Monday, September 18
Panthers' Seifert confused by call

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina coach George Seifert said Monday he wants the NFL's Competition Committee to review the rule that gave Atlanta a safety in its 15-10 win over the Panthers.

The rule in question came into play with 2:12 left in Sunday's game while Atlanta led 13-10.

Atlanta running back Jamal Anderson was running down the left sideline when Carolina cornerback Doug Evans popped the ball out of his arms at the 16 at the end of a 42-yard run.

As the ball bounced on the turf, Evans grabbed it on the 2 and fell forward into and through the side of the end zone.

One official called it a touchback, but was overruled by another official who cited a little-known rule that momentum can't carry the defender into the end zone unless it's on an interception.

Thus the play was ruled a safety and Atlanta was given a 15-10 lead and got the ball back on the free kick.

Seifert said Monday he was still confused about the rule and wanted it reviewed.

"I am still talking to the league on that one," Seifert said. "From what I understand right now, it's a different rule than it is if you intercept the ball and momentum carries you into the end zone then it is for a fumble recovery.

"That is something that possibly would be looked into with the Competition Committee. I'm not saying that that will happen, but it's something that will be suggested."

On Monday, the NFL issued an explanation, citing Rule 11, Section 4, Article 1 of the NFL's Rule Book.

"If a player brings the ball into the end zone on a fumble recovery, he must bring it out or it is ruled a safety," the explanation said. "On an interception, if a player's momentum carries him into the end zone, the ball is spotted at the point where the interception occurred.

"In this case, however, there was no intercepting momentum. Therefore, Evans' recovery and subsequent return into the end zone was correctly ruled a safety because there is no consideration for momentum on a fumble recovery."

Evans said had no idea there was a rule differing between interceptions and fumble recoveries.

"I was blind to the rule," he said. "I'm thinking it's very much like any turnover that's carried into the end zone and that it's all treated the same. But you learn and you live, I guess."

Seifert said the rule was so obscure he wasn't even sure if he ever knew about it. Now he wants the league to address why there is a difference.

"It's something that will be discussed because these are how things happen," he said. "There's an accident on a street corner and then they decide to put up a stop sign, that's how we operate some times."

Meanwhile, copies of the NFL Digest of Rules were placed in every Panthers' locker while the players were lifting Monday. No one knew who placed them there, but center Frank Garcia said everyone knew why they were there.

"In my opinion it was loud and clear what they were for," he said. "I plan to read over mine, that's our jobs as professionals to know the rules."