Is a recovered onside kick such as at the beginning of the 2nd half of tonight's Super Bowl when the ball is touched by the receiving team before it travels 10 yards but not recovered by them considered a turnover by the receiving team?
My friends I were a little sick of just betting on the score and the whole boxes thing watching tonight's Super Bowl. We also set up a whole bunch of side bets such as 1st team to call a time out, 1st team to complete a forward pass, 1st team to lose yardage on a rushing play, 1st quarter the TV would cut to a live shot of Bourbon Street, 1st team to have an injured player cause a stoppage in play, and 1st team to have a turnover lost/recovered. It turns out regardless of the answer to my question, the Colts have the first turnover and the Saints have the first turnover recovered. Either it was on the onsides kick or they subsequently had the next turnover.
I searched the NFL site. The official box score
does not mention turnovers. It does have a category for fumbles and it has no fumbles listed. The two arguments being made for and against are this: It could not have been a turnover by the Colts as they never had possession to lose. It is not a turnover but simply an onsides kick recovery. The turnover folks think that at the point that the Colts player touched the ball and failed to maintain control, he turned the ball over because it never went 10 yards and therefore could not be recovered by the Saints without him having touched it. So, by virtue of touching it, he turned it over.
Further, on a kickoff in the NFL, who has possession of the ball and when does that possession occur? Does the kicking team have possession until it is controlled by the receiving team, does the receiving team have possession by virtue of the fact that it is their ball to lose or does no one have possession on a kickoff until someone gains control?
Is there anyway to have a turnover other than on a fumble or interception? Is a blocked kick considered a turnover if it happens on either 1st, 2nd or 3rd down? For eample, in an overtime game a team may attempt a field goal on 3rd down in case there is a bad snap and they will fall on the ball and try again on 4th down. If the kick is blocked on third down and recovered by the defense is that considered a turnover? I assume a blocked kick on fourth down is just an unsuccessful kick and the kicking team turns the ball over to the other team on downs.
It appears to me that as long as the ball travels 10 yards anyone can recover it so no one has possession and cannot turn it over if they do not touch it. It is only a turnover if it does not travel 10 yards but is touched by the receiving team and subsequently controlled by the kicking team.