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Tuesday, October 7, 2003
NFL supports official's call based on Rule 12

ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- The NFL upheld the penalty on leaping Simeon Rice, a call that gave the Indianapolis Colts a second chance at a field goal that beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in overtime.

With 3:57 remaining in overtime, the Colts attempted a game-winning 40-yard field goal.

The attempt missed, but Buccaneers DE Rice was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct after jumping in an attempt to block Mike Vangerjagt's unsuccessful 40-yard field goal. Vanderjagt received another chance and made a 29-yarder that caromed off the right upright.

The league confirmed Tuesday what referee Johnnie Grier said after the game: The rules ban running forward, leaping and falling on a player, as Rice did.

The penalty has been called seven times in the last five years including Monday night, ESPN.com's John Clayton reports. Before Monday, it was last called against Washington's LaVar Arrington in a Week 3 game between the Giants and Redskins on the winning field goal, a 29-yarder by the Giants' Matt Bryant in overtime. The kick was good, so the penalty was declined.

Rule 12, Section 3, Article 2 of the 2003 Official Playing Rules of the National Football League defines the unsportsmanlike conduct/leaping penalty as follows:

"Clearly running forward and leaping in an obvious attempt to block a field goal, or try-kick after touchdown and landing on players, unless the leaping player was originally lined up within one yard of the line of scrimmage when the ball was snapped."

Rice lined up approximately four yards behind the line of scrimmage, ran forward, leaped in an attempt to block the kick, and illegally landed on a teammate.

Following the penalty, the ball was spotted half the distance to the goal line, giving Indianapolis a first-and-10 from the Tampa Bay 11 yard-line.

Vanderjagt then connected on a 29-yard field goal to give the Colts a 38-35 victory.

The rule dates back to 1983 and was implemented for the safety of players being landed on by leapers trying to block kicks. The rule was modified in 1993, so that players could run and leap to attempt to block a kick but be forbidden to land on or make contact with a teammate while leaping or landing.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.