Blocking to the face

The disparity between what a Defensive player and Offensive player get flagged for really get's under my skin sometimes.

This is a textbook example of what would be called face masking, but because it's a ball carrier committing what should be a penalty, it's referred to as "a beautiful straight arm move" and that apparently makes it ok that he exposes another player to risk of head and neck injury.

If the league is really serious about head injuries and protecting players, they would make ALL contact to the head illegal, including when ball carriers face mask (correction, "Straight Arm") another player.

Thoughts everyone?

As long as the facemask is not grabbed (as is the case with the picture) it is not face masking. Contacting the facemask is not a penalty.

I agree this is not a penalty (face Masking) but it should be illegal Contact Penalty 10 yards but the CFL doesn't have one when the infraction is on a defender. They do however have Illegal Contact On A Receiver.

I have to agree,that particular play was not a penalty... there is offensive pass interference, but its not called too often, usually it has to be blatant for it to be flagged

This is not the same as Illegal Contact on a Receiver.

[b]RULE 6 - PASSING SECTION 4 – FORWARD PASS Article 8 – Interference Before A Pass Is Thrown[/b] [b]By Team B[/b] (Defence) (a) Prior to a forward pass being thrown, a player of Team B may interfere with a Team A player in a zone one yard in depth on Team B side of the line of scrimmage. Cut blocking of receivers attempting to proceed downfield is not permitted. (b) In addition, a member of Team B occupying a defensive position behind the legal contact zone is entitled to use hands and arms to ward off a Team A player who is threatening the established defensive position. Any action other than that required to protect that position shall be ruled “Illegal Contact On A Receiver.?
If an offensive player hits a defender too roughly, he would (ok, should) be penalized with Unnecessary Roughness under the following clause:
(h) Contacting an opponent above the shoulders in an unnecessarily rough manner, including the long snapper on kicks from scrimmage and convert attempts,
But the officials usually reserve that for punches rather than straight arms. Maybe they'd call a straight arm to the head of a player standing still directly in front of the ball carrier, or moving toward him, as that could result in serious injury. Not sure I've ever seen it called, though.

A textbook example means it would EXACTLY match the description in the rulebook, but it doesn't.

Facemasking is a Major Foul, under the Unnecessary Roughness category "(e) Grasping an opponent’s face guard,"

The appropriate rule would be illegal block to the face, but that rule specifically states "No player of either team may thrust his hands forward above the frame to contact the opponent on the neck, face, head or facemask. This does not apply to a ball carrier using a “stiff arm? or “straight arm? tactic where there is no grasping of the face mask."

...using state-of-the-art imaging equipment altered the image above and wants to know if this eskimo's fan feels the same NOW?

This Stampeder season ticket holder feels the same, not grabbing the facemask, totally legal. You can try it again with a Rider uni, the answer will still be, no penalty. Just a very effective straight arm.

...the imaging equipment can't do the rider uni, it keeps coming out brown

I thought cflthebest was playing with his paper doll cut outs

If i knew how, i'd consider changing the topic title to: "Blocking to the face"

i'm pretty sure that if at any point you use the opponents head to direct his body, you're going to get flagged.

my point of contention is not that the straight arm should not be allowed, but that contacting the head while doing so, should not be allowed.

or, allow defenders to push offensive players by the face. you wish

Now this makes even less sense to me. For it to be an infraction for blocking, blocking would have to occur. I know there is a huge issued with head shots etc. but I don't ever recall anybody getting a concussion as the result of a straight arm. I think this is much ado about nothing.

Facemasking is a penalty for many reasons.

First off, it's a safety issue, as you can easily wrench someone's neck with it or easily get an eye poke in a QB or WR exposed cage during a facemask. It's also a leverage/tackling issue. You get a guy by the facemask, you can pretty much lead him around, however the heck you want until his helmet pops off, which also brings about yet another safety issue.

Contact to the head will happen in Football. It's why players wear helmets, however so long as the contact isn't a result of intentional or reckless hitting (IE hitting a QB high if he's throwing, putting your head down making helmet to helmet contact, blind side hits - espcially when a low tackle would have done the job) it shouldn't be penalized.

A stiff arm to the face is intentional and should be a penalty. It's illegal in Aussie rules, which is one of the most brutal codes of Football on the planet. Should it be a 15 yard major foul? Not sure. I mean a stiff arm is a lot different then a facemask. You're only pushing is neck back one way, and you aren't wrenching it left and right. You still might get a poke past the cage in there though, although most defensive players have some degree of eye protection as part of their cage, unlike QBs, WRs and Kickers who need a wider field of vision.

It's slightly less of a safety issue, but certainly much more of a leverage issue. Unless a tackle is low, a textbook tackle can be easily be thwarted by a stiff arm to the face. Then again, there's no reason a player can't aim for the shoulders or chest in most cases.

Well I guess we will just have to disagree. Do we still have the Lingerie Football League?


It's now called the "Legends Football League"! The women are real athlettes and deserve to be treated with the same respect and dignity that we treat other professional sports .. not just oogled for their amazing bodies and skimpy outfits ... I'm thinking beach volley ball, syncronized swimming, gymnastics, track and field, etc. :lol: :rockin:


Before the haters start ... there was a LOT of tongue in cheek in that statement! :roll:

I should add to this though, in Aussie rules there is no head/facial protection so that makes it obvious why it's illegal. Way too much potential for eye injuries. In rugby I believe it's borderline legal, but it must be a clear stiff-arm, as the arm must be stiffed well before impact is made making it's efficacy questionable. Basically, the intention is that if a player is going to get stiff armed, the defender needs to be able to see it coming and react. Otherwise it's considered a strike to the head and warrants a penalty.

I think you make it a 5 yard at the point of the foul, illegal contact to the head with it falling under a facemask if the mask is gripped. It's a play you want to discourage and encourage tackling at the hips instead of hitting high to down opponents, but it's not such a dangerous maneuver it should be 15 and an automatic 1st down.

Sorry I am not saying it's the the same thing, but feel any contact to the face should be a penalty and the infraction should be penalized the same as illegal contact 10 yrds from the spot of the foul rather that 15 yrd unnecessary roughness.

Got it. Not quite Unnecessary Roughness (15 yards), more like an Illegal Block (10 yards). Unless, of course, it's a rough hit, in which case it actually would be UR.

One problem I can see is that the defender could easily adjust his head to make slight contact with the ball carrier's hand in order to draw a penalty.

Kinda like how a QB can run until they are about to be tackled, then slide to draw a penalty?

Like I said originally, there is a disparity between what a player can get away with depending on what side of the ball he is on.

5 yd from the point of the foul seems reasonable, and there's no reason why a straight-arm shouldn't be limited to the shoulder pads.

let's say at the line of scrimmage or within 1 yd, could a DB push a WR by the face to disrupt him as is allowed within the rules, or would this be a penalty? I'm leaning towards "it's a flag". But those two same players go downfield, the WR gets the ball and pushes the defender by the face to avoid a tackle and it's totally legal.