With a new VP of officiating, I thought I'd bring up some things that are often overlooked. Sure, defender's get the best job - hitting the ball carrier, but they also get some pretty bad deals. Rules that either give offensive players an unfair, even dangerous advantage, or ones that take all the hustle and effort that goes into making a play - and then slaps it in the face with obscurity and uncertainty. I don't want to turn this into a thread about obscene ideas like eliminating the rouge, moving goal posts, changing the play clock, or getting rid of no yards in favour of the fair catch. this is about things that are lopsided or nonsensical.
- Facemask / Straight-arm.
When a player (specifically defenders)grabs, pulls, pushes, or directs another player (most often the ball carrier) by the face mask, it is a 15 yard penalty. I think it's even a personal foul which is often an automatic first down. This rule exists to prevent head and neck injuries, to protect players, and also so that one player cannot unfairly control another.
The exception to this rule is when the ball carrier uses the famous "Straight-arm" technique to distance himself from a defender and avoid being tackled. I am NOT trying have the straight-arm removed from the game, however; Ball carriers are still allowed to grab, pull, push, and direct the other player by the face mask and helmet not only giving the ball carrier an unfair advantage by being the exception to the rule for every other player on the field but also exposing defensive players to the potentiality of head and neck injuries that can change lives and end football careers.
Straight-arming a defender should be allowed, but only from the shoulders down. Facemasking, is facemasking, is facemasking.
- "Accidental Pass interference"
This has to be one of the most confusing, frustrating, nonsensical rules of all - and was called a fair bit by some officials in the last two years. Here's the reason why it just shouldn't exist.
we have pass interference, illegal contact on a receiver, offensive pass interference, pushing off - all rules that govern how a receiver and defender can physically interact while the ball is in the air. Accidental pass interference basically happens when two players running in proximity to one another, trip over each other's feet. The problem with this is that the defense is penalized, while both the receiver and defender are at fault. Both have the right not to be interfered with, while the defender have the additional right to maintain their position on the field. Because telling just who tripped over who, and asking who was interfered with, was the defender just maintaining his position, did the receiver loose control and interfere with the defender? These should cancel each other out. Essentially both players have interfered with eachother, and placing fault on something that is accidental, doesn't really seem to work in the world of officiating. imagine a rule like this giving a team the ball on the 1 yard line with seconds left on the clock, because two guys playing a contact sport got tangled up and tripped?
this is the most innocuous, nonsensical, lopsided rule I can think of.
- Fumble vs. Incomplete Pass.
This one gives me no end of frustration. we've all seen it, great hustle to get to the QB and just in time he swats the ball loose... but... but... it's not a fumble... even though the quarterback wasn't ruled down by contact, and lost control and possession of the football its not ruled a fumble. or at least, not after his arm starts moving forward. This again seems so convoluted, and in contradiction of other existing rules, as well as giving preference to the offence or at the very least failing to reward the D for making a play.
The QB has possesion of the ball until it leaves his hands. by this reasoning, it shouldn't be considered a pass attempt untill the ball has left his hands in a throwing motion, or at the very least, untill the ball hand is passed the shoulder, or the elbow is extended beyond a 90 degree angle. perhaps this would clearly define if a pass has been attempted, clear up the rule, and add excitement to defensive plays through recognizing that the player has created a turnover, not broken up a pass.
my point is that the current definition is far too vague, contradicts current rules for possession, and again, gives the offense an unfair and biased advantage.
with that, i leave it to you fellow fans.