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Worst rule in football wipes out Griffin touchdown


One of these days, it’s going to happen in a game of significance and affect the outcome. Before that ever occurs, the NFL needs to change one of the worst rules in football.

Or the worst, as the headline to this item suggests.

If a player fumbles before crossing the goal line, the offense retains possession if the ball goes out of bounds before the end zone. If the ball goes out of bounds in the end zone, the defense gets possession -- even without actually recovering the ball.

For Washington, that specific twist didn’t matter, because quarterback Robert Griffin III scored what ultimately wasn’t a touchdown on the last play of the half against the Giants. Even if the rule gave the offense possession at the spot of the fumble, Washington would have had no time left to punch it in.

Still, the rule (which was properly applied) needs to change. It’s unfair to the offense, penalizing it for the arbitrary bounce of a ball. Go out of bounds at the one-inch line, the offense keeps it. Go out of bounds on the other side of the goal line, the defense gets it.

The defense didn’t recover the ball. The defense did exactly the same thing the offense did -- failed to secure possession of a fumbled ball. So why should the defense get rewarded and the offense punished?

All too often, the NFL changes a rule after an outcry that is triggered by the current rule being applied in a high-profile spot. It would make sense to fix this one before that happens.