Justin Jefferson delivered a rare night of hitting a career milestone, then sparking a conversation involving a controversial NFL rule brought back into the light.
The latter, though, became highly debatable among NFL fans and analysts during the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles Thursday Night Football contest.
Reactions Come Out Strong for Justin Jefferson’s Attempted Touchdown Dive That Became a Touchback
Here’s what occurred: Kirk Cousins hit Jefferson near the left sideline. With two Eagles to beat and having completed his jump for the ball, the All-Pro wideout made his attempt to dive for the end zone from the 1-yard line — only to lose the football past the pylon.
It was ruled a touchback.
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) September 15, 2023
From there, the questions and reactions arose on social media about this ruling.
“Accidental touchback,” the X account for Bleacher Report Gridiron posted.
“Good call, or bad call?” asked the Clutch Points X account.
That officiating call brought out the very thought of some irate fantasy football players who have Jefferson as their wideout.
Justin Jefferson fantasy managers rn pic.twitter.com/eVSblT26F3
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 15, 2023
Trevor Sikkema of Pro Football Focus blasted the rule, saying, “The touchback rule is so dumb. It doesn’t even make sense. I mean, it’s not nearly severe enough. The DEF should obviously get a TD instead of possession, and player who fumbled it should be ejected from the game and suspended for the next. Idk how the NFL hasn’t figured this out,” Sikkema posted.
On the other side, JP Finlay, Washington Commanders for NBC Sports Washington, said, “I think the ball was behind the pylon and out of bounds. I also am cool w the touchback rule. Scoring a TD is supposed to be hard. If there wasn’t a deterrent people would try to reach from the 5.”
Did the Touchback Rule Ever Change?
Turns out the rule was changed — but for kickoffs. Dating back to May 2023, the ball now gets placed at the 25-yard line. The result of this, though, pointed to fewer kickoff returns.
Offensively, the rule still applies when a player loses control of the ball and it goes out of bounds in the end zone. It becomes a turnover on downs, and the opposing offense takes over.
Another prime example of this is Super Bowl 27 between the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills when Leon Lett got stripped of the ball and it tumbled into the end zone.