Illegal Forward Pass On The Steelers Final Play? Calling All Geometry Majors

Not that it matters at this point, but several have asked if the lateral from Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to wide receiver Antonio Brown, during the wacky final play against the Miami Dolphins, went forward.

I have two screen shots below and the first is the exact moment that the ball leaves Roethlisberger’s hand. That point appears to  be right at the 33 and a half yard-line. The second shot is right as Brown catches the ball and that looks to be at best at the 34 and a half yard-line.

The camera angle of course makes it really tricky to tell, so I invite all of you geometry majors to have at this one with your fancy lines and calculations. I think it went forward.

As for Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle, he thinks it went forward as well.

“I believe that the last lateral was forward, if you look at the tape,” Coyle said of Roethlisberger’s pass to Brown on Monday. “Not by much.”

How horrible would it have been had Brown not scored and the play wind up getting overturned after an official review? At least we knew pretty quick that Brown indeed stepped out of bounds.

Why are we talking about this? Because this is what bloggers of 5-8 teams write about when the season is over with three games remaining. It’s in the official handbook.



  • T R

    yeah and thats what us fans of 5-8 teams want to read after almost winning a game and almost had a chance to go another week thinking we might can make it to playoffs and possibly losing the next game but hope was still alive.. each day we had hope and was on edge of seats thinking we bout to….

    Now The Little Engine that Could… is parked… LOL

  • Elijah Stevenson

    Antonio went our of bounds period, there is no what if because he didn’t

  • Rubem Dornas

    Better discuss about it instead of thinking that next year we will have to draft another OLB or having Chris Carter as an option. Uhhh

  • Aric Brown

    From where Ben is standing it looks forward but he reached his arm out to nearly a full extension which makes it appear to actually travel slightly backwards

  • Aric Brown

    To me it looks like he (Brown) is closer to the 33 and 1/2 than the 34 and 1/2… If you look at the distance between AB and the 30yd line and AB and the 40 yardline he is roughly halfway between them…. watching live it appeared to be a forward lateral

  • Jerronimo

    What about dead even? Totally level, parallel…would that be legal? Cuz that’s what it looks like to me.

  • Richard Edlin

    We can’t see the yard mark but the 5 yard lines are intact. If you drop a straightish line down from Ben’s hand (harder given the fact that he’s passing from a stretched position), the ball looks it’s after the 32.5th and before the 33rd.

    You can then resize the other picture so that the 5 yard lines pretty much line up with the second picture (it’s not perfect). The “line” Ben was on when passing appears to pass through Brown’s calf/ankle – it’s pretty clearly behind the ball.

  • mlc43

    It’s time to start researching draft picks, lol.

  • Melting Granite

    I’m pretty sure he meant, “How horrible would it have been had Brown scored and the play wound up getting overturned….”


    I thought I was the only other person who noticed this. Didn’t hear anyone else talking about it. All everyone was saying was that Antonio almost saved the game. The excitement ended for me when I noticed this toss was forward. I didn’t even care that Antonio had stepped out of bounds. The play was dead before that. If you go back and watch the play as I have done many times, you’ll see that it was indeed an illegal forward pass. Nice try, but no cigar.

    – Steel M A Niac (facebook)

  • 20Stoney

    Watching it live, I thought it was forward, but the camera angle isn’t good. Is it even a reviewable play? I thought one of the announcers said it wasn’t.

  • 20Stoney

    I think it is reviewable, Anyone know for sure?

  • treeher

    I’d like to see it in slo mo. What the picture doesn’t show is that Ben is moving forward. In the gif he has not yet released the ball. I’m not sure a replay official would have enough evidence on the replay to overturn it, not to mention the cajones.

  • Steeler Wheeler

    Ughhh…I’m out here Buffalo way and Bills fans areextremely knowledgeable about ‘next years’ draft because by October they are done and looking for some hope. I’m certain Browns fans know the draft far better than Steeler nation also. 5-8 sucks.

  • Steeler Wheeler

    Much more important than that one is the 2001 championship game when Kris Brown had a FG blocked and returned for a TD. Brown, if you recall, could really run. He ran down the returner and was making a tackle when the guy flipped the ball forward two whole yards to another returner.

    By the time NFL refs get wise and experienced enough to make good calls, they are far to slow and have lost too much eyesite to be able to see the play:(


    Look at the ref on the far side of the field. He had a perfect view of it and didn’t throw the flag. I think it was forward but it is interesting there was no call from that ref. Based on the way the officiating was going against us all game, I’m sure they would have ruled it illegal when reviewing the scoring play.


    They review every scoring play, so if AB doesn’t go out of bounds, they would automatically review it.

  • SG

    Looked like a lateral to me. Just like the music city miracle. They couldn’t find enough evidence to overturn that and I don’t see where they would have enough for this one. Unless Jeff Triplette was reffing the game.

  • Rkob4 .

    The way this season is going they’d of missed the extra point and lost in overtime on the kick-off…

  • Don

    four seconds of shear joy watching that play.

  • Bob Loblaw

    I think the reasoning there is that if he throws a flag it’s over, done, and non-reviewable. If he lets it go for the play to mean anything (considering the clock) Brown has to score where the play will be reviewed anyhow.

  • CrazyTerry

    Inside the NFL had another angle. It is possible it was forward, but the way Ben just whips his arm around, it is really tough to say. And my stupid XFINITY new DVR doesn’t do frame by frame advancing. It’s etiher freeze frame or slo mo. But you would have to have some guts to overturn that lateral. This could have been one of the all time classic regular season enders in Steelers history.