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Russell Wilson.

Neil deGrasse Tyson weighs in on Russell Wilson's controversial lateral pass

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Football News

There was one major play during the Seattle Seahawks win over the Philadelphia Eagles last weekend at CenturyLink Field that has got everyone talking and that was the Russell Wilson’s lateral to Mike Davis.

Many believe the play was actually illegal and that it should never have counted as the ball went forward down the field instead of lateral after the line of scrimmage. Wilson let go of the ball at the 47-yard line and Davis caught the ball at the 48-yard line.

The Seahawks went on to score a touchdown on this drive after the Eagles didn't challenge the call made on the field during this controversial play, and the NFC West team went on to win 24-10 over the NFC East team as well.

During his press conference after the game, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll was asked about the controversial lateral pass and the fact on the replays it showed the ball travelling forwards down the field.

Carroll said that he believed the play was legal and that he even put in a call to famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson in hope to set the record straight and prove the doubters wrong. Surprisingly, the famous astrophysicist has watched the play and given his verdict.

Tyson said on his Twitter account: "The lateral that @DangeRussWilson threw to @MikeDavisRB in Sunday’s @Seahawks @Eagles game was a legit “Galilean Transformation”. In their reference frame, the ball went backwards. It’s not their fault they ran forward faster than the ball."

For those of you that aren't astrophysicists, according to Encyclopædia Britannica, Galilean Transformation is a set of equations in classical physics that relate the space and time coordinates of two systems moving at a constant velocity relative to each other.

According to the NFL rules though, this play should have been ruled a penalty, as the rules state it is a forward pass if:

  • a. the ball initially moves forward (to a point nearer the opponent’s goal line) after leaving the passer’s hand(s); or
  • b. the ball first touches the ground, a player, an official, or anything else at a point that is nearer the opponent’s goal line than the point at which the ball leaves the passer’s hand(s).
  • c. When a Team A player is holding the ball to pass it forward, any intentional movement forward of his hand starts a forward pass.

Since the ball moved forward, a penalty should have been called, no matter what science says. The Seahawks play again this Sunday in Jacksonville against the Jaguars.

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