Date: Nov. 4, 1985
Player: St. Louis Cardinals wide receiver Pat Tilley
Play: According to the New York Times , Tilley “caught a deflected pass, outraced the Dallas secondary toward the end zone, gleefully held the ball aloft in his right hand as he sprinted past the 10-yard line and, in a wildly premature burst of celebration, spiked it while he was still a yard or two short of the goal.” The field judge on the goal line nevertheless called it a touchdown. There appears to be no video of this play online.
Outcome: The Cardinals beat the Cowboys 21-10.
Note that Aaron Baddeley is standing parallel to the ball-target line and that he swings the club around the front of his body. One can readily note that the clubhead approaches the ball from the inside, becomes momentarily square to the ball-target line at the exact moment of impact, and then passes inside again immediately after impact. The clubhead never travels in a straight line and it is always moving along a circular path . For the clubhead to hit the ball straight, it must be travelling straight towards the target at the exact moment of impact and the clubface must also be vertically square at the exact moment of impact. Therefore, there are two essential factors that must be got right at the exact moment of impact in order to hit the ball straight - i) the clubhead must approach the ball from an inside track and become momentarily square to the ball-target line at the exact moment of impact, and ii) the clubhead's clubface must be perfectly square to the target at the exact moment of impact.