AR 7-2-2 / Complete Pass
I. Two opposing players gain control of a pass while both are off the ground, and both players
return simultaneously to the ground in bounds.
RULING: Simultaneous catch, the ball is awarded to the passing team (R 2-10-3).
NOTE: If opposing players do not return to the ground simultaneously, the player first touching the ground in bounds with possession is awarded the completion.
II. An airborne player receives a pass, grasps the ball firmly and while returning to the ground in
bounds, the nose of the football touches the ground. The player retains firm control of the ball
and the ball does not come loose.
RULING: Completed pass.
NOTE: If the player loses control of the ball it is an incomplete pass. An airborne receiver must
maintain control of the ball throughout the process of going to the ground.
III. An airborne player receives a pass, grasps the ball firmly and the player’s body, but not the
ball, touches the ground in bounds. Immediately upon hitting the ground, the ball comes loose
and in a second effort the receiver still being in bounds regains control of the ball, prior to it
touching the ground.
RULING: Completed pass.
IV. A receiver reaches for the ball but is not able to catch it with their hands. Before the ball hits
the ground, the receiver clamps the ball between their knees and then goes to the ground
without losing the ball.
RULING: Completed pass. The rule does not specify how the ball must be controlled for a catch.
V. A receiver catches a pass in the air and before returning to the ground is contacted by an
opponent which causes the ball to come loose and the ball subsequently hit the ground.
RULING: Incomplete pass and penalty for illegal contact. The pass was not completed (R 2-10-3)
and the foul occurred while the ball was in the air. But the contact occurred after the ball had
been touched so it is not pass interference.
VI. A receiver on the right side of the field gets contacted by a defender before the ball has been
thrown by the quarterback. The pass falls incomplete on the left side of the field.
RULING: Illegal contact by the defense. It is a foul to contact an opponent whether the ball is
thrown towards that player or not.
VII. A receiver controls the ball in the air and, while still airborne, throws the ball backwards to
another receiver. The second receiver advances the ball for further yardage.
RULING: Legal play. The pass was first controlled but not completed and the status of the ball
remain as the initial pass (R 2-9-2). The pass is completed with the second catch and the
contact with the ground (R 2-10-3).
NOTE: It would be the same ruling if the pass is just touched or batted and the ball went either
forward or backward. If the receiver was contacting the ground when the pass was controlled,
it would be a completed catch and a foul for an illegal backward pass.