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Was Drew's Interception Tipped At The Line Of Scrimmage?

Through the magic of gif technology, we examine the interception thrown by Drew Brees on Sunday night against the Chargers to try and settle the question of whether or not it was tipped at the line of scrimmage.

Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

In Tuesday's offensive player grades post, a mini-debate emerged about whether or not Drew Brees's third quarter interception to Quentin Jammer was tipped at the line of scrimmage.

At the time of the play itself, it never crossed my mind, even through numerous replays I saw that it might have been tipped. But this question settled into my mind and took up residence, and I finally asked Dave to order up some gifs from SBNation so that we could break it down and definitively decide for ourselves.

First, according to the play-by-play record from the official NFL gamebook, it was NOT tipped:

3-5-NO 25 (13:53) (Shotgun) D.Brees pass short left intended for D.Henderson INTERCEPTED by Q.Jammer at NO 34. Q.Jammer to NO 25 for 9 yards (D.Henderson).

But let's take a closer look via the different angles that Dave scored for us...

From directly behind Drew it seems to develop a wobble after grazing dude's hand (and watch Drew's helmet drop right after it freezes - you can see the down-dip of that little jump he has to do to see/throw over the line):


And then from elevated and behind Brees, where you can see more of what appears to be an actual trajectory change as well as a wobble in the spiral after dude swats it.


From this defensive backfield angle, it's a closer and tighter focus, and I can now see that "dude" is actually linebacker Donald Butler, #56:


I think this view (which I call "from the press box") shows a great deal...(and for some reason it's frozen, but if you click on the image, it will show the action unfold in another window).


Based on this empirical video evidence, I am now of the belief that this pass WAS tipped at the line of scrimmage.

As a result of this newfound knowledge, I am no longer upset with Drew for throwing it behind Devery. I'm upset with him for throwing a ball that was tipped and THEN ended up behind Devery. Not much of a difference there, I'll grant you, and with no change of the final result of the play, but at least truth has been served and I can rest easily now.

* * *

So what are your thoughts on this play? Do you agree that the ball was tipped? Does it really matter?