The Play: Science at Work

ncbears
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Seattle's Russell Wilson has a lateral that "some" say was forward - much like the claims that Ford's lateral to Moen was forward. Science to the rescue:
deGrasse Tyson and Galilean Transformation
Cal8285
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The problem is that Tyson ignores the definition of forward pass. He is correct that, using Wilson and Davis as a frame of reference, the pass was not forward.

If Tyson had been asked whether, using the point at which the ball left Wilson's hand and the goal line as a frame of reference, the pass was forward, he surely would have said "yes." Sure, we can use science to say the pass was forward or backwards, in fact, or to say that the pass didn't actually move at all. What time does the station get to the train?

To ask the question of whether the pass was a forward pass UNDER THE RULES, we need to look at the rules, and what the RULES use as a frame of reference.

Under the NFL rules, it is a forward pass if the ball initially moves forward to a point nearer the opponent's goal line after leaving the passer's hand(s) or the ball first strikes the ground, a player, an official, or anything else at a point that is nearer the opponent's goal line than the point at which the ball leaves the passer's hand(s). Under this rule, there is indisputable video evidence that the pass was forward.

Yes, scientifically, we can say that the Wilson pass to Davis was forward, backwards, or did not move. If Wilson was not in a football game, but just standing still in a park facing north and threw a ball over his head to Davis standing 23 yards to the to south of Davis, most of us would say he threw the ball backwards. However, if Wilson does that while standing at his own 47 facing his own goal line and Davis is standing at the Eagles 30, we would understand easily that it is a forward pass. The actual pass to Davis was also forward under the rules.

I believe similarly, Ford's pass was forward. The problem is that in real time, a referee is usually going to be fooled if the pass is NOT forward relative to the passer and receiver involved in the pass. If Ford throw a ball back over his shoulder while facing the opponent's goal line, the refs won't call a forward pass, even if the ball hit Moen at a point nearer the goal line than the point at which the ball left Ford's hands (due to the speed of Ford and Moen relative to the ground/goal line). With knowledge of the rules, instant replay would have ruled the Wilson-Davis pass to be forward, and probably would have done the same with the Ford-Moen pass. Since the Eagles did not call for a review, and since replay review didn't exist in 1982, it doesn't really matter, the naked eye judgment is what matters.

"Officer, I wasn't speeding. Just ask Neil deGrasse Tyson, relative to the other cars on the freeway, I was only going 45 mph, and the speed limit is 70. Tyson will support me." "Yeah, but I asked Tyson how fast you were going relative to the center of the Milky Way, and based on how fast he says you were going, your license will be taken away for the next billion years."
LunchTime
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I dont care for DeGrasse Tyson.

DeGrasse Tyson has gone from great for interest in science to bad for interest in Science, IMHO.

Just this tweet: made me realize he is more interested in being "the smartest guy in the room" than being an advocate for understanding our world. He had some odd tweets before and he continues his routine now. But that tweet really irritated me. When most of the world population is unable to travel to see a total eclipse, where it happens becomes what determines individual's scale of rarity. When most happen over regions with little or no population, Total Eclipses over a region a specific individual can access is extremely rare, and something to be excited about. Instead, this pedant goes out of his way to make people feel bad for being excited about an outrageously uncommon event (something most humans will never witness) and takes away an opportunity to become excited about HIS OWN FIELD! All so he can stroke his ego.


This is another example of his method of "feel bad for yourself dumbass; I am smart": the rule isnt relative to the player, it is relative to the field. His tweet explains why a ref wouldn't notice, not that it was the correct call. Once again, in a bid to be "the smartest guy in the room" he ignores everything to make some irrelevant observation.

In a very short time he went from being awesome for growing people's interest in science to being a complete turn off, IMO.

Sorry about the rant, but it is sad to see a guy that used to open so many eyes turn into a person who turns people away.
Cal88
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I agree about Tyson's shortcomings, but he's absolutely right in this case: the rules were written by people with a limited understanding of physics. The Play or this Wilson lateral are absolutely legal rugby laterals, and it's not even close. In both cases, the ball has clearly been pitched backwards. The referees should rely on their eyeballs, as opposed to a replay that references the ground.
sycasey
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LunchTime said:

I dont care for DeGrasse Tyson.

DeGrasse Tyson has gone from great for interest in science to bad for interest in Science, IMHO.

Just this tweet: made me realize he is more interested in being "the smartest guy in the room" than being an advocate for understanding our world. He had some odd tweets before and he continues his routine now. But that tweet really irritated me. When most of the world population is unable to travel to see a total eclipse, where it happens becomes what determines individual's scale of rarity. When most happen over regions with little or no population, Total Eclipses over a region a specific individual can access is extremely rare, and something to be excited about. Instead, this pedant goes out of his way to make people feel bad for being excited about an outrageously uncommon event (something most humans will never witness) and takes away an opportunity to become excited about HIS OWN FIELD! All so he can stroke his ego.


This is another example of his method of "feel bad for yourself dumbass; I am smart": the rule isnt relative to the player, it is relative to the field. His tweet explains why a ref wouldn't notice, not that it was the correct call. Once again, in a bid to be "the smartest guy in the room" he ignores everything to make some irrelevant observation.

In a very short time he went from being awesome for growing people's interest in science to being a complete turn off, IMO.

Sorry about the rant, but it is sad to see a guy that used to open so many eyes turn into a person who turns people away.


He's still good if you just don't follow his Twitter.
Jeff82
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Having run the replay back-and-forth a few times, I'd say it's close. It looks like Wilson releases the ball at his own 48, and the ball is caught also at about the 48. But it depends on the actual point at which the ball leaves his hands and hits the receiver's hands, the latter of which can't really be seen accurately in this view. You'd have to look at it frame-by-frame, from both this view and one from the opposite side of the stadium, to absolutely know for sure.
Cave Bear
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Jeff82 said:

Having run the replay back-and-forth a few times, I'd say it's close. It looks like Wilson releases the ball at his own 48, and the ball is caught also at about the 48. But it depends on the actual point at which the ball leaves his hands and hits the receiver's hands, the latter of which can't really be seen accurately in this view. You'd have to look at it frame-by-frame, from both this view and one from the opposite side of the stadium, to absolutely know for sure.
I don't think it's that close. I think Wilson releases the ball at the 47 and Davis catches it just in front of the 48.
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