During Sunday’s NFL playoff matchup, a Cleveland Browns fumble that resulted in a touchback had fans fuming once again at the ridiculous rule.
In the last few minutes of the first half, Cleveland trailed 3-16 against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Browns marched 75 yards down the field and seemed to show some life as they looked to get back in the game. Browns WR Rashard Higgins caught a pass from quarterback Baker Mayfield and came within inches of the end zone. However, Higgins fumbled just before crossing the goal line. To make matters even worse, the football bounced into the end zone and out of bounds for a touchback.
Current NFL rules state that the defense takes over the ball in that situation since it’s deemed a touchback. Therefore, the Chiefs took over the ball on the 20-yard line. A promising drive was completely negated by what many NFL analysts and fans consider to be the worst rule in the league.
Many think the ball should be placed at the spot of the fumble, returning the football to the offense. When players fumble out of bounds anywhere else on the sidelines of a 100-yard football field, that’s the case. Yet, this particular rule awards the defense with a touchback to the frustrations of many.
NFL Fans Go Crazy Over the End Zone Fumble Touchback Ruling
As one can expect, social media users went off on the hated rule following the Browns fumble. Most can’t stand the ruling and want it changed.
“Worst rule in the game because of how inconsistent it is compared to fumbling out of bounds anywhere else. Player fumbles out at 1 YD Line? Retain possession there. Ball rolls into the end zone out of bounds? Turnover and touchback. Makes zero sense,” one fan wrote on Twitter.
“There’s no change of possession. If you fumble it out of bounds, you get to keep it. Why is the endzone different? At least give the offense the ball on the 2 or 3 yd line,” another fan tweeted.
“I asked this same question earlier & someone said the ball should go back to the original spot but count the down. I don’t think that’s a bad suggestion,” a third fan wrote.
However, some social media users think the NFL has it right with the touchback rule.
“That end zone belongs to the defense. If you lose something in their end zone, it belongs to them. I like it,” a Twitter user wrote.
Other fans think the touchback rule shouldn’t have even come into play because it looked like the defender tackled Higgins with a helmet-to-helmet hit.
“Good call on the touchback but terrible missed call on illegal use of helmet,” a fan tweeted.
“It’s a bad rule. But what’s even worse is the no call on the helmet to Helmet,” another fan wrote on Twitter.
There are multiple scenarios where the Browns could’ve retained possession on the play. Particularly, fans calling for a helmet-to-helmet have a strong case. If so, Cleveland would likely have been in the game at halftime only down six points at 16-10. But instead, the Chiefs went up 19-3 at the half and took firm control of the game.