pass or not. If the intentional grounding is successful, the defense will usually have to attempt to make a tackle in the open field and risk getting blindsided. This can result in a fumble on such an occasion.
Defensive pass interference
Passing the ball to a wide receiver when a defender is in the path of a pass. If the receiver is in the defender’s zone, the defender’s pass will be incomplete.
If a defensive player hits the passer in a way that causes a wild or incomplete pass, that passer would no longer be subject to a flagrant/roughing the passer foul.
What is the Penalty for Intentional Grounding?
If the play was intentional grounding, the offensive team will have a loss of down. If the pass is thrown without a realistic chance of completion, the offensive team will have a loss of yardage.
Intentional grounding penalties are not always 10-yard penalties. An intentional grounding penalty occurs when the defensive team elects to defend a pass play by bringing down the ball carrier. If the ball landed somewhere that there was a natural loss of yardage–such as an overthrown pass or a fumbled snap–then the play would continue during the next down at the spot of the foul. If there was no loss of yardage during the play, the intentional grounding penalty would cause a 10-yard loss.
This is different than the penalty for intentional grounding. For example, in the NFL they may just call a timeout and they don’t keep the chains moving but keep the clock running.
So after that, we have to remember to stay off the field.
If the offense crosses the plane and enters the end zone, the defense gains 2 points and the offense must put the ball in play with a kick or punt from the 20-yard line. The kicker can either punt or place-kick the ball into play, and either team can recover it to start the next offensive drive.
Conclusion about Intentional Grounding in Football
The quarterback, with his arm down, is under no obligation to throw the ball away. In fact, the quarterback is encouraged to throw the ball away to avoid a loss of yardage, in most cases. In the event that a quarterback does throw the ball away from an eligible receiver, the ball may be intentionally grounded in an attempt to gain yardage.
If the quarterback throws downfield without looking downfield, the quarterback has committed an intentional grounding penalty. This penalty is not only not a penalty in the eyes of the NFL, it is not an intentional grounding penalty in the eyes of the NCAA.